Category Archives: Moderators’ blog

Rediscover prophetic voice

Peter Pay, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, interrogates what “prophetic voice” means, and why it matters today

The United Reformed Church’s Wessex Synod close ecumenical links with L’Eglise Protestante Unie de France (the United Protestant Church of France). Honouring this connection, the synod has, for many years, sponsored an annual meeting to consider topics from the two Churches’ differing cultural and historical perspectives. When I first became involved in this meeting, it was called “the Colloque”, and featured each particpant speaking in our own language. It is now called “Le Weekend” and we provide translation to make it more inclusive.

One of the early Colloques I attended was themed La Voix Prophetique (the Prophetic Voice). I remember, with shame, wondering what all that was about, and whether I really wanted to spend a whole weekend talking about it. Was ‘prophetic voice’ really relevant today? Continue reading

Working together in God’s mission

One of the joys of being a Moderator is in presiding at inductions. It has been my privilege, as Wessex Synod Moderator to celebrate the beginning of many new ministries, and I am now experiencing this on a wider level as a Moderator of the United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly.

In the last few weeks, I have ordained one minister and inducted two in Wessex, and, from the comfort of my own study, inducted the Revd Jamie Kissack to serve as Yorkshire Synod Moderator. By the time you read this, the two inductions that I’m looking forward to – another minister in Wessex, and that of the Revd Samantha White to be Principal of Westminster College – may have already happened. Most are happening in the strange combination of “live” and ”virtual” that we are currently experiencing.

I don’t think that I am a control freak (though my husband may disagree), but the challenge of hoping that these services run smoothly when, as a worship leader, you can’t see all of what is going on “on screen” is certainly an interesting one. It involves trust in both the people controlling the computers, but also a degree of faith in the technology itself. It’s not always easy. Continue reading

Being nurtured

Peter Pay gives thanks for local church communities, and their nurturing work

I was due to be visiting Kingston-on-Thames United Reformed Church in September. But the virus has caused my visit to be postponed. King Cong (as it was fondly known) is the church I grew up in. Indeed, it is also the church where my parents met and married.

I recall joining a large Sunday school of well over 100 children. There, I followed a teacher training process for the older teenagers, and started to teach in a branch of Sunday school that was on a neighbouring estate with at least 50 more children. There was a Youth Fellowship, with Saturday socials and Sunday evening speakers, and ‘Fred Fridays’, where one of the church couples provided their front room as a venue for young people to discuss matters. I recall a small group of us being “allowed” to lead worship (with a bit of supervision). It was a church where we felt welcome, included and safe. A church where I was indeed nurtured, and where my faith grew and was strengthened. I left in my early 20s, when I moved away. Continue reading