Arriving for an early March visit to United Reformed Church House in London’s Tavistock Place, I was stopped in my tracks. The walk from Kings Cross station takes one through an estate of unexceptional flats, but as I emerged to approach our offices, the winter-despatching sight of cherry blossom was a joy. It punctuated the urban scene with prettiness, it enhanced the 1950s building and it lifted my spirits.
It also alerted me to how different a superficial image can be from the reality inside. As I enjoyed the pink prunus blooms, I recalled the internal remedial works taking place inside Church House. A year or so back, building works took place to transform of Church House. But since then, further works have been needed to correct issues with the basement. This work has been essential and unavoidable. Although disruptive to the working conditions of many of our staff, they have worked on, uncomplainingly, and to great effect. From a moderator’s vantage point, I find myself impressed and grateful in equal measure for all our staff, some of whom have had to steer the project for far longer than it was ever anticipated to last, and others of whom have borne its not inconsiderable consequences whilst maintaining their work so fruitfully. Continue reading
Derek Estill, one of the General Assembly Moderators, reflects on his personal commitment to explore faith in action across the URC.
In my closing address at General Assembly, I shared that my focus would be on “faith in action” alongside the importance of listening. I also resolved to attend as many mission and children’s and youth work committee meetings as I could, because these are aspects of our work that I am particularly interested in.
Having a focus on mission is very important as we seek God’s guidance when reaching out to others. The agenda of our mission committee is wide and varied to ensure our Church works with others – like the World Council of Churches, Council for World Mission, Churches Together in England, and the Free Churches Group – to contribute to important issues such as climate change, interfaith and ecumenism, and the marginalised. Although we are a relatively small church, I can report that we punch way above our weight in many of these areas and it is a source of great inspiration to attend these meetings and hear about the good work we do. Continue reading
The Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on what to do before, during and after a crisis.
The idea of crisis has been lingering in my mind for various reasons.
The entirely unanticipated illness of a dear friend, has found him in intensive care. He is in a crisis, because things are difficult and worrying. It’s a sudden crisis.
The progress of the negotiations about the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union is often termed a crisis. The arrangements for after the UK leaving the EU on 29th March seem to be less than finalised. It’s a crisis that some saw coming, whatever their views on whether we should leave or remain.
The ecological recklessness with which many believe the planet has been treated over a sustained period is increasingly summed up as a crisis. The consequences, including things like climate change, might mean some of us complain about summers hotter than we prefer, but for Polynesians they are destructive of their home, even of their island, as sea levels rise, extreme weather events increase and marine ecosystems are irreparably damaged. It’s a crisis long in the making. Continue reading