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This month's poem from Lucy Berry explores Advent themes. She says: "Water is at the beginning of everything. Mary has carried the whole of creation and delivers her baby in a rush of water and understanding".

No control once your waters break;
that is all gone, long, long gone;
He arrives in His own good time
and your mystery goes on.

You, who spoke poems to that angel
bright in his light and white silk,
are damp now with straining and pain
and sticky with milk.

Read more: Holy Water

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URC Church House was the venue for this year’s meeting of the ‘Four Clerks’, when Presbyterian colleagues from Scotland, Ireland and Wales joined our own general secretary for a day of business and mutual support.

John Proctor, United Reformed Church general secretary, said: "Our four churches and four nations face quite different needs and opportunities. Yet as we share in a common Reformed Christian heritage, we have much to offer one another by way of insight and encouragement."

From the left John Proctor (URC), Meirion Morris (Presbyterian Church of Wales), Trevor Gribben (Presbyterian Church in Ireland) and John Chalmers (Church of Scotland).

The November meeting of Mission Council has finished, ending with a service of Holy Communion led by chaplains the Revd Carla Grosch-Miller and the Revd Nigel Uden.

All sessions of Mission Council have opened and closed with prayers. Mission Council has been very aware of the tragic news from Paris which is dominating the headlines. The Moderators of General Assembly have written a letter of support and solidarity to churches in France.

Read more: Mission Council closes

An internally-displaced Syrian cooks in front of her tent in a refugee camp in Atimeh, on the Syrian-Turkish border. © Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

In November, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) launched a 10-month project to help war-affected Syrians.

Around 7 million people are internally displaced, creating desperate need for houses in the relatively safe areas of Syria.

Dr Mary Mikhael, writing on behalf of the church says, "The church has to respond to the cries for help that get louder by the day. Those who are trying to stay in Syria despite all the dangerous challenges deserve to helped and encouraged not to lose their hope that God will not forget them."

Read more: Appeal: support people in war-torn Syria

On Saturday 13 November the Revd David Grosch-Miller and Mr John Ellis, the Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, wrote to the United Reformed Church's partners in France, following the terrorist attacks in Paris. The letter is attached here and the text copied below. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We write on behalf of the Mission Council of the United Reformed Church meeting in Derbyshire on the day on which we heard the news of the latest act of terrorism in Paris.

Read more: Moderators' letter of solidarity to churches in France

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