The East Midlands Synod
of The United Reformed Church
Met on Saturday 18th March 2008 starting at 10.30am
at 39 Frederick Street, Loughborough, Leics., LE11 3BH
Here are my observations
of some of the things that went on at Synod.
These are not official minutes, and can not be guaranteed for their accuracy. I have concentrated on the things that struck me as interesting or important, and will have omitted reporting on some issues which you may have picked up.
Would you like to have a go at reporting the events at Synod for the website?
Then please let the clerk [at] urc5 [dot] org [dot] uk know!
You do not have to be able to take photographs - I or someone else can do that.
Why on earth did I choose that photograph (above) of Loughborough URC nearly obscured by a "Give Way" sign?
Well, so often the church is expected to give way to changes in society in this post-modern world of ours. We are not expected to stand up and make a difference anymore, after all religion is just a matter of taste isn't it? It is a personel choice what you believe, as long as it doesnt hurt anyone else!
How close people are to the truth, yet how far away!
For me the most spectacular part of this Synod was . . . . .
. . . the presentation by Lord Mawson
"One Church, 100 Uses."
Revd Andrew Mawson (he is not just a 'Lord') began by telling us the story of his time at Bromley by Bow and how he worked with a very small congregation to develop one of the first church community centres of its kind in the UK. One of the first obstacles he faced was the red tape of local bureaucracy, but being a Minister in the Dissenting Tradition, he did not let this stop him!
Now the Bromley by Bow Centre is regarded as a model of what can be done by the church, even when apparently failing, to serve the local community, and still retain space for a worshipping community at its centre. The expertise gained at Bromley by Bow has been applied to other churches, particularly in the Souther Synod - it can work elsewhere.
In 2005 as Part of the Catch the Vision the Revds Andrew Mawson and Peter Southcombe were asked to explore the possibilities of utilising our buildings in better ways, based upon their track record of developing various church mission and community projects in the recent past. The result is One Church, 100 Uses, a re-development agency wholly owned by the United Reformed Church through its Synod and National Trusts.
The organisation already works with three of our Synods. The invitiation was for the East Midlands Synod to consider becoming involved in the next part of the scheme.
At last some visionary thinking and working in the URC!
At last the church comes into the 21st Century.
Presentation of TLS
The opening worship saw Alison and Charles Jolly receiving certificates for achieving a milestone in their ministry training.
or Peter, an elder from my church this was his first visit to an East Midlands synod. He wrote: "Out of necessity the Synod is a business meeting and I personally found it frustrating that sometimes decisions were not made because there was a desire to finalise every detail before progressing and hence items were deferred." He was referring to the guidelines proposed by Paul Bedford from the Ministries Group regarding Payment of Expenses and Gift to visiting preachers and worship leaders. Based on policy already in use in Derbyshire (and other 'counties') it nevertheless drew a large number of comments, and was eventually withdrawn back to the group for further consideration.
David Featonby prepares for the communion service, standing below the stained Glass widow
Here are some photo's taken over lunch
Revd Terry Oakley, in the chair at the start of the afternoon session.
Christian Aid visits Synod
Sue Richardson, our Christian Aid Area representative, brought Christian Aid partner "Ripon" Masud Karim. Concerned about injustices in Pakistan, Ripon's organisation teaches literacy (less than 4 in 10 men can read, 1 in 10 women), State Law, Sharia Law, and Human Rights Law. The organisation also works to restore property to women
Charles Jolly said "The only unknown about climate change is whether it will be a disaster or a catastrope"
Other business from the afternoon
In order from the top, left to right:
Duncan Smith, our Synod Clerk presented reports from Synod Enabling Group (SEG);
Elizabeth Nash our Training Officer, presented a resolution to send to General Assembly asking "Equal Opportunities" and "Nominations" committees to try to sind out why the URC has not been able to achieve equality of opprtunity and participation for women at all levels in the church;
David Miller presented the report from the Pastoral Group, which asked for executive authority on behalf of Synod to concur with the call of a Minister to a post.