………. I was on home ground. I had been invited by the Yorkshire Synod to speak at the October meeting about what I had been doing since I stopped being Synod Clerk and started being an Assembly Moderator. I had been asked to speak as part of the opening worship so I spoke about the role of the Moderator, how it works in the new situation of two Moderators serving for two years and outlined some of the things which I have been doing.
The title of the opening worship was Hidden Treasures so what makes a hidden treasure in the United Reformed Church?
Well I think it is something about the Spirit. The Spirit is alive and well and can be found in many of our churches. He meets us at the door and is a tangible presence. This has nothing to do with the size of the church or whether they have a minister. It’s not to do with the age of the congregation or whether their finances are sound.
Sadly I have also been to churches where he is absent, where hanging onto what we have (sometimes not even consciously) is more important than taking risks.
It seems to me that one of the roles of the Assembly Moderator is to help churches to celebrate what they are doing as they witness to the love of God in their communities and that is, I believe what I have tried to do. My observation is that the churches which are alive to the Spirit are those which have recognized that God’s ideas are not always the same as ours and who have been prepared to be challenged, to be flexible and adaptable and ready to take risks in answer to the call of our risk taking God. They are also the ones who recognize that God is present in the world outside the walls of the church – perhaps even more than within them.
It was good to be amongst people I knew and to catch up with folk from the Yorkshire churches but now there is more traveling and more interesting places to see and people to meet. Lots of people asked me if I am enjoying the role – ‘of course’ has to be the answer!