Moderator's Snapshots

Missional Partnerships - Synod Roadshows

Over the last 6 days we have shared in 6 roadshows around the Lancashire, Central and South Areas of the Synod concerning the development of Missional Partnership groupings of churches across the Synod. Around 300 Elders have contributed through these sessions, in addition to the consultations with the ministers through 3 meetings around two weeks ago. For those in Cumbria the conversation is yet to develop, and will be taking into consideration all the aspects of the ecumenical county and the development of their “God for All” mission communities. The snapshot this week is of the Monday afternoon session held in Oldham at our Macedonia Church, in their brand new building – and for me it holds something of the importance of the journey we are all sharing in - with this congregation deriving its name from the reference in Acts 16 to God calling Paul to a new phase of ministry:

“Having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia…Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” (Acts 16:6 – 10)

As we all continue on this journey, please pray

  • for the listening to God and one another which will help shape the journey we share in together
  • for the Synod and Area Pastoral Committees as they continue to work on the shape of the possible Missional Partnerships
  • for all our Synod congregations as in the next two months they contribute to the thinking that is taking place, in preparation for this new phase of our journey together.

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Luther King House - Annual College Service

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a lunch at Luther King House (Manchester) and Northern College’s Annual College Service for 2017-2018. The afternoon was an opportunity for the whole college community to gather together, and to welcome all those who share in some way with its life. The service included a celebration of the students who have just completed their ordination training (the image shows the chair of the governors, Revd David Salisbury, presenting Daleen Ten Cate with her leaving certificate in the College chapel) as well as welcoming those who are becoming immersed in the preliminaries of a new course.

Please pray for:

  • those United Reformed Church ordinands training at our Scottish, Manchester and Cambridge colleges
  • the staff and tutors as they begin a new term, and for the Northern College Principal (Revd Dr Rosalind Selby, to the left in the snapshot) as she commences her sabbatical this autumn
  • those who are exploring a call to serve through ordained ministry; and give thanks to God for all those responding to His call within the North Western Synod
  • the renewed emphasis within our Synod, and the denomination, on missional discipleship and the equipping for ministry of all God’s people.


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September 2017 Moderators' Meeting

Every month I attend the Moderators’ Meeting for 2 or 3 days. Last week we met back at Church House in London, the first time for a long time due to all the renovation works that have been going on. As with many of our churches there was a desperate need to modernise an aging building which had become a poor working environment for the staff. An important aspect was the installation of a lift, as the building has many stairs which made much of it inaccessible.

Please pray for:

  • the staff working at Church House as they find their feet in a “new” building, and sort everything out which has been spread around several locations in London for the last 8 months or so
  • the work of those staff who travel around the country assisting congregations in a variety of ways, including our own Revd Philip Brooks (Wharton & Cleggs Lane/Christ Church Little Lever pastorate in Bolton area) who has recently taken up the post of national Ecumenical Officer
  • the work that is being done nationally to encourage us in Walking the Way, that it may help to develop a stronger identity within our congregations of being disciples following Jesus today.

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Views: 1781

Visit to Hambleton URC (Fylde)

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting folk from the congregation at Hambleton United Reformed Church to the north of the Fylde. It was exciting to chat with them about their fellowship and the mission God has called them to in their community. We were able to spend time sharing insights from the lectionary readings for later this month in preparation for their harvest festival (image shows us reflecting on the word “generosity” emerging from the texts).

As always it feels that our congregations spring into life after the summer lull. In addition to all that needs doing locally we have the opportunity to talk together this month about the wider partnership that binds us together in Christ, and in supporting each other to fulfil the mission God gives us in 135 different communities. During September every minister and elder will be able to contribute to our thinking together about how missional partnerships can support each congregation. This will be formative for all that we seek to do together and the ways in which we can strengthen our walk with Christ.

Please pray for:

  • each of our congregations as the autumn brings fresh opportunities, and for our celebrations of God’s goodness in all ways as we gather people to rejoice in harvest festival services
  • the gatherings of ministers and the roadshows for elders/ministers to explore missional partnerships, and our continuing support of one another
  • each church member you know, that each one may be helped to discern the gifts God has given so that they may share in the whole ministry within their congregation for the building up of God’s people (Ephesians chapter 4).

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Views: 1799

The variety of what’s going on in our Synod

Last Saturday I felt very torn – in fact in four directions, but only able to be in one place. The first to appear in my diary charted my direction of travel. But let me mention the other three, as between all four it reflects something of the variety of what’s going on in our Synod.

Firstly, at the end of the month the Bishop of Lancaster retires. I have worked with Bishop Geoff Pearson (particularly with our congregation at Hest Bank URC) over the last 18 months and valued his warmth and wisdom as an ecumenical colleague, together with his friendship which I shall miss. Secondly, a service marking the closure of the Windemere Centre was led by Revd Lis Mullen (recently retired as Northern Synod Moderator) with others taking part, and it seemed very appropriate that the guest preacher was the Revd Tony Burnham. Thirdly, after many twists and turns in reaching this point our congregation of Macedonia, Failsworth (Oldham) were able to celebrate the opening of their new church building.

The event that found its way into my diary first was the service held at St John’s Church in Keswick, where the ecumenical leaders of the recent Holy Land pilgrimage were involved in speaking at the service with about 80 gathered pilgrims. In the snapshot the Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Revd James Newcombe, is speaking with the Methodist District Chair, the Revd Richard Teal, sat awaiting his turn to speak. As I had already spoken I was able to nip across and take the snapshot – it was a very relaxed time together! It was followed by a tea hosted by Alison Newcombe in the Bishop’s home, with lovely weather to explore the stunning garden created by Alison which appeared in a recent edition of the Cumbria Life magazine.

Please pray for

  • all who are struggling with a deep sense of loss at this time, that they may discern the presence and peace of God at work in their lives and in the life of the church
  • all who are rejoicing at new beginnings or fresh starts, and for us all to see new shoots of the kingdom of heaven in the communities where we live, work and minister
  • each member of our congregations across the summer that, whether at home or away, together we may be revived by a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit and be led by Jesus as pilgrims seeking to make him known to others today.

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Big Day Out - Southport 8 July 2017

On Saturday over 500 people from our Mersey and North Western Synods gathered again at the Southport Convention Centre, and it hardly seemed 2 years since the last event. The glorious sunshine we experienced also enabled many to enjoy a stroll to the pier and beach. In a very relaxed atmosphere there was plenty of opportunity for people to enjoy catching up with friends, to listen to a variety of speakers reflecting in different ways on the Church in Action, and with time to browse the variety of stalls provided.

So what to “snapshot”? My pictures of the opening worship were poor because to try and take in the sense of the number of us gathered for worship meant that the Mersey Moderator on stage, together with Café Jam band, looked diminutive. There were lots of sticking and gluing going on with the children making a “Church in Action” banner. However, the variety of stalls caught my eye and so here are 2 snapshots this week. In the left picture frame are Alison Greaves (on the right) and the young people. Alison (from Bamford Chapel & Norden URC) recently attended the United Nations for a week to meet its members, and her stand encouraged us to take have very simple personal aims to address issues of Global Goals for sustainable development in the world. In the snapshot on the right Liz Kam (on the left) is chatting about her work as a Church Related Community Worker in Levenshulme and this particular form of ministry within the URC. All in all, a tremendous day together.

In praying please:

give thanks for an amazing joint Synod Big Day Out, and for all those who worked so hard to make it happen

seek wisdom for the ways in which we, and our congregations, can be the Church in Action in our communities

remember the Mission & Discipleship Committee (formerly the Future Patterns of Ministry Steering Group) as they meet this Thursday and Friday to prepare for consultations and roadshows with ministers and elders in September working on the shaping of missional partnerships

ask God to search the hearts of those in your congregation for a fresh call to be heard by some to exercise particular ministries – especially locally around leading worship and eldership, as well as to the national ministries within the URC of Church Related Community Work or Minister of Word and Sacrament patterns of ministry.


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Views: 1690

Missional Discipleship Roadshows - Lancashire Area

“Who do you say I am?” Jesus asks his disciples. That question still lies at the core of our understanding of discipleship and our participation in the mission of God. Last week our new Synod Mission and Discipleship Team (Lawrence Moore as consultant, Dave Fraser for South Area, and Darren Holland for Central Area) presented 2 more meetings in our series of roadshows around the Synod to look at our focus as a Synod on Missional Discipleship.

Following interviews yesterday, we hope to be able to announce very soon the name of the new Mission and Discipleship Mentor for Lancashire Area – and we will be delighted that together with part of Sarah Moore’s time in Cumbria Area we will have a full Team working across the Synod.

The snapshot is of the evening gathering at Bispham URC with many of the Lancashire Area churches represented. Darren is in the middle of our reflection on various images of Jesus – from the anaemic Jesus painted with cute animals clustered round him, to the more harrowing and darker painting of Jesus straining away from the cross. The blue cards indicate a “coolness” towards the image! (and pink cards indicated a “warmth” towards other images).

Please pray for

  • the Mission and Discipleship Team as they continue to develop their support of the Synod Areas and congregations in missional discipleship
  • the Mission & Discipleship Committee (new name for what was the Future Patterns of Ministry Steering Group) as it meets for 24 hours Thursday 13th to Friday 14th July, in developing the work of both missional discipleship and the other booklet containing the Synod strategy with missional partnerships
  • the Big Day Out this Saturday as we join with Mersey Synod for an exciting time together at the Southport Convention Centre. (there is still room for anyone who wants to turn up on the day – look forward to seeing you there).

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Views: 2132

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