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Val Morrison and Clare Downing

On Saturday 8 January the Revd Clare Downing was formally inducted as moderator of the Wessex Synod of the United Reformed Church. 

As synod moderator, Ms Downing will lead Wessex Synod, giving strategic direction and offering care and support to the synod’s 60 URC ministers and 138 URC churches.

Talking of her appointment, Clare says: “I’m really looking forward, with some trepidation, to the joys and challenges of my new role in Wessex.  For me, ministry is always about people and I’m looking forward to sharing in and developing the mission of the synod and to the opportunity to share my life and story with the lives and stories of the people of Wessex.”

She adds: “I bring with me broad shoulders and a well developed sense of humour. Of course, I take faith seriously, but I have learnt that the ability to laugh at myself is just as essential as other more overtly ‘spiritual’ characteristics!”

Peter Pay, Wessex Synod Clerk, concludes: “We are all delighted that Clare has been appointed as our new synod moderator. I have no doubt that she brings with her exactly the right combination of deep love for God, proven leadership skills and a warm and engaging personality, and I look forward to working with her over the coming months and years,”

Clare trained at the South East Institute for Theological Education and Westminster College, was ordained minister in 1998 and served at Braunstone & Evington Road, Leicester between 1998 and 2007. Immediately prior to this appointment she worked as special category minister at St Philip’s Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi Faith Society in Leicester, and before training for ordination was a qualified social worker.

Wessex Synod covers a swathe of central southern England, taking in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, together with parts of Buckinghamshire, Dorset and Surrey and Ms Downing’s appointment represents something of a homecoming for her; she was born in Oxford and spent her early years in Wallingford in Berkshire and Bournemouth.

Clare is married to John, also a URC minister, and they have two adult sons.

On Sunday 9 January Clare appeared on the Mary Green Show on BBC Radio Berkshire, listen to the interview here, it starts at 1.35:    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00cvwhd/Mary_Green_09_01_2011/

Photo caption: Mrs Val Morrison, moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, with the Revd Clare Downing (pictured right) at her induction service on Saturday 8 January