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Margaret Atwood MBEA member of the United Reformed Church (URC) Yorkshire Synod has been named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Margaret Atkinson, a retired magistrate, will receive an MBE for her involvement both in the justice system, and for her work with the URC.

Margaret, who served as a magistrate for 17 years before retiring in 2017 and began volunteering with the Church in 1972, said the honour came as a ‘complete surprise’.

Read more: URC Yorkshire Synod member to receive MBE in Queen’s New Year’s Honours List

SulawesiMembers of the United Reformed Church (URC) are being asked to consider helping the people of Indonesia, whose lives have been devastated by natural disasters.

Following an earthquake and tsunami on Sulawesi on 28 September 2018, and the devastation caused to the Sunda Strait on 22 December 2018, people who have lost everything are in desperate need of water, food, shelter and access to medical care.

Read more: Appeal to help people of Indonesia devastated by earthquake and tsunami

migrants after crossing the sea 21756135850 aa1c429a27 oRepresentatives from the United Reformed Church have joined faith leaders in urging the government to rethink its approach to immigration, and to move away from a hostile environment towards a culture of sanctuary, as MPs return to parliament after the festive break.

In an open letter to the government, published on Sunday 6 January, the faith leaders wrote:

Read more: Faith leaders urge government to rethink immigration approach

Firewors kevin hackert 1227187 unsplash 1From the highest number of attendees at November’s new ministers' conference since 2015, to charities nesting into Church House’s social impact hub, and a URC minister being chosen as the first poet-in-residence for the Joint Public Issues Team, 2018 has had some fantastic moments.

Here’s a selection of your most-read stories and social media posts:

Read more: Top stories of 2018

lightbulb zach lucero 802489 unsplashThe Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, reflects on how a train journey during the cold winter months inspired an epiphany.

I had an epiphany, on a train of all places. At this time of year, most of my commute takes place before dawn or after dark. The countryside beside the track is almost invisible. The shapes and silhouettes are familiar, but it’s grey and shadowy, with muted colours, blurry lines and detail hiding in the dark.

Then one day I had to come home early. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. Fields were green. There were birds, and growth in the ground. Even the colours of fences and gates seemed rich and interesting.

Read more: Train journey leads to Epiphany