Moderator's Snapshots

Who is "The Synod"?

Q: who is the “Synod”?

A: (a) us. Every member of every congregation as part of a partnership of 136 churches bearing the light of Christ in those places, but supporting one another in prayer.

A: (b) us. The resources we hold in common (people, buildings, finances) which we share to support one another in 136 communities which need to know Jesus Christ lives today.

A: (c) the Office based at Patricroft URC. This week’s snapshot (not willingly given up!) shows the 4 people who are employed either full or part time to carry out specific roles on our behalf, with some of those we as Synod have elected to serve the life of the Synod in a voluntary capacity in particular roles. So from left to right Tony Rutherford [Finance Officer], Kath Fowler [Legal & Trust Officer], John Rea (elected by Synod as Vice-Chair of Trust and known to many of you for his service in property matters), Hazel Wall [PA, and Hazel is often the person you will speak to on the phone], Kerry Later [Assistant part time secretary], Brian Jolly (nominated to serve us as Clerk-elect), John Piper (elected by us to serve as Synod Treasurer), and Jean Mullineux (again, elected to serve us as Chair of the Synod Trust). Some of you will spot that we are missing Leo Roberts [employed as our CYDO, and Safeguarding] from the picture also.

A: (d) the Area & Synod Pastoral Committees, Learning & Ministries Committee and more - who are all composed of members from our congregations and ministers who willingly offer their time to support the life and witness of our congregations.

Please pray for:
• the staff who are working hard in the Office and visiting churches when needed to support the life of our Synod
• those who serve us on the various committees, as together we support the mission of our congregations
• our Synod gathering this Saturday at Worsley Road URC and the decisions it will make concerning the way will enable and support the development of all God’s People

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Egerton URC

Within the Reformed Church tradition we treasure the opportunities to explore the Word of God in the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, such that it shapes our life, worship and witness. Pictured this week are a group from Egerton URC as we looked at the lectionary Bible passages in preparation for my visit to lead worship, an opportunity to meet some of the congregation and also talk about the mission which the church is engaged in. It was a lively session with a very thought provoking group. Please continue to pray for:

  • all who lead worship for our congregations, whether this takes place on a Sunday or another day of the week
  • the discovery of new times and opportunities for worship which creates possibilities for those in the wider community to explore the Christian faith
  • the Synod as we look at ways of encouraging a new generation of those who can be equipped to lead worship within our congregations
  • Bible study groups within our churches, and that more members will feel this can be a vital part of their faith journey and a dynamic part of what it is to be part of a Christian community

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Northern Moderators' Meeting

This week the five Moderators of the northerly Synods met in Windemere for a day (from left to right myself NW Synod; Jacky Embrey, Mersey; Dave Herbert, Northern; Kevin Watson, Yorkshire and also Moderator of General Assembly for 2 years; David Pickering, Scotland). The URC Synods are divided into 3 “cell groups” and our five Synods form the northerly group. Our meeting together several times a year contributes to our working together across the Synods in different ways, which is already enabling us to share gifts and resources in fruitful ways for the life of the Kingdom at work in our congregations.

Please continue to pray for:

· the northerly Synod conversations at which we are represented (next meeting in November) for exploring new ways in which we can work together and share precious resources

· the Moderators as they build relationships together (both the Northern and Scotland Moderators are new in post this summer)

· the Revd Kevin Watson in his work for the General Assembly, and for others in the Yorkshire Synod who are helping to make his wider working for the denomination possible

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New Mills "Knitted Church"

On Saturday it was exciting to be able to visit New Mills (Providence) for their “Knitted Church”, part of a fortnight of activities for the New Mills Art Festival (you can find out more at http://www.newmillsfestival.com/ ) The Church is involved in hosting a number of events during the fortnight, a festival which culminates with a candlelit walk beside the river between the tors which this year is set to attract around 10,000 people.

The photos demonstrate a small sample of the work that has been created (including a knitted piano with knitted music that accurately shows the notation to a familiar hymn) including the Last Supper scene, harvest produce ready for their Harvest Festival service, and a remembrance piece. Four of the knitters are shown in the photo, and working with many others have spent 18 months gathering the necessary knits. Over the coming fortnight 300 primary school children will be coming to visit the exhibition and engage with the many stories that are including around the exhibition space.

Please pray for:

• the fellowship at New Mills as they engage in such a creative way with the community, and for more opportunities for them within that community
• each congregation within the Synod to discover new creative partnerships which will enable their witness to the Gospel to be shared more widely
• each congregation as they seek to identify fresh ways of engaging in worship which will involve and attract some of the 96% of people in our communities who don’t participate on a Sunday morning
• more occasions to enjoy events like the Knitted Church at New Mills which provide a focus for meeting the community and bring smiles to the faces of those who come along (and who cannot smile at the knitted wheelie bin cover!)

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Sedbergh LEP in the Cumbria Area

snapshot I hope that you have all had a great summer – but the weather forecasters seem to be saying summer is over (or maybe that’s just Manchester?). However, the weather has never prevented us from celebrating the Gospel and fulfilling Jesus’ call to be salt and light in our communities.
At the weekend I had the privilege of attending the welcome service at Sedbergh LEP in the Cumbria Area. The Rev David Crouchley (Methodist) and Rev Carole Marsden (URC) were welcomed into Sedbergh LEP and the service was lively, with Richard Passmore (Cumbria Fresh Expressions) challenging us about the way in which we engage with the community and see fresh connections that can be made through many different age or interest-related groups.
Please pray for
• the ecumenical work in Sedbergh and the surrounding area
• the God for All ecumenical project across the whole of Cumbria as it seeks now to develop and grow truly ecumenical mission communities
• the ecumenical bridge-building in your community that will enable us to do more for the Gospel than any of us can do apart from each other

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St Etienne-du-Rouvray

An unusual image this week – the crest of a small town in France, reeling after the tragic events in their town. Yesterday the world was shocked at the murder of the Roman Catholic priest, Jacques Hamel. His murder by IS extremists took place in the church of St Etienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen, during the celebration of the morning Mass. He has been described as a dedicated priest who was, at the age of 86 could have retired many years ago, courageous and dedicated his life to service within the church “until my last breath”.
A tragic event like this always makes me pause, and wonder whether I too view my discipleship of Jesus Christ to the extent where there may be consequences for me through that service of our Lord. What might be the price of walking in the Way?
Let us pray for
• the community in St Etienne-du-Rouvray
• the leaders of nations, once immediate anger is past, to strive for a resolution that results in peace
• those in our local communities who seek to support and encourage the working together of those of all faiths, and none, for the good of their community
• for those placed in prominent roles of Christian leadership within local communities as they uphold the concerns of the Gospel and God’s people

During August the “Moderator’s Snapshot” will take a summer break, and return refreshed in the Autumn as our work together within the Synod gains momentum again after the summer “recess”.

 

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Barrow Primary School

This week several of the Synod Officers (Treasurer, Clerk-elect, and Moderator) met with the two governors we have at Barrow Primary School (Mrs Joan O’Rourke and Revd Michelle Jarmany). The importance of our meeting was to try and identify the positive steps that can be put in place to support these governors working on behalf of the Synod in our only Voluntary Controlled Primary School. There have been, and are still, significant issues which have made life very difficult for the governors and we hope to put in place the necessary action which will help us fulfil our responsibilities in having oversight of our Church School (this falls to the Synod as we do not have a denominationally centralised means of supporting education).
Please pray for:
• our two Synod appointed governors and all the work they are struggling to do in upholding the Christian/URC ethos of this school
• the Synod Officers and staff as we work to support the governors at Barrow Primary School
• our ecumenical partners who are involved in the provision of education in your area
• our ministers, and others, who have the privilege of forging Church links with schools through leading acts of worship, assemblies, and on occasion work with classes
• all who teach and have a support role within our UK schools, as they cope with the ever-changing demands, and deliver work which is vitally formative for the lives of our children and young people

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