The Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, shares insights from the range of voices at the Church of Scotland’s Assembly
At the end of May, I attended the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Its welcome, hospitality and inclusion were remarkable, and, as on previous occasions, I am deeply grateful. I was privileged to bring the greetings of the ecumenical guests.
Richard Scott – Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, and Her Majesty’s Lord High Commissioner to the Assembly – described it as a ‘milestone Assembly’ for several reasons. Some reasons were due to domestic Church of Scotland matters – with which I will conclude this blog – but others arose from the contributions and experience of voices from other parts of the world.
The Rt Revd Colin Sinclair (pictured front and centre), Moderator of the Church Scotland, the with ecumenical and overseas guests to the General Assembly, Edinburgh, 18 May 2019
Sylvia Haddad, from Lebanon, represented the Joint Christian Committee for Social Service (JCCSS). Over several decades, JCCSS has been offering educational and vocational training for Palestinian refugees in Beirut. As its chairman puts it: ‘For 71 years Palestinians have been waiting to go home.’ Until that day comes, JCCSS strives to ensure their opportunities are maximised. Continue reading
Derek Estill, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on the highlights of his moderatorial engagements
At the beginning of May, I joined the jubilee anniversary celebrations at Christchurch – a local ecumenical partnership between United Reformed and Methodist churches in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. The church was founded in 1969 when Methodist churches at Broad Street and Nightingale Road united with Queen Street Congregational Church.
The bold step of a union, and the congregation’s joint vision, has paid dividends over the years, as the church is still flourishing 50 years later. Christchurch draws people of all ages and is actively engaged with today’s communities in a positive, attentive and meaningful way. The work of this church involves people, intrigues people, and attracts people to find out more.
On arrival in Hitchin, I was met by Chris Blackman, the church’s treasurer, who had invited me to stay with him and his wife Ann. I was warmly welcomed into their home and immediately felt at ease. Chris then showed me around the town, and by the time we got back, Ann had prepared a very nice evening meal. After a good night’s rest, it was off to church to lead and share in a service to mark the church’s 50th anniversary. I was made very welcome. Well done to all at Christchurch as they celebrate 50 years of active service and continue to respond to God’s call. Continue reading
Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, sees liberation in a new light, on a visit to the Channel Islands
My father’s caution about me becoming a minister was that I would be bored. If one is not part of the Church, that is perhaps an unsurprising concern. But in this case, my father’s concern was not justified. Long before he died, I think he recognised how stimulating ministry is. He wouldn’t have used this language, but what could be more stimulating than to be caught up in the Body of Christ, with its vocation to help the world know what God has given it in Jesus Christ? Apart from anything else, I have never stopped learning, never ceased to have new experiences, and never finished encountering different people and their cultures.
Liberation Sculpture, 1995
St Helier, Jersey
A recent new experience of mine was going to the Channel Islands to visit the United Reformed churches on both Guernsey and Jersey. My only previous trip had been a fleeting preaching engagement ten years ago at the Sion Church in the St John’s parish on Jersey. Continue reading