Fun and Celebration

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The Holiday Forum family

Last week was packed with celebration; three very different events celebrating different things.  In the middle of the week I joined the Holiday Forum for an afternoon.  The ‘meet the moderator’ session has become a regular part of their programme. It was good to meet the Forum.  We had a good Q&A session where we talked about topics as diverse as ‘People of the Way’ and the overhead of buildings.  This was my first time at the Forum and I was struck by how it was a microcosm of all that is good in the URC family … diverse, accepting and interactive.  My sincere thanks go to the organising committee under the gracious guidance of Colin Ferguson.  This year more than 100 people have attended the Forum, many of them long-standing fans.  If you want to sample their gentle balance of activities, conferencing and free time then visit the Holiday Forum website (https://www.urcholidayforum.org.uk/wpsite/) for more information.

On Saturday 27th August I attended a service at Palmers Green URC to celebrate the life of Revd Keith Forecast.  The service was crafted by Revd Ray Adams, minister of Palmers Green URC.  Keith was a well loved and well-known URC ‘elder statesman’ who served enthusiastically in local churches, as a Synod Moderator and as a General Assembly Moderator.   I knew a little of Keith when he was in Thames North so it was fascinating to hear more about him from family and colleagues.  He was a man who inspired many, and his inspiration did not end with his death.

My final celebration was at Greenbelt when I visited for the day on Sunday – managing to avoid the worst of the rain.  The day started with fantastic worship led by young people, which

Bill shows us the Scrap the Church post box

Bill shows us the Scrap the Church post box

included an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby – The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby –  to give him his full title.  In a humble and humorous session he was clearly at ease talking with (not down to) the young people during which time we were treated to him wearing his ‘big hat’!

It was fantastic to see the prominent URC stall.  What a sterling job done by Steve Summers and his team, some of which you see in the photographs.  My only disappointment of the day was that, despite wearing short trousers, I was not allowed into the URC Youth ‘Scrap the church’ debate as I was way beyond the age range … apparently they had the session for the oldies on the Saturday, doh!

Caroline and her daughter decorate the 'URC'

Caroline and her daughter decorate the ‘URC’

One interesting session I did get into was the Antidote to Bible Study.  This was an exposition of Genesis 1 in Hebrew by Dr Chris Meredith from Winchester University.  With eloquence and humour Chris gave us an insight into the original text for Genesis.  I never thought Hebrew could be so fascinating.  Two things stood out for me.  Firstly, the initial word of Genesis 1 is often translated ‘In the beginning …’ which gives a sense of a starting point, a beginning.  If I have understood Chris properly the word may be better translated as ‘Firstly’ … rather like the start of my previous sentence!  This does not imply a start, merely one of a number of statements.   The second thing that stood out for me was the fact that God is bringing order out of chaos, rather than creating stuff out of thin air.  Fascinating … but as they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Blessings,

Alan Yates

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