Issue 23-12-2011

Featured story

Christmas stories

FREE 22 Dec 2011 | by Michael Wright

The gospel readings report wonderful, fantastic events. A virgin, visited by an angel, is told she will be impregnated by the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son. Believe it or not – she agrees to this. When the boy is born a choir of heavenly angels sing joyful melodies...

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Top stories

Born of a virgin?

22 Dec 2011 | by Beth Allen

A nativity scene | Photo: Eusebius@Commons / flickr CC

A physical impossibility! How could anyone possibly believe that? Why would anyone even want to believe that? Well, yes, it is what Friends used to call ‘the season the world calls Christmas’ but, surely, in the twenty-first century we don’t have to look at rubbish like this – why is...

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Lost dreams, fertile ground

22 Dec 2011 | by Jenny Webb

Boarded up stores . . . | Photo: Jenny Webb

On the seafront at Eastbourne, coaches continue to bring tourists to smart hotels. Nearby, the town centre is humming. The smart chain stores alternately swallow and disgorge their customers in a pre-Christmas frenzy that appears to be untouched by recession.

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Helping the homeless

FREE 22 Dec 2011 | by Jeffery Smith

. . . we wanted to treat the homeless as equals and enable them to be more in charge of their lives | Photo: Trish Carn

It is forty years since the first Open Christmas. In a way, it is a personal anniversary for me. I got to know the woman who would be my wife there. Heather came to be the behind-the-scenes kitchen organiser. But the story is bigger than that. Together with other Friends,...

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Words for the journey

22 Dec 2011 | by Philip Gross

Mary and Joseph | Photo: ArtToday

On the face of it, if you want a verse for a corporate Christmas card, I’d be the last person to ask. The phrase ‘greetings card verse’ could sum up most things a serious working poet would want not to be. More than that, I’m a Quaker, and...

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The story of carols

FREE 22 Dec 2011 | by David L Saunders

Carols and music | Photo: ArtToday

The carols we love to sing, like Christmas itself, owe much to pre-Christmas midwinter rejoicings at having reached the shortest day – with the prospect of new growth and abundance to come. The many references, for example, in ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ to evergreens refer to the need to celebrate...

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All articles

A blessing

22 Dec 2011 | by Janet Scott

There they are on the Christmas cards – three men on camels striding across a desert – sometimes in silhouette, sometimes seen with crowns, gorgeous robes and treasure chests. They have come to us through pictures and carols as part of a ‘Christmas story’. They have changed character from astronomers to kings....

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22 Dec 2011 | by Stephen Allott

There he was, standing among them, and they were startled and frightened and thought they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:36-7). The risen Christ was not a disembodied spirit, in Luke’s view: he had the flesh and bone of a physical man; he could be touched, he could eat...

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Meeting for Worship

22 Dec 2011 | by Joyce Neill

I lug this great laundry basket to Meeting Filled with damp twisted bundles of problems, tasks and commitments, And I shake them out one by one and peg them on the invisible line.

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The missing chapter

22 Dec 2011 | by Ian Kirk-Smith

‘If anyone was in any doubt what the Nazis were about, and what they represented, then ‘Kristallnacht’ should have opened their eyes. Not one country in the world showed the slightest interest.’  There is anger, and a trace of despair, in Peter Kurer’s voice. On Kristallnacht, the ‘Night...

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Journey home

22 Dec 2011 | by Hannah Lynn

Jennifer, where did you find your inspiration for the game?  Well, the initial inspiration, of course, came from my book, The O of Home. However, the real idea came as what you might call a ‘middle of the night’ inspiration – I woke up and suddenly thought: ‘It could be...

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Magical stories

22 Dec 2011 | by Trish Carn

The Tear Thief, The Greatest Gift and The Barefoot Book of Mother and Daughter Tales are three recent releases by Barefoot Books.

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Climb up to the moor

22 Dec 2011 | by Linda Murgatroyd

Judith Bromley paints as a way to discover, explore and express the relationship between her inner being and everything around her. She says: ‘For me, the process of drawing and painting is a meditative experience.’ Through this book, Judith’s painting and writing has also become a powerful ministry, creating...

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Letters - 23 & 30 December 2011

22 Dec 2011 | by The Friend

Quaker business method Jill Segger (9 December) writes that the Quaker business method ensures that ‘the confident cannot gain advantage over the diffident and the unforeseen stands on an equal footing with the expected’. I am far from sure that this is so.

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