North Western Synod meeting on 10/03/2012
On Saturday, the 10th of March, the Synod of our North Western Province met at Gatley URC in South Manchester. As a ministerial student, I am among those who are regularly encouraged to attend Synod, and I have to say, I always enjoy meeting the many different people who are part of the URC in North West England.
My first impression, when we all gathered as Synod commenced, was that people seemed to dress less formally than at past Synod meetings. It was a colourful and very varied group of people that met to discuss “URC business”. As usual, there were reports from Synod Executive, Synod Resources Committee, Learning and Ministries Committee, and from the Area Pastoral Committees.
This Synod also featured an update on the ongoing Human Sexuality and Civil Partnership discussions and some conversations about this.
Another vibrant addition to the agenda of the meeting were a presentation about Youth and Children’s work within the URC, including a reflection on the recent URC Youth Assembly (which I also attended, as a representative of Northern College) and a passionate speech by the current Christian Aid intern, who shared her experiences of working with Commitment for Life and Christian Aid as a young adult during her “year out”.
Two special moments – among others – were, firstly, the point at which Synod officially expressed its excitement about Lawrence Moore, director of the Windermere Centre, being one of the moderators for the upcoming General Assembly and at which we were all invited to uphold him in our prayers as he prepares to serve the URC at national level, as well as in Windermere.
Secondly, Revd Rachel Poolman was nominated by our Synod as candidate to be one of the upcoming moderators of General Assembly 2014-16 – elections will be held at this year’s General Assembly. Rachel will also need our thoughts and prayers.
Although there was a long agenda to the meeting with many different items, this Synod meeting was anything but lengthy or dull. The people attending Synod obviously enjoyed their time of fellowship with each other at all times; so much so that there was laughter at various points in the meeting (like when the Synod Clerk decided to repair his breaking chair in the middle of a presentation!).
Synod closed with a lively Act of Worship and Praise (accompanied on a guitar – not the organ as usual!), which helped me to leave Synod feeling uplifted and encouraged in my faith and discipleship.
What particularly stood out to me at this Synod meeting, was the hospitality offered by Gatley URC. There was freshly brewed (real!) coffee, and buttered toast; there were huge amounts of Danish pastries, and there was cake, which were sold in aid of charity.
The next Synod meeting will be held at Carver URC in Windermere in October and I think we all will need to help our fellow group members with that challenge – practically and through prayer!