Derek Estill, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on the highlights of his summer’s moderatorial engagements
Pentecost in Anglesy
I was in Anglesey at Pentecost and was so pleased to be part of a large ecumenical gathering of Christians there. Over 300 people of all ages, from across the island, gathered to celebrate this special day. The Archdeacon of Anglesey led the service. I was able to talk to the Archdeacon afterwards, saying how pleased I was to be able to (metaphorically) join hands with so many Christian brothers and sisters, in celebrating the arrival of the Holy Spirit. It was an uplifting occasion with many declaring their allegiance to Jesus and being anointed.
Rabbi Danny’s induction
I recall with great pleasure attending Rabbi Danny Bergson’s induction to St Anne’s Hebrew Congregation, Lancashire. Rabbi Danny (pictured on the right, below) succeeds Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag, who some of you may remember took part in our 2018 General Assembly’s interfaith dialogue event. I was a guest at this important induction, bringing greetings from the United Reformed Church. Other representatives included the Bishop of Blackburn (pictured on the left, below) and the Mayor of St Anne’s (pictured in the middle, below).
The Mohawk Institute, Brantford, Ontario
A recent visit to the United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ, in America, offered experiences that stretched my mind and hospitality that expanded my waistline. The former is always valuable, however little I need the latter.
These two UCCs have a great deal in common with us: roots, polity, worship and so much more. We share a rate of numerical decline, too, though obvious differences of scale mean they remain considerably larger than we are. There is, of course, a lot that separates us: the cultures have similarities, but they are not the same; the geographical size makes modes of sharing ministry distinctly different; and the place of the UCCs in their nations’ life seems to be of a higher profile than ours in England, Scotland and Wales.
They face many of the same socio-political issues as us: polarised politics, ecology, gender justice, a stark divide between richer and poorer. To talk and observe their prophetic words and pastoral deeds on these and many other matters constantly prodded me to re-examine what it is the Church can be in the communities where I live and work. Continue reading
Both moderators will begin July by attending a parliamentary prayer breakfast at the Palace of Westminster, London. Also in July, the Revd Nigel Uden will preach at Havant United Reformed Church, Hampshire, and Rhyl United Church, Denbighshire. He will also attend a meeting of the North Wales Regional Consultative Group. In addition to events linked to the parliamentary prayer breakfast, Derek Estill will attend the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, Wrexham, Clwyd.
In August, Mr Estill will lead worship at Westbury Gardens and at Revidge Fold URCs, both in Blackburn. He will also go to Greenbelt festival. Mr Uden will preach at Trinity, Plymouth.