Author Archives: urcmedia

Prepare for new fruit this Advent

Peter Pay, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, explains why the fig tree provides a good analogy for our Advent task of preparation

image of young fig leaf

Fig trees are often referred to in the Bible. Jesus mentions them in a parable, where he curses one for its lack of fruit.

We have a large fig tree in our garden which often bears much fruit. I have noticed that whilst fig trees lose their leaves in winter, all the fruits that failed to mature remain on the tree… potentially for years. These fruits will never ripen. They will eventually rot. Continue reading

Let’s thank seen and unseen people

The Revd Clare Downing reflects on contrasting experiences in November, highlighting the value of behind-the-scenes people

Along with leading worship, and all sorts of smaller tasks, November brought two contrasting experiences in my Assembly Moderator diary.

Firstly, I had the privilege of representing the United Reformed Church at the Cenotaph. What is always, I imagine, a meticulously organised event, was subject to a new level of precision as stewards ensured social distancing in the well-ordered procession. In an eerily quiet city, I stood alongside leaders of other denominations and faith groups in Whitehall as the ceremony proceeded, uninterrupted even by the voice of the broadcaster David Dimbleby.

Then, there was Mission Council, which met digitally for the second time in its history, at the end of last week. Since July, many of us have learnt far more about how best to facilitate online meetings, so I rather think that Peter and I had an easier job than Nigel and Derek did in the summer. Unlike the Cenotaph, there was plenty of talking – though no audible squawking of parakeets in the background. And I suspect that some folk might have appreciated a David Dimbleby commentary on what was going on. Continue reading

December 2020 and January 2021

The following appointments are subject to change.

In December, Peter Pay will preach at Broadstone United Reformed Church, Dorset. The Revd Clare Downing will preach online at Heswall URC, Merseyside, and preach also for Christ Church, South Manchester. Both moderators will attend a URC Trust meeting.

In January, Ms Downing will preach online at St Andrews Church (Methodist and United Reformed), Skipton, North Yorkshire, and preach also at Trinity Church (Methodist and United Reformed), Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Both moderators will attend a URC Business Committee meeting.