It is with very mixed feelings that we publish our final blog as GA Moderators. It has been a very rich and rewarding time for us both, and we hope we have managed to share that with you. The two years since we announced our theme of ‘The People of God’ seem to have flown past. We chose the theme as a preparation for the denomination embarking upon Walking the Way. Before starting to Walk the Way, did that mean the United Reformed Church was standing still, or had it not even got out of bed in the morning?
Far from it! In our travels around our three countries we have been continually impressed by how our churches are showing God’s love through their outreach and community service. We may not be a big denomination but we are certainly big in spirit and service. Our travels have also brought us face-to-face with some of the difficulties caused by the double whammy of shrinking congregations and growing legislation, and the challenges of how to witness faithfully to the Gospel in a fast-changing world. It is easy to hide behind church walls, or leave the church in frustration or just be overwhelmed by all the negativity that is around – but we would say this is both the challenge and opportunity we have witnessed throughout the United Reformed Church and throughout our nations – so many good, encouraging and uplifting stories, so many people finding new ways to be church, new expressions of worship together, new engagement with community, new use of God’s resources for the sake of mission.
When we were elected as GA Moderators we had a sense that our time in office would be coloured (or swamped) by same-sex marriage issues and fall-out. We are really pleased that that was not the case. Through the deliberate and gracious acts from all in our church we have maintained a strong sense of unity. Indeed, for many there is a greater sense of “United” in URC than ever before, for the focus has shifted to what we are all called to – discipleship, following Jesus.
What have our blogs sounded like to you? Paul wondered that when he wrote his letters!
“Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiselled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it. We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!” (2 Corinthians 3:1-6 The Message). Keep going in the Spirit of Christ!
Thanks for the opportunity to serve you.
Kevin & Alan