Category Archives: Moderators’ blog

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

My learning journey

In her first blog post as General Assembly Moderator, the Revd Clare Downing shares new discoveries, and encourages lifelong learning with Jesus

I’ve been learning some new skills.

As of this week, I can not only record myself on video, and edit out the mistakes, I can add photographs while not losing the voiceover. Sermons can have visual aids again.

Other recent discoveries include polls on Zoom, the video conferencing platform, which can be made so that they have multiple possible answers; if someone is screen sharing, you don’t have to let their document take up most of the space; and, just because a YouTube clip works perfectly well in a PowerPoint presentation, when you try it on Zoom and you’re the only person in the “room”, that doesn’t mean the clip will work when you’re in a real meeting.

That’s just a start – it’s some of the practical things. The restrictions that we are all living under have meant that I’ve been learning about myself too – or at least being reminded of some of my foibles and failings. Despite the fact that I don’t come into any of the high risk categories, I’ve not been easy to live with. I’ve had to learn to do things differently, whether that is around spending most of my time at my desk, or drastically reducing the number of times I pop to the supermarket. Continue reading