The United Reformed Church General Assembly was held from Friday 30 June to Monday 3 July at The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Our Synod had 15 representatives attend along with the other 12 Synods and various Church House officers and ecumenical partners. The General Assembly (GA) is held to discuss and vote on resolutions that shape the way the business and the direction the denomination takes in the future. The full book of reports is available here and a Business Digest is available here.
Every day began and ended with worship and included communion on the first day and bible studies on the second and third day, with Sunday worship as well. The Moderator’s Chaplain creates the theme and styles the worship for the weekend. The theme was “a space of grace” and this was beautifully accompanied by some artwork by Revd Elizabeth Gray-King. Two of the Ecumenical partners took the bible studies and Sunday Worship which were particularly well presented. On the last day, the new Moderator’s Chaplains ended Assembly with their version of worship which was upbeat and diverse in nature. We also got to sing a new song actually written during GA by Dominic Grant, an amazing feat, considering the free time available was limited. But God does find a way!
Young people from across the URC met for two days ahead of GA for ‘What do you think?’ to enable them to prepare for the discussions, and this was productive in enabling the young people to fully take part in the proceedings. The resolutions discussed were wide-ranging and thought-provoking. All views were respected, and any disagreements were handled sensitively. Dominant was the Church Life Review which reflected views from around the denomination, as well as urgent social issues such as the Illegal Migration Bill and the war in Ukraine.
As with any event that has to rely on technology to help the proceedings along, there were glitches – but these were overcome – and for those churches that use technology, understanding was manifest.
Although the long days were tiring, all of the representatives found time to relax and get together, not always ably helped by the long queue at the bar!
With thanks to Maggie Kirkbride