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.
John Ellis, moderator-elect of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, challenges us to look for the wonder of God’s presence in 2013.
“My childhood Christmas holidays always included the family gathering around the television in the days between Christmas and New Year to watch the Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution. A distinguished scientist used dramatic experiments to unpack some aspect of scientific discovery. We did not suffer from the illusion of the modern media that worshipping the Christmas baby must rule out being fascinated by science.