Category Archives: Moderators’ blog

Looking back, and forward

In his last blog post as Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, Derek Estill looks back, and to the future, with thanks

‘Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered’
(1 Chronicles 16:12)

‘I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: … straining forward to what lies ahead’
(Philippians 3:13)


Looking back over where you have been, and forward to what might come next, is an emotional rollercoaster. At this point in my time as a General Assembly Moderator, nearing the end of my term, that emotional rollercoaster is poignant.

I know that, whatever I will be doing in the future, I will have Jesus by my side. That is a very reassuring fact.  I know too that Jesus has been with me in my past journeys and experiences. That knowledge and experience is the bedrock of the future, whatever it is to be.

As the UK tries to come out of the coronavirus lockdown that has dominated life for the last three months, there is still great uncertainty and anxiousness. Such anxiety exists even though other countries, slightly ahead of us, are tentatively opening up their societies too. In China, according to a recent news report, a second wave of the virus might be occurring, causing the country to reinstate lockdown in some areas of Beijing. We are living in very uncertain times, without previous experience of dealing with such a tenacious and pernicious virus. While all this is true, we know we have that bedrock assurance, Jesus, walking alongside us, into the future. Continue reading

Thriving today and beyond

The Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, discerns how Church must change, amid and after the coronavirus pandemic

The River Cam at Midsummer Common, April 2020

The River Cam at Midsummer Common, April 2020

There is so much for us to be discerning about at the moment. How shall we care for each other? What might we think about God? How can we maintain good mental and physical health? What will the future look like? I sense that many people will have asked themselves those questions during the lockdown, as much as ever before.

I’ve relearned that, among the best ways to care for others, there is the telephone. I know that because of how much it has meant to me when, completely out of the blue, people have picked up the receiver to find out how we are. Thanks be to God for Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the first practical telephone) and all his successors. Continue reading

Being Transformed

Flames and Dove Pentecost image

Acts 2 v 1 – 4  

As we journey through Easter to Pentecost, we are concerned about what is going to happen next in regard to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing rules, and are treading carefully towards what we hope will be more normal times.  It is perhaps significant that this is happening as we approach Pentecost, when the spirit came into the world and those who had been confused, worried and anxious suddenly became able to talk of the future with new clarity, energy and certainty.

My experience during this pandemic is that I am rediscovering truths that I had forgotten and am being reminded about the importance of treating everyone equally. I have been given the opportunity to reset my focus in life making sure it is on God “unveiled”. Two Corinthians 18 tells us when we do that, we will be transformed from one degree of glory to another; as the hymn Love Divine, a favourite of mine, does when it says “changed from glory into glory till in heaven we take our place”.

The pandemic is causing deep distress and sorrow to many who have lost loved ones and their suffering is beyond description.  We honour and remember all those that have died, their loved ones left behind, and hold them all close in our thoughts and in our prayers.

This experience is changing our lives in so many ways making it clear that what is important is our relationships with one another and with Jesus, our Lord and master. Continue reading