General Assembly 2021 

In July this year, I was privileged to be one of the Thames North Synod reps at General Assembly. 

I found it impressive. Last year, faced with Covid, GA was simply cancelled. A year on, the URC has embraced technology and, with the considerable help of the tech wizards in URC Youth, moved the whole GA onto Zoom. The ‘top table’ – moderators, Clerk, chaplain etc – were together in Westminster College, the tech team in another room there, and everyone else joined in from home. We managed to complete all the business of Assembly in the allotted time, a full programme, complete with voting and small group discussions. 

Meeting online opens many possibilities. Assembly voted to set up a new post for a ‘digital minister’, initially to take over the Daily Reflec tions and Sunday Worship but with the potential for offering pastoral ministry to people who, for whatever reason, are unable to get to a local URC church. We then agreed to explore an even more creative post looking at ways in which virtual church could offer opportunities for mission, evangelism and discipleship. 

Young people, enthusiastic about new media, were also passionate about justice. Contributing to discussions on such issues as racism, modern day slavery and the plight of Palestinian Christians, many of them said it was our concern for justice that made them proud to belong to the URC. 

All this gave much cause for hope. Within that hope, Assembly addressed the sense of loss and anxiety from the pandemic. The Synod Moderators’ report spoke about the idea of ‘liminal time’ (from the Latin for ‘threshold’), a place ‘where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them… when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer’. They called on us in these uncertain times to wait, to deepen our communal discernment through bible reading and prayer, to tell our story and remember who we are, and to see where God is calling us now. 

All the papers and summaries from General Assembly area on the URC website. 


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