Category Archives: Moderators’ blog

Liberation yesterday, today and tomorrow

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

Liberation Sculpture, 1995
St Helier, Jersey
Philip Jackson

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

April thoughts and actions

My efforts to maintain my meat abstinence’s during Lent has proved to be quite successful and helped me think more deeply about what we are doing to our planet earth through our meat-eating habits when there are so many alternatives available.  I now find that my action has changed my habit and I am taking more care to seek out and enjoy other foods.  As I sit down to write this blog I have just enjoyed scrambled eggs followed by apple crumble, so habits can be changed and as we increasingly think about how we are messing up our planet this can only be a good thing, thank you JPIT for your encouragement.

April saw my granddaughter get married, it was a glorious occasion with family and friends, young and older, all coming together in harmony.  It was also a joyous time for us all and reminds us that this is what life should be all about as we remember what Jesus said about loving one another.  As you may know I am involved in Interfaith work and my family is an Interfaith family.  To me and my wife this is a real blessing as our Christian and Muslim family members join to share life’s joys, concerns and dreams which I believe is what God wants us all to do.  It is of course important whilst doing this that we live out our faith in all we do with integrity and honesty sharing all that life brings us. As you may know Nigel and myself as General Assembly Moderators are encouraging everyone to listen carefully to each other and then to put our faith into action.  This of course requires us to be strong in our faith and open to others as Jesus was.  Continue reading

God’s insurrection

Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, shares how reading fuelled a rediscovery of the real song of Easter

This is Holy Week – the week of weeks. Throughout my ministry, Holy Week has been preceded by a season of slightly anxious wondering about what to say around the events of Calvary and the empty tomb. Always, some reading helps.

This year, I was assisted by a senior colleague offering a comment upon the sermon I had preached at a funeral. I had suggested that the empty tomb was crucial as an image of God’s reliably resurrected love, for the deceased and for those who mourn. I suppose I was saying that, in the inextinguishable light of the empty tomb, those who had sought to defeat that love were seen to have been foiled. Concerned that I was understating the cross, my correspondent reminded me of the work of Scottish theologian PT Forsyth, who 110 years ago published The Cruciality of the Cross.

After a journey out of more liberal thought, Forsyth wrote:
Only if [we] hold that in the atoning cross of Christ the world was redeemed by holy God once for all, that there, and only there, sin was judged and broken, that there and only there the race was reconciled and has its access to the face and grace of God – only then [have we] the genius and plerophory* of the Gospel.  Continue reading