So here we are, the United Reformed Church!
Only we were never meant to reach this milestone. The great hope in creating the URC was that churches would learn how to do the process, how to have the conversations, so the other churches could join in in a great snowball effect. What we actually learnt was that it was really difficult, immensely time-consuming, and costly in people, in legal fees and so on. The Churches of Christ joined the URC, and some Scottish Congregationalists… and then the momentum stopped.
But God’s work is never wasted. We learnt, through our conversations, how to listen to other churches. How to hear and value what they were bringing. We learnt how to work together in local plans and projects, and indeed with people of other faiths. We learnt, and we are still learning, how to welcome people who are different from ourselves.
I love the URC. It was the church I found when I was coming back to faith, where I was made so welcome, where people were not giving easy answers but were engaging with my questions from their real, lived experience. I love the fact that it is a learning church, it’s a church concerned with justice and peace and increasingly with climate justice.
We are not the church we thought we were setting out to be. We are sad that the Christian church is still divided; we mourn the churches that have closed, the fellow pilgrims who have died, the projects and programmes that seem to have failed. But we celebrate the life we have and all that we have to offer. And we celebrate God who is still faithful, and still leads us on.
Revd Sue McCoan