Derek Estill, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, reflects on the highlights of his summer’s moderatorial engagements
Pentecost in Anglesy
I was in Anglesey at Pentecost and was so pleased to be part of a large ecumenical gathering of Christians there. Over 300 people of all ages, from across the island, gathered to celebrate this special day. The Archdeacon of Anglesey led the service. I was able to talk to the Archdeacon afterwards, saying how pleased I was to be able to (metaphorically) join hands with so many Christian brothers and sisters, in celebrating the arrival of the Holy Spirit. It was an uplifting occasion with many declaring their allegiance to Jesus and being anointed.
Rabbi Danny’s induction
I recall with great pleasure attending Rabbi Danny Bergson’s induction to St Anne’s Hebrew Congregation, Lancashire. Rabbi Danny (pictured on the right, below) succeeds Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag, who some of you may remember took part in our 2018 General Assembly’s interfaith dialogue event. I was a guest at this important induction, bringing greetings from the United Reformed Church. Other representatives included the Bishop of Blackburn (pictured on the left, below) and the Mayor of St Anne’s (pictured in the middle, below).
The Mohawk Institute, Brantford, Ontario
A recent visit to the United Church of Canada, and the United Church of Christ, in America, offered experiences that stretched my mind and hospitality that expanded my waistline. The former is always valuable, however little I need the latter.
These two UCCs have a great deal in common with us: roots, polity, worship and so much more. We share a rate of numerical decline, too, though obvious differences of scale mean they remain considerably larger than we are. There is, of course, a lot that separates us: the cultures have similarities, but they are not the same; the geographical size makes modes of sharing ministry distinctly different; and the place of the UCCs in their nations’ life seems to be of a higher profile than ours in England, Scotland and Wales.
They face many of the same socio-political issues as us: polarised politics, ecology, gender justice, a stark divide between richer and poorer. To talk and observe their prophetic words and pastoral deeds on these and many other matters constantly prodded me to re-examine what it is the Church can be in the communities where I live and work. Continue reading
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