Message From Our Minister May 2018

I’m writing this on Maundy Thursday before I fly to Australia. I have musty summer clothes in the washing machine getting a freshen up before I pack them. I’m trying to get my head around currency ratios ($1.70 to £1) and consulting with my sister about the family reunion she’s planned. 

It seems odd writing for several weeks in the future.  What is the breaking news story? What has the weather warmed up? What is the latest media preoccupation? What will be the latest trendy vegetable that I will utterly fail to grow this year? (I’m still scarred by my experiments with cucamelons and asparagus peas!)

Predicting the future is always a tricky thing -  the one certainty is that it is never what we thought it would be. I had never thought that a little boy living in the Australian outback would end up being a minister in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

As you get this I will be at the first URC minister’s conference ever and I know that whatever else it may be about, we will be talking about the future. With 8 people beginning training this year and several multiples of that number of ministers retiring, deployment will inevitably also be part of the conversation and how we resource congregations that are smaller than they were a decade ago.

So what is the future for the URC? What is the future of the URC in Hull? 

I’d like to think that God hasn’t done with us yet. I think as we continue to try new things we’ll influence the future and with God’s help we’ll get somewhere. But one of the things I’m starting to think is that new things need new theology. As Mark 2:22 says:

"And no one pours new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wine skins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wine skins."

We need new ways of looking and explaining the world. I believe it is new ideas that will save the church. I believe that a new reformation theology will burst forth and change the future of the church in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.

I think the URC is in a good place to surf this coming wave if we let ourselves….but it will involve us holding onto our defining characteristics – freedom of conscience in belief, tolerance  and  the ability to  remain in the conversation even when we disagree.  I also believe our Methodist colleagues are on a similar path and have similar strengths. It will sometimes be a disconcerting journey that might make us look at ourselves and the world in uncomfortable and unsettling ways.

The future whatever it is, will be full of surprises… let’s look forward to God’s unfolding story.