Christian Comment

/Christian Comment/
2 12, 2019

Unwrapping the layers of Christmas

December 2nd, 2019|

Last Christmas, I bought a set of Russian dolls. However, it’s not an ordinary set of Russian dolls. Each ‘doll’ is a different character in the Nativity story. There’s Mary, Joseph, an angel, a shepherd, a wise man and, right in the centre, baby Jesus. This set of Russian dolls has got me thinking about Advent and Christmas – in more ways than one: First, our Advents and Christmases have lots of layers. Decorations to put up; fine, rich foods to plan, cook and enjoy; lots to drink; presents to buy and wrap; family and friends to catch up with; [...]

25 11, 2019

Get your coat – we’re leaving…

November 25th, 2019|

The United Reformed Church proudly supports the poorest and most marginalised, coming alongside and joining our voice with theirs. We never usurp their voice, never presume, never tell them what to think (nor what they already think…) - This coat we are proud to wear. But, a recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that the UK’s poorest households were more likely to support leaving the European Union than the wealthiest, as were the unemployed, low-skilled and those feeling poorer or vulnerable to poverty. ( With deepening division and the paralysis of politics, is it time for the Church [...]

18 11, 2019

The Universal Christ can bring hope through us to the many

November 18th, 2019|

Reading a letter in a daily national newspaper in the last week has prompted me to revisit the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, found in Luke Chapter 19:1-10. Jesus invites himself into Zacchaeus’ home.  Then Zacchaeus’ world is turned on its head.  He promises to give half his possessions to the poor and repay four fold those he has cheated.  Woven within this story is the evidence of God’s generosity at work bringing gladness.  Generosity and gladness are some of the defining features of the early Christian communities described in Acts Chapter 2:42-47.  There is gladness for Zacchaeus too [...]

11 11, 2019


November 11th, 2019|

As I write this the sky is grey and the rain is lashing down, as it seems to have been doing for several days.  I can’t readily remember the last time we didn’t have any rain in Halifax for a 24 hour period, and it seems ages since I saw the sun. I’m reminded of a thought that came to me whilst I was on retreat last month at Ffald-y-Brenin in Pembrokeshire.  It’s a beautiful place, set high on a hillside and surrounded by lovely countryside, but it’s very prone to heavy rain.   The rhythm of daily prayer includes a [...]

4 11, 2019

Is ‘Happiness’ enough?

November 4th, 2019|

As I walked through the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster a couple of weeks ago I came upon this stand in the centre of one of the junctions in the aisles.     JOIN THE HAPPINESS MOVEMENT IT’S NOT A REVOLUTION IT’S A REVELATION       Around the bottom of the stand there were pieces of good advice: Be the reason someone laughs Do more of what makes you happy Be someone who makes everyone smile Think positive and positive things will happen Be kind whenever possible I walked on to the railway station musing on the whole idea [...]

28 10, 2019

The Joker

October 28th, 2019|

A trip to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do. I don’t even have to enjoy the film (of course it’s better if I do) but there is something about sitting silently in the dark and losing yourself in the big screen. Last week my husband and I (on one of the rare occasions that our days off coincided) decided to go and see ‘The Joker.’ You may or may not be aware of the hype that this film has created. There are so many competing and compelling reviews portraying an emotional reaction to the content and [...]

14 10, 2019

Difficult times? Remember Jesus is Lord!

October 14th, 2019|

We are fast approaching that ominous date, 31 October, when the law states that we should leave the EU. But will we? Will it be with a deal? Or without a deal? Or will the Prime Minister be forced against his will to ask for an extension? We are certainly living politically in the strangest times. So much division has been created and so much passion and heat. At times it is frightening and at times it is sickening. And it is all about sovereignty. Do we in the UK claim back our sovereignty? Or do we want it to [...]

7 10, 2019

Good conversations

October 7th, 2019|

It is, as they say, good to talk.  Conversations - good, Gospel centred conversations - ought to be at the heart of the life of the church. It was my privilege last week to be with one of our Synod churches at the climax of an Inviting Forward process.  Inviting Forward is our way in the Yorkshire Synod of helping churches review their life and plan for the future using Appreciative Inquiry principles.  If you haven’t heard of Appreciative Inquiry, it uses conversations focused on the strengths of the church to build a vision and decide on practical steps forward. [...]

16 09, 2019

Making a difference in Sheffield

September 16th, 2019|

Manor Church & Community Project – The first five years… The Manor is a sprawling ex Council estate, south east of the City centre of Sheffield, with a population of about 15,000 people. The Manor and Castle Ward is currently the most deprived ward in Sheffield. The challenge to the Church on such an estate is how can you still be relevant and make a difference to the lives of those living there? It became clear, over 8 years ago, that an ecumenical approach was the best way to achieve our aims. The Manor Church and Community Project was established [...]

9 09, 2019


September 9th, 2019|

“Let us worship God” and, with these familiar words, the weekly service begins. An hour later – or even longer if the preacher gets carried away! – the service ends with yet more familiar words of blessing. Yet is this really just what worship is about? One hour out of the 168 that make up a week? A relatively brief interlude before we return to whatever it is that occupies most of our time? Or, perhaps even worse, is our understanding of worship confined to just singing together, as when someone, frequently referred to as ‘a worship leader’, says something [...]