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.
Michael Jagessar, moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, reminds us all that, at the very heart of the Christmas story is a God familiar with vulnerability, despair, hope, surprise and love.
“For many, the possibility of flourishing life seems like a distant dream. Economic pruning, largely determined by privileged people, is resulting in redundancies, longer queues at job-centres, multiplying foodbanks and an increase in homelessness. The political mantra “we are all in this together” doesn’t always ring true – and offers little comfort to the most vulnerable in our society. In addition, the loss of lives, displacement and long-term trauma, as a result of violence and war between and within nations, continues unabated. In times such as these we are surely in desperate need of hope and good news.
As we wait, whether with excitement or dread, for Christmas Day, Val Morrison, moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, unpacks some of our hopes, fears and fantasies around Christmas Eve and the almost-over-waiting it represents.
“At last, it’s Christmas Eve – and the waiting is nearly over! The presents are under the tree, the turkey is ready to go in the oven, the sprouts are prepared and the family are all gathered. Now, I know that some, or all, of those things may not be the way it is for you but, whatever your preparations they are now more or less complete – for tomorrow is Christmas Day. Whether we have waited for Christmas Day with impatience and excitement, or with dread, it’s now only hours away.
As the government’s Energy Bill has its second reading in The Commons today, the United Reformed Church, along with other Churches, is calling on the government to make amendments to protect the fuel poor and work towards the decarbonisation of the UK's energy network.
The Bill aims to reduce the UK’s climate impact; and the briefing stresses that it is important that demand reduction measures, particularly those of most relevance to people on low incomes, are central to both the Energy Bill and the government’s overall energy strategy.
The joint briefing for MPs, Decarbonising our power sector by 2030: Delivering a just Energy Bill, from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of England, Methodist, and United Reformed Churches, and the Quakers in Britain, argues that to achieve this there needs to be two main amendments: