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This year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity material comes from the Churches of Latvia. The following reflection and prayer was written by the Writers Group of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, who have prepared the Latvian material for use in the British and Irish Churches.

Set on Latvia’s highest hill, the Gaizins House of Prayer regularly hosts the 40-hour fellowship of Christian leaders who, for the duration, are supported in prayer and worship by the faithful.

These encounters renew the leaders as fellow-workers in Christ, and help shape the visible expression of ecumenical life in Latvia.

Read more: Week of prayer for Christian Unity

On 13 January Greenbelt and the United Reformed Church signed an agreement, making the denomination an Associate Partner of the Greenbelt festival for the first time.

The partnership is a natural fit, building on the URC’s rich Nonconformist history of exploration of radical Christian faith and working for justice, and the dynamic and creative energy of the Greenbelt festival.

Read more: United Reformed Church partners with Greenbelt

New Year fireworks

The Revd Richard Church, The United Reformed Church’s Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship) looks back at the events of 2015 and welcomes in 2016

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied:
‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.

King George VI quoted these words of Minnie Louise Haskins in his 1939 Christmas broadcast. They seemed to catch something of the public mood at the beginning of the Second World War.

Read more: At the gate of the year

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, John Ellis, asks how the journey of the Magi helps us make the transition from the holiday season to the challenges of everyday life.

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’

We don’t know whether they were kings and we don’t know whether there were three of them. But the story is about people rich and influential enough to bring very expensive gifts. They were saying that this baby was going to matter even in circles unknown to the average shepherd.

Read more: We Three Kings

This Christmas Day the Revd David Grosch-Miller, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, pauses to remember gifts given with great love

And the Word became flesh and lived among us…
John 1:14 NRSV

This morning, in every corner of the country, children consumed with excitement tear into their presents: carefully chosen paper is ripped away; lovingly-tied bows strewn aside.

Read more: The gift