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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

Steve TomkinsSteve Tomkins, Editor of Reform, the magazine of the United Reformed Church, has kept a new year’s resolution throughout 2018.

I am in the incredible position, for the first time in my life, of having kept a new year’s resolution from January through to December.

As I write that, in one half of my brain, trumpets sound, heralding my wondrous achievement; in the other, there’s an old puritan giving me a slow hand clap and saying: ‘Actually doing what you said you were going to do counts as a moral victory these days, does it?’

Read more: Keeping my new year's resolution

Baby Florence 2Peter Pay, a new grandfather and Moderator-elect of the United Reformed Church General Assembly for 2020-22, thinks about the impact of new born babies.

It is all about to happen; to become real. Up to now there were hopes, fears and expectations. The reality is about to be revealed. Will the new arrival be what was wanted, what was needed? Will it be welcomed?

What will the future be like? Will this change things? Will we like the changes? How will they affect us?

Our first granddaughter, Florence, was born in September. Such a small person but her impact on the family is already significant. Her mum decided to stop working, the house is reorganised, family routines, finances and plans have all changed.

Read more: The birth of Christ, and baby Florence

Christmas present kira auf der heide 475616 unsplash 1The Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on how Christmas is experienced by different people across the world.

Christmas Day isn’t the same for everyone.

Some will be in the northern hemisphere’s winter, dreaming of a white Christmas. But others will be on an Australian beach dreaming of cooling down.

Read more: Ponder, celebrate and share the gift of Christmas

Daleen and Tona 2 webChristian campaigners have vowed to step up protests at a fracking site in Lancashire after a shale gas exploration company packed up its equipment for Christmas.

Fracking firm Cuadrilla operate the UK’s first horizontal shale gas exploration wells in Preston New Road, Blackpool, where dozens of tremors have been recorded since it began pumping high volumes of water underground in October looking for gas. 

Daleen Ten Cate, Missional Discipleship Mentor for the United Reformed Church North West Synod, who, with a team of others, has spent every Friday campaigning at the gates to the site, says protests will continue in the new year.

Read more: No faith in fracking