Category Archives: Moderators’ blog

Journeys of faith and journeys of hope

Derek Estill reflects on his recent work as one of the General Assembly Moderators

In my last blog I said I was getting ready to go on holiday. Margaret and I went to Wales for a few days with stops near Chester, in Ross-on Wye and in Llandovery.

This gave us an opportunity to explore places we hadn’t visited before and to enjoy the journey. We also went to the Gower Peninsula near Swansea in south Wales. The weather was good, and we had a lovely relaxing time.

The picture shows a beautiful beach on the Gower, one of many which we know very well and enjoy visiting most years.

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Changed by Jesus

Since I last blogged, I have been to some diverse meetings on behalf of the United Reformed Church: the Forum of Churches Together in England, as David Cornick demitted the office of General Secretary, the fringes of the Conservative Party Conference and the Governing Body of Westminster College. They were stimulating and worthwhile.

Photo of the Conservative Party Conference attendees

At the Conservative Party Conference with Sir Desmond Swayne MP (third from left) and leaders of other Free Churches: Quaker, Methodist, Baptist Quaker and Salvation Army

In the past month, though, I have also been asked – as I discover moderators are – to comment upon Universal Credit, upon the end hunger campaign and upon the right to work for asylum seekers. Each one of these issues appealed to my conscience. Indeed, I believe profoundly in the significance of them all. I believe, too, in the importance of the church standing in solidarity with people whose lives are distorted by injustice in those and many other areas. 
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Taking stock and preparing for what comes next

I generally like the month of September. Usually, the weather is good, and we can look back at an enjoyable summer before engaging again in new things. Schools, colleges and similar educational organisations begin new terms in September, and so, whilst we are heading for winter, I always feel quite positive at that time of the year.

Part of taking stock has been looking back and evaluating General Assembly. I’m sure you will appreciate that for me, as General Assembly Moderator, it was a very busy and important time. As well as being a new experience, with many challenges, it is one which I enjoyed and can look back on in a positive way. However, as always, there are things one might wish to have done differently. We are always learning, so it is good to have feedback from those who were there. If you were at General Assembly, you will remember the weather was very hot, and that might be a major part of your memory of Assembly. Overall, it seems, we can count Assembly as being an occasion that went well. I hope that if you were there, you agree with that assessment.  Continue reading