On the 5th October 2012, the United Reformed Church reached the ripe old age of 40!! They say that this is when life begins, but how true will this be of our relatively young denomination?
In 1972 when this all happened, I had no idea who or what the URC was – and it was to be another 25 years before I would eventually discover the church which would eventually become my spiritual home. Now, as one of its ministers, I am immensely proud to be associated with it, and all that our denomination stands for.
At the recent Guild Ecumenical Service in Avenham Park, Rev’d Elizabeth Caswell described the URC as a piece of ‘grit’, which is either so irritating that you are constantly trying to get rid of it, or has the ability to create a pearl of great price. I think there is a bit of both analogies in what we are – after all, it’s the grit in the oyster which creates the pearl – and if we are ‘true grit’ then we have the ability to irritate – to continue to seek union between churches in the reformed tradition (as we were born to do), thereby creating the pearl which is the Kingdom of God.
But, [there is always a ‘but’ isn’t there] – as Lawrence Moore commented, on the recently produced Windermere Centre Programme for 2012-13 – the URC is at a ‘Kairos’ moment! This is what he believes, and I for one, am inclined to agree with him.
He writes, “A kairos is a God-moment; a decision time. The decisions we take now will determine not only what our future is going to be but whether or not we will have a future.”
This certainly rang true as we gathered together at Carver Church in Windermere on the 13th October for a meeting of the North-Western Synod. I felt that those gathered were all too aware of the importance of making ‘God centred’ decisions as we discussed and determined the way forward.
What is true for our denomination, however, is also true for our church here in Fulwood. We too are faced with the challenge and opportunity to make a difference for Christ’s sake – and that really matters to me – and I hope it does to you too.
But this needs to be a ‘whole church’ involvement, not just the work of a few individuals.
What needs to be done to ensure that the URC is a continuing presence in Fulwood? How can our whole membership be resourced and energised to be ‘kingdom’ people in our community? These are fundamental questions for our future – and they need to be considered by everyone – or we may not have a future!
As Lawrence writes … [making a difference] ‘takes courage, imagination, inspiration and information – probably perspiration, too! If our faith means what we say it does, though, and if we are going to respond, we need to put the time and effort in.’
We live in difficult times, both as a society, and as a faith community – but I believe that God has a plan for us and His church. As we seek to discover and understand what that plan might be, may we find the courage and strength to do God’s will in all things.
Yours in Christ,
STOP PRESS – A big thank you to all who brought shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. About 50 shoeboxes were collected over the weekend of 27th-28th October.