Happy New Year! from the Moderator Revd Paul Whittle
As I write, in the early days of January, the UK faces an uncertain future. Brexit continues to dominate the headlines and, for the moment and I suspect some time yet, we are no nearer knowing what will be the situation at the end of March. It was interesting to be representing the URC at a gathering of European and Middle Eastern colleagues in the first part of December and on the date when ‘the vote’ was originally scheduled.
However, it serves as a reminder of the many uncertainties that we face. Being the church in the UK as the second decade of the twenty-first heads towards its close also carries large elements of uncertainty. But, as Paul reminds us, we should and can have confidence – “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted” (2 Timothy 1:12).
One of my failings is my love of coffee, and the fact that I therefore drink too much of it. I used coffee as an illustration when I was interviewed for the post of Synod Moderator, and have continued to use the image from time to time. I do like the suggestion that the church is like a cup of coffee, the point being that we need to recognise the value of different kinds of coffee and that coffee doesn’t work if all try to be lattes or cappuccinos or americanos or whatever. Nick Page, from whom I have borrowed this idea, suggests: “I like espressos ..... small but incredibly potent .... tell your people to stop trying to be like cappuccinos and try to be more like espressos.” I do just wonder if there is a highly important and highly significant suggestion here. One of the moans of the church in general today is that we are too small and too unable to be effective. I do just wonder if a large part of our problem is that we are trying to do all of God’s work and ignoring the body image idea of each to his or her own and each contributing to the whole. Small certainly can be potent.