The East Midlands Synod
of The United Reformed Church
met on Saturday 12th March
here at St Andrew's, Peterborough
This was one of the first new buildings to be opened
after the United Reformed Church was formed
Here are my observations
of some of the things that went on at Synod.
was led by Revd Clare Downing and focussed on the MakePovertyHistory campaign.As part of the act of worship we were invited to help each other tie on a white arm band.
And there was every encouragement to buy
FairTrade and Traidcraft products from the well stocked stalls.
The Top table
The moderator, Revd Terry Oakley, and The Synod Clerk, Mrs Irene Wren, take their places on the top table.
The members of synod settle down in the church.
Tamara Oates and Sarah Bedford shared their experiences of Fury Assembly. After a memorable journey (more like an expedition!) they shared in the discussions which included topics such as FairTrade, Racism, and bullying.
Synod was introduced to John Brown, the recently appointed national Youth & Children's Work Training and Development Officer.
John outlined the developments in Youth & Children's Work
following decisions at last years Assembly
He also promoted URCHIN
The URC's Youth & children's work magazine.
Mission in the World
Revd John Hall introduced some of the work of this Group
FairTrade: even though only 41% of local churches in the Synod have signed up to be FairTrade Churches, they Synod was able to vote to be a FairTrade Synod. Has your church decided to become a Fair Trade Church? Then let the synod know!!!!
Botswana Link: this is being developed.
Several people from Botswana recently visited the Synod and several local churches around the region.
MakePovertyHistory: You can't have missed this one! There is much work to be done leading up the G8 summit in July. Only around half of the $100bn debt cancellation that was promised has been delivered so far! Please send a postcard - or even better write a letter to your MP (a letter is worth 40 postcards!) to urge our government to continue its lead in this work.
We were also urged to look at 'leaning on' the USA
which is the engine behind the world's economy,
and forge links between us (and other european churches) & USA Christians
Leicester Centre for Theology & Ministry in a Multi-Faith Society: John Hall introduced Revd Andrew Wingate who works at this centre. He explained how vital is the work of building bridges across religious divides. We should not allow religion to the a reason for hatred and division.
Clikc here to see the Powerpoint Presentation (requires Macromedia Flash plugin)
Traveling Towards Gods Tomorrow
The Moderator led us in a journey of Reflection through the Bible
- the Story of the continuing Journey of God's people with God
Irene Wren brought brief news from Mission Council. In particular she invited offers from synod for someone or some group to decorate the MDF letter (H) which she is holding in the photograph. This is one of eighteen letters which will form a huge cross formed from the words
Encountering Church is the theme chosen for the year
by incoming Assembly Moderator David Peel
It is also the theme for URC Holiday Forum this year
which will be led by David and his chaplain Jill Thornton.
Finance & Property
Convened by Revd Duncan Wilson, and with the help of Revd Richard Turnbul (treasurer) and Robert White (Property Officer) this group presented budget information for they Synod, and news of the forthcoming pack regarding the Asbestos Surveys which churches are requested to undertake before the end of the year.
A Time to Heal
Tricia Lloyd announced details of the forthcoming URC East Midlands Health & Healing Day to be held on 17th September at Christ Church, Orton Goldhay, Peterborough.
Your Synod Rep and your Minister each has a leaflet.
There were other (less photogenic?) presentations at synod.
In particular, the resolution giving permission for Synod to explore the possibility of managing the Yardley Hastings Centre caused some careful debate. The resolution was considerably amended before being passed, in order to make clear the process to be followed in the desired Feasibility Study, and the committee which will take executive action on the report of that study before the next synod meeting.
The other resolution to cause some disquiet was a proposal to General Assembly from Leicestershire District that the URC should to nominate a person who would apologize to anyone who has been sexually abused by a member of the Church.