Kevin and I have just surfaced from our last Mission Council as General Assembly Moderators. The next time we attend in November we will be ‘has beens’ (or as the church politely calls us Immediate Past Moderators)!
This Mission Council is the last one before the 2018 General Assembly, and as such we were refining a number of papers and honing the resolutions in order to try to smooth their passage through General Assembly; and now the General Secretary and the Assembly Committees are putting the final touches to the papers that will end up in the Book of Reports.
This was a poignant meeting for us as it signals our term as GA Moderators is drawing to a close. But it was also for a number of other people. As some Assembly posts naturally come to an end at each Assembly the list of people for whom this was their last Mission Council was humbling – you know who you are … and thanks for your years of dedicated service.
Alan and I have just surfaced from our last Mission Council as General Assembly Moderators. And if you think you have just read that already, no, you haven’t as it is now Kevin writing so it’s the other way round! But how much the other way round?
I am making the point of how well Alan and I have dovetailed together as a team of moderators (there probably is an appropriate collective noun for moderators). So, much so, there have been times when we have been totally interchangeable and it has hardly been noticeable. Though we are both men of a certain age and both from the North East, our characters and gifting, interests and experience are very different. This has been invaluable in taking on the privilege of being General Assembly Moderator – we have built on each other’s strengths and made up for each other’s weaknesses. It seems that together, and only together can you see why God needed us in the role at this time and place. But it could have come all unstuck, if we had not trusted and valued each other.
This is the message for the body of Christ, and from our part of the body, the United Reformed Church. Now is the time we should be working together, in each of our separate councils, and committees, churches and communities, synods and nations – and also between them , a unity of spirit and service, a heart of trust and respect. If we are the body of Christ – it needs the mind of Christ, so “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favour: agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.” (Philippians 2:1-5)
Kevin & Alan