This week’s edition

We lead this week with the Church reaction to the COP24 Climate Change conference in Poland. While leaders from New Wine and Tearfund have called on the world’s governments to take urgent action to stop the threat of danger, Christian Aid has criticized the fact that coal companies have been allowed to sponsor the meeting.


On the domestic front, the Prime Minister won the backing of the Archbishop of York this week as she battles to win the backing of MPs for her Brexit agreement. Dr John Sentamu said legislators should back the agreement and dismissed calls for a second referendum.


A row about sexism has broken out as a church plans its Christmas services. A vicar has suggested that children should dress up as ‘wise people’ rather than wise ‘men’, pointing out that the Scriptures don’t specify their gender. Is it a sensible move, or is it a mark of political correctness?


The Church in Japan is to host an international conference next year as part of its campaign to rid the world of nuclear power. The devastating tsunami and earthquake there in 2011 unnerved governments around the world, and the churches are keen to use this as a way of ending our reliance on nuclear power.


Meanwhile a fresh row has broken out about a Christmas service as Derby Cathedral decided not to allow the Rev Melvin Tinker to preach at a Christian Union service.


On our leader page Alan Storkey poses a question for evolutionists while we reflect on the Gospel message during Advent.


We have a major feature this week on the way that churches are fighting poverty and debt, while we hear from Andrew Gant about the faith behind the works of JS Bach. Andrew Carey writes about the new focus being given to Middle East Christians with a service in Westminster Abbey while Alan Edwards fears it may be too late to wish people ‘Happy Christmas’.


Paul Richardson reviews a new book on Christian radicalism that claims the churches may have been at the forefront of social changes that swept in during the 1960s. Derek Walker reviews the new album from Stuart Townsend, one of our most important hymn writers. And Janey Lee Grace reports form a recent conference that suggested our GPs may be asking us the wrong questions when we go to them for help.