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Alan YatesBusiness session six:

Outgoing moderator's final Assembly speech offers encouragement
Mr Alan Yates, outgoing Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, gave an encouraging address on the final day of the denomination's 2018 Assembly (Monday 9 July). Referring to declining church membership, Mr Yates ended by saying: 'Being small does not prevent us [the URC] from being successful.'

Received by the Assembly with appreciative applause, Mr Yates' speech offered reflections on his call, reflection on his fear and concerns for the URC, and enthusiastic praise for local churches. Mr Yates recognised the contribution of the URC's 'fantastic' large churches but particularly championed smaller churches that make good use of limited resources, and often working creatively and collaboratively. He said: 'Across our three nations ... I have been impressed and encouraged by the way the URC is demonstrating the love of God.'

Read more: General Assembly Day four – Monday 9 July 2018

claire downing 2Business session four

General Assembly Moderators elected for 2020-2022
The Revd Clare Downing and Mr Peter Pay have been elected as Moderators of General Assembly for 2020 to 2022. The result was announced on Sunday morning.

Mrs Downing was chosen as ministerial moderator. She is the Moderator of Wessex Synod, a post she has held since January 2011. Mr Pay of Salisbury United Reformed Church, was chosen as elder Moderator; he served as Clerk for Wessex Synod between 2004 and 2014.

Read more: General Assembly Day three round-up – Sunday 8 July 2018

big speak outBusiness Session two

'Charter for children’ sparks lively discussion
On Saturday 7 July, the United Reformed Church General Assembly was asked to consider the relevance of the 'charter for children' – a set of ten statements affirmed by the 1990 Assembly on the place of children within worship and church life. After a short presentation, the Revd Jenny Mills, convenor of the URC’s children's and youth work (CYW) committee, moved Resolution 22, which asked the Assembly to recommit implementing the charter for children. The issue sparked a lively debate on the floor of Assembly; comments ranged from linguistic concerns about the resolution’s wording and whether the existing charter is written in child-friendly language, to whether the charter needs significant new work.

Read more: General Assembly Day two round-up – Saturday 7 July 2018

charter bannerThe opening session of Assembly:

Constitution of Assembly: Assembly begins with laughter and prayer
The Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, opened the 2018 meeting on Friday 6 July with a heartfelt prayer. To the great amusement of Assembly members, Mr Watson introduced the prayer with a quotation from the late Revd Kim Fabricius, ‘a great Christian friend’. Quoting Mr Fabricius, Mr Watson said: ‘There is a Bible verse on a plaque in the birthing unit of a maternity ward: “Jesus said: ‘Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you an epidural.’”’

Read more: General Assembly Day one round-up – Friday 6 July