Issue 23-and-30-12-2015

Featured story

Thought for the Week: With gratitude

FREE 22 Dec 2016 | by Ian Kirk-Smith

The end of the year is a time for family, friends and good fellowship. It is also a time for reflection – a time to look back at the previous twelve months: at those things that were done and those things that ought to have been done; at happy and sad...

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Top stories

Meeting in Swarthmoor

22 Dec 2016 | by Rex Ambler

A view through the doorway to Thomas Fell’s study at Swarthmoor Hall. | Photo: Andrew Nicholaides.

For the last two or three years I have been attending a two-hour Meeting for Worship at Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria. It is held on the last Thursday of the month, from 11am to 1pm, followed by a lunch of soup and bread. It was initiated by Jane Pearson, the...

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Only us

FREE 22 Dec 2016 | by Simon Fisher

A view of the Aleppo skyline in 2010. | Photo: Martin Gotthard / flickr CC.

We met up at Heathrow on a grey day in early September: an eclectic group consisting of our organiser, the reverend Andrew Ashdown, three members of the House of Lords, an architect, an NGO worker with experience in the region, and me, with a background in peacebuilding. We were responding...

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Born in you

22 Dec 2016 | by Tony D’Souza

'The Kingdom of God is within you, and me, and everybody else.' | Photo: Madhawa Habarakada / flickr CC.

It is getting cold and the nights are drawing in. All over town the Christmas lights are coming on. In every house, in every shopping street, there is an eager expectancy for the age-old festival.

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Families and letting go

FREE 22 Dec 2016 | by Trish Carn

'For just as each of us has one body with many members...' (Romans 12:4-5) | Photo: Kent Landerholm / flickr CC.

My uncle once built a stable for my parents’ crèche. This nativity scene was an important part of Christmas as I grew up. My immediate family was small. My parents each had one sister and, as neither had children, I had no cousins, only a younger brother. The family...

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Prepare the Way

22 Dec 2016 | by Roswitha Jarman

'On our Quaker path we can open up to knowing of the star, the light within that guides us...' | Photo: Ignacio Olmedo Godoy / flickr CC.

A child was born and its name was Jesus – born in the humblest of places. Later, it was given the title Christ.

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All articles

Friends in Europe

22 Dec 2016 | by Marisa Johnson

Since the result of the British advisory referendum on membership of the European Union, I have often be asked by Friends what impact the decision to leave would have on Friends in Europe and the Europe and Middle East Section of the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC).

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The spiritual source

22 Dec 2016 | by Alex Thomson

After being told I had cancer, I became aware of God’s presence, and the realisation that the only separation between ‘me’ and God is created by my belief in being separate! Coming back into the ‘real’ world, I did not want to leave behind this awareness of God’s...

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Gifts of the Earth

22 Dec 2016 | by Colin Hall and Emily Janes

The charismatic teacher stands on the hillside near the sea. An immense crowd at his feet hears him say that heaven is not in the sky or the afterlife – but here on earth. Afterwards, practical matters. People are hungry – for food as well as spiritual nourishment.

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Taking responsibility

22 Dec 2016 | by Alison Leonard

It is strange to look at our photographs of Christmas Day last year. All I see in our faces is a kind of innocence. It was the last day that I knew climate change was the overwhelming issue of our time but still assumed it wouldn’t actually affect me....

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22 Dec 2016 | by Bob Lovett

Over recent years the approach of Christmas has caused me ever-increasing emotional turmoil. The focus of our celebrations has always been based on a sense of the miraculous, from the birth of Jesus to the myths of Father Christmas. Each, in their own way, is seen to bring joy to...

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The Christmas story

22 Dec 2016 | by Bernard Coote

In one of many accounts of Jesus’ birth there is a suggestion that he and his family were refugees in Egypt. Whether or not historically accurate, they did live in a land as troubled as it is now: occupying armies, displaced people, unrest, intrigues and terror. The weapons were different...

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Hoar frost

22 Dec 2016 | by Rosie Adamson-Clark

Hoar frost, petrified hedgerows, shivering, crow alert guarding country lanes, hidden from all but local view.

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Christmas rhyme

22 Dec 2016 | by Heather Trickey

Deck the universal mess in brittle tinsel! ’Tis the season for a public pantomime Two-thousand-and-sixteen reasons to be cheerful – ho! ho! Scramble into this year’s Christmas rhyme. It’s the season for unreasonable reverting, Fix the hinges, put up beds for dad and mam, Prepare to face the feast...

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FREE 22 Dec 2016 | by Martyn Kelly

A meditation on Christmas, set to the metre of the late Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ There is a story very old about some shepherds in the cold who say they saw an angelic host before them. The angels told them of a birth that God had come to visit Earth...

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Is anybody there?

22 Dec 2016 | by David Boulton

There are few writers on religion whose books are guaranteed bestsellers. The former bishop of Edinburgh and head of the Anglican church in Scotland is one of them. From Godless Morality in 1999, through a series culminating in A Little History of Religion, Richard Holloway’s deep affection for religious tradition,...

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Lessons from the past

22 Dec 2016 | by Ian Kirk-Smith

The value of the past to inform, inspire and challenge us today is given a very telling validation in John Lampen’s excellent new book, A Letter from James: Essays in Quaker history.

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Young Friends

22 Dec 2016 | by Catherine Henderson

Looking closely When did you last go for a walk – not to get anywhere in particular, not to go from A to B, but just to linger and look? Most of the time we are in too much of a hurry; late for school perhaps, or rushing to a rehearsal...

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From the archive: 1916

22 Dec 2016 | by Janet Scott

The year 1916 had been a brutal one, with the Somme and Verdun exacting a terrible loss of life and enormous casualties on both sides. In the final edition of the year the Friend reflected on the events of the previous twelve months and considered the impact of war on the...

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An alternative Christmas

22 Dec 2016 | by Barbara Toyne

Christmas is, when a child is born, any child, anywhere – bringing with it, if only for a single moment, that spark of heavenly glory, as a reminder and a promise, that all can be made new.

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