Moderator's Snapshots

Ministers' and Lay Preachers’ Winter School

Last weekend it was a pleasure to be involved with the Ministers and Lay Preachers’ Winter School with a good mix of people attending. We met at the Windermere Centre and on the Saturday were able to use Carver Church with its wonderful open space for seating around tables. We had a range of sessions which seemed to dovetail beautifully (although none of us had collaborated). Ann Morisey led 2 sessions on Growing Older Disciples (picture); Lawrence Moore led a Bible study on the texts of Simeon and Anna, and also Good Friday; while I led a couple of sessions on Art and Worship (focus on Lent and Good Friday), and a Communion Service on Friday evening which enabled us to reflectively journey through the whole of Holy Week [as I write this it is one week now until Ash Wednesday]. In addition a whole range of art materials, including clay, were available during Saturday for engaging in some reflection and the creation of art picking up on a focus of “hands”. The fellowship during the weekend was good with plenty of time to eat and talk together. A couple of those present offered to take the lead in organising next year’s Winter School – so do watch out for notice of the dates!

027 03 Feb 2016

Views: 1279

Media Training

Last week I spent a day in London with the two Moderators-elect for General Assembly (Revd Kevin Watson & Mr Alan Yates), the Deputy General Secretary for Discipleship (Richard Church) and another new Moderator (Rev Steve Faber, West Midlands) engaged in media training. It was an intensive day of preparing ourselves for producing a “Thought for the Day” at short notice, a live radio interview (the mics are so large you can hardly see the interviewer across the table), a live TV interview in the studio and then an outside broadcast interview. The day was superbly facilitated by Ali Hutchinson who is an experienced journalist and trainer. Each of these recordings was then played back to the group – with a chance to first offer our own view of how we performed, before peer criticism contributed to our understanding. I discovered (to the mirth of my peers) that when the countdown is given “3 – 2- 1-live” and the interviewer utters the first three syllables of her question that it is best not to collapse sideways and almost fall off the chair! In spite of such things we were all declared fit to be interviewed and would give a good account of the URC in the event.

026 27 Jan 2016

Views: 1355

Coming soon...

Coming soon... the Synod's Moderator, Revd Andrew Mills, will be writing snapshots from his visits around the Synod.AndrewMills

Views: 1109

Chaplaincy Agreement at Lancaster University

On Tuesday I represented our Synod at the signing of the new chaplaincy agreement at Lancaster University. The official signing was followed by an act of worship based on the CTBI materials in this week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As a Synod we have a significant opportunity to share in mission through our involvement in chaplaincy at both Manchester (to approx 80,000 students across 3 universities) and Lancaster (approx 16,000 students). Please pray for the chaplains, and particularly the new chaplaincy structures being implemented at Manchester in the St Peter's House Centre.

025 20 Jan 2016


Views: 1361

Christian Aid/Commitment for Life

Last week I met with Bex Turner (middle) as one of the Manchester regional coordinators for Christian Aid, together with John Griffiths (left) who in a URC volunteer capacity has an advocacy role for Christian Aid/Commitment for Life in the Mersey Synod. For those of you who attended the Big Day Out last year you may have had the opportunity to chat with John as he manned one of the stalls. If you are passionate about seeing Commitment for Life promoted within our North Western Synod I would be pleased to hear from you (please contact Hazel at ). It would be great for our Synod to have an advocate who will help us to strengthen our support and praying for the projects supported in Bangladesh, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, and Zimbabwe.

024 14 Jan 2016 2

Views: 1343

Ordination and Induction of the Revd Catherine Lewis-Smith

On Saturday 9th January the church at Central United Reformed Church (Duckworth Street, Darwen) acted as host for the Ordination and Induction Service of the Revd Catherine Lewis-Smith (3rd from left in picture, with Dwfrig her husband 2nd from left). A packed church provided a warm atmosphere for a service of celebration followed by the customary bountiful refreshments afterwards (not that the Moderator managed to lay his hands on a morsel!). Catherine comes from her period of training at Westminster College, and in addition successfully handed in her PhD on the 23rd December. Her supervisor, Revd Dr Janet Tollington, was the invited preacher. Please pray for Catherine and Dwfrig as they settle in to their new home and find their way around the area, and also for the pastorate with the new opportunities that are possible with Catherine’s ministry within the pastorate and more widely in the Darwen area.

024 14 Jan 2016

Views: 1521

Christmas Edition

In keeping with many of our services at this time of year light is an important focus. I visited our congregation in Fairhaven this morning (the White Church, so named because it is faced with white tiles and resembles an Eastern structure with its tower) and towards the end of the service the children came back in and helped to distribute Christingles to the congregation. Appropriately the candles were lit as we passed on the flame one to another, and then the lights were all turned out. On a wet and grey day the gloom was pierced by these small lights: a reminder of our calling to be bearers of light in the world, as in sending his Son to be the Light of the world so God sends us. May God bless you all in your celebrations this Christmastide. Andrew.

023 16 Dec 2015 2

Views: 1232