Sunday, 6 July 2014

A General Assembly

I have just returned from the bi-annual General Assembly of the United Reformed Church which has been meeting in Cardiff.  We have been thinking a lot about water, its life-giving nature and the need to drink deeply.  We have had a range of interesting, and sometimes challenging discussions, not least a difficult conversation around same-sex marriage.  We have talked about many of the critical issues in society at large, the wider church and our own denomination.  We have learned a lot, felt both pain and joy, but, above all, been aware of the presence of God.

We talked about the future of the denomination and the gifts it offers to the wider church, particularly those of conciliarity and eldership.  We have talked about the riches to be gained from expansive and inclusive language.  We have remembered the 100th anniversary of the outbreak o World War 1, hearing from both a German pastor and a serving forces chaplain.  We considered the education of those training for the ministry and how it is funded.  We have recognised the pain of the people of Scotland, including those not now living there, whatever the result of September's referendum on Scottish independence.  We talked about foodbanks and mental health and the challenges faced in those two very different areas. 

What am I left with?  Perhaps a couple of sentences from the Synod Moderators' report provides a summary: "Confidence in all that God is and all that God promises us through Jesus Christ is at the heart of our discipleship.  The refreshing and renewing of the Holy Spirit received as a gift to individuals and to churches is the key to our renewal."

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