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.
On 15 May 2013, Mr John Ellis was inducted as lay moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC). The induction service was held at the end of the May meeting of Mission Council, the URC’s executive body, and Mr Ellis succeeds Mrs Val Morrison, who has served as lay moderator since July 2010. Mr Ellis will serve as moderator until July 2016.
The United Reformed Church is unusual in having two moderators – one lay and one ministerial, who serve alongside each other. Mr Ellis joins the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, who was inducted at the denomination’s General Assembly in July 2012.
Mr Ellis, who has been the URC’s treasurer since 2007 can trace his nonconformist Christian roots back to his great-grandfather who was converted to Christianity as a teenager in the 1860s, by a Congregational minister in Exeter. From that point his family was involved in the Congregational Church, which became part of the United Reformed Church in 1972. He has held leadership roles in churches in Kent since 1980.
Until 2012 Mr Ellis worked for the Methodist Church as secretary for connexional team operations, a role that involved leading the central staff team and overseeing policy development proposals, staffing and management, as well as promoting collaboration with the Methodist districts. Earlier in his career he worked for the Bank of England for 20 years, holding a variety of posts including research on international debt issues, co-coordinating the Bank's network of regional agents and serving as the Governor's business ethics adviser. Mr Ellis was also a member of the Council for World Mission's Investment Committee and has extensive experience of ethical investment campaigning.
Commenting on his new role, John Ellis said: "I am honoured and humbled that the General Assembly chose to elect me. The moderator of the General Assembly is a key leader and representative for the whole United Reformed Church in all its diversity. I’m looking forward to both the privileges and challenges of the role. As well as helping the Church shape its internal life for its setting in a dynamic contemprorary society, I’m particularly keen to use some of my professional background in the role, participating in discussions about, for example, the wider economy and what the Christian tradition has to contribute to addressing its dilemmas.”
Photo shows Mr John Ellis just after signing the General Assembly Bible during his induction service on 15 May. ©United Reformed Church/Chris Andrews 2013.
The spring meeting of the United Reformed Church’s Mission Council will be held at High Leigh Conference Centre between 13 and 15 May, opening at 2pm on Monday 13 May.
Agenda items include an exploration of possible futures for the Church, the induction of John Ellis as moderator of General Assembly and discussions about the structure and staffing of United Reformed Church House. Mission Council papers are available online.