it’s the future

I’m off to a 24 hour meeting of our Synod’s Policy, Planning and Strategy committee.  There seems to be some time in the agenda for some discussion on a theme that has been somewhat recurrent in our team… ‘who are we?’  Not ‘who are we as individuals?’ but ‘Who are we as the United Reformed Church in Scotland?’.

I guess our questioning comes from the sense that the institutional church struggles in a number of ways to either renew itself or to support renewal in places other than our traditional understanding of church.  It could make for some interesting discussion.  I hope so… otherwise it’s going to be a long 24 hours!!!


Well, it turns out my hopes for an interesting discussion were well founded.  PPS in my experience (limited I’ll admit) has been a business meeting.  Tonight it was a discussion forum and that, it seemed, was something that almost everyone valued.

We were left, after good priming presentations from Jan and Jack with some thoughts to ponder:

Firstly that the time for navel gazing is over.  It seems as though we can get caught in an endless cycle of self-discovery, but we don’t actually learn much, or if we do it never quite tranfers into real action.  We were urged to:

  1. engage with congregation where they are at
  2. decide our intentions
  3. act

Then we tackled the broader question of what is distinctive about the United Reformed Church in Scotland? This raises the following questions:

  • Do we have and inquiring and credible theology?
  • Is it a pastorally meaningful theology?
  • Are we being and bulding an open and inclusive community?
  • Do we trust people and their contribution?
  • Do we foster imagination rather than memory?

I think if we can even make a start at saying ‘yes’ to any of these we will be travelling in the right direction.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the discussion tomorrow.