It’s not often you get to go to the AGM of another church and some people would wonder why you would want to! On Wednesday evening I traveled to St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Roundhay,Leedswhere they were holding their AGM. It is their tradition to begin with a short service led by someone from outside their congregation and after a cup of coffee to move into their business meeting. On this occasion they gave me two ‘bites of the cherry’ and after the service and coffee I had the opportunity to talk about a Week in the Life of a General Assembly Moderator which was followed by questions.
The meeting which followed this covered the usual range of necessary business including the election of elders, thanks to elders who were standing down or taking a sabbatical, accounts and reports from the Secretary and Elders. St Andrew’s had just received the report of the Church Life Review and there was discussion of this which showed how the visitors had found a vibrant, friendly and welcoming church but one thing which exercised the meeting was the problem of low attendance at Church Meetings. In this they share a problem with many of our churches. The Church Meeting is such a gift – the opportunity for everyone to participate in and influence the life and witness of the church but one which many of our members treat so lightly – maybe it is one of those things which we only value when we find we no long have it. I suspect though, that there are sufficient people for whom this precious gift is just that – a precious gift – to be defended in ecumenical situations and championed in churches where interest diminishes. I do hope so.