Church House staff gathered over lunch to say a fond farewell to the Revd Richard Mortimer, who is leaving Church House after ten years, the last four and a half of which have been as deputy general secretary; immediately prior to that he worked as the URC’s secretary for ecumenical relations.
The lunch party was filled with tributes to Richard – songs, poems and a speech all highlighting (amongst other things) his love of cricket, his sincerity, wisdom and great listening skills. The Revd Roberta Rominger general secretary, made a short speech full of warmth and affection, and in his response Richard said: “It has been a privilege to work here for ten years. And thank you for the sense of community, the fellowship, support and fun you have given me along the way.” Richard went on to thank everyone for his presents (including a ticket to the Yorkshire County Final at Lords) and “wonderful” cricket cake,
Richard is now on sabbatical. The gap he leaves at Church House will be partly filled by the Revd David Grosch-Miller, who will be taking up the temporary post of interim assistant general secretary on 1 July.
Photo shows: Richard opening his card from Church House staff ©Chris Andrews/URC 2013 (more photos at https://www.facebook.com/urcmedia
The Peace & Reconciliation Centre, based at Crookham United Reformed Church, Northumberland – and part of the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum which commemorates the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden – had its official opening on 8 May, with Mrs Val Morrison, then moderator of the United Reformed Church doing the honours and cutting the ribbon.
The newly created Peace Garden, designed by Dougie James Garden Landscaping of Galashiels, reflects themes of peace and reconciliation, featuring dark spiky plants in the conflict zone as a contrast to the rich colours and water of the reconciliation area.
Steering group member the Revd David Herbert said: “I would like to thank all the steering group members and volunteers who have worked so hard on the openin, and I hope visitors will enjoy the garden and timeline. Going forward, the Centre will also host a speaker programme and a series of music and arts events all focused on finding peace and reconciliation in today’s world.”
Where the Spirit is, there God is, Christ is, Love is.
Where the Spirit is not, there God is not, Christ is not, Love is not.
Where the Spirit is, there people grow,
lives develop, Love thrives.
Where the Spirit is not, there people shrink,
lives collapse, Love dies.
Where the Spirit is, there are meetings and beginnings.
Where the Spirit is not, there are partings and endings.
Where the Spirit is, there is the Word.
Andrew Bradstock (pictured) has been appointed as the new secretary for church and society on a fixed term contract until 31st August 2015. Andrew is well-known within the URC; he held the same post between 2000 and 2005, although its remit has changed considerably in the intervening years.
Dr Bradstock is currently the Howard Paterson professor of theology and public issues at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, where he teaches and initiates research in public theology. He is also director of the University’s centre for theology and public issues, which hosts national forums on current issues and contributes to public thinking from a theological perspective.
Dr Bradstock said: "I am delighted to be returning to the United Reformed Church, working with Baptist and Methodist colleagues in the Joint Public Issues Team. The team is a highly effective voice for the churches in the public square, and I hope I can make a meaningful contribution to its work on behalf of the URC."
He takes up this post in September 2013.