United Reformed Church House has welcomed Stephen Tomkins (pictured) as the new editor of REFORM; he begins his editorship today (21 January) and is starting work on the March issue.
Dr Tomkins was previously deputy editor of Third Way magazine and a contributing editor to the Christian webzine shipoffools.com. He is also a church historian and the author of eight books, including A Short History of Christianity (Lion Books, 2005) and David Livingstone: The Unexplored Story (Lion Books, 2013).
The Revd David Tatem (pictured), the United Reformed Church’s secretary for ecumenical relationships, encourages us all to participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18 to 25 January
“This year the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is ‘What does God require of us?’ It’s a good question, and one which will, in part, be answered by the theme chosen for the Assembly of the World Council of Churches (‘God of Life, lead us to Justice and Peace’) when it meets in Busan, South Korea, at the end of October.
Britain’s oldest man, retired URC minister the Revd Reg Dean, died peacefully at his home in Wirksworth, Derbyshire on 5 January. Reg, who was born in Staffordshire on 4 November 1902, made his home in Derbyshire in 1947, and lived the rest of his life there.
Mr Dean was ordained as an Anglican in 1929, served as a chaplain in India and Burma during the Second World War, and became a Congregational minister in 1952. He spent his congregational/URC ministerial career in Derbyshire, serving first at Carlton Road, Derby and then at West Derbyshire URC, Wirksworth until his retirement in 1982. But, of course, his belief in “doing things for joy” didn’t end with retirement: in his eighties he founded the highly successful Fairtrade shop in Wirksworth, and was the president of the local male voice choir, The Dalesmen.
This Epiphany, Roberta Rominger, general secretary of the United Reformed Church, urges us and our churches to be oases of light in the darkness
Epiphany is about things that show. All sorts of things might be real or true, but until we get a glimpse of them, we have no way of knowing. In the season of Epiphany, it is the truth about Jesus that shows. We are given a feast of stories in which people encountered Jesus and recognised that something unusual, something very special, was happening in him and through him. Many of these stories use the word “glory”; these episodes are flooded with light. As we remember and savour these stories in the midst of the darkness of winter, their light floods our world too. If you are as hungry for light as I am at this time of year, no doubt you will revel in them as I do.
But this year, just revelling privately in the glory of Jesus as his grace and truth are revealed doesn’t feel like enough. This year the darkness seems extra dark – and some of the light is painful.