Assembly considers expectations of ministry

On Sunday afternoon, the Revd Prof Neil Messer, convenor of the United Reformed Church education and learning committee, moved Resolution 13, which concerned 21st-century expectations for ministry. After lengthy discussion, the resolution was passed by consensus, noting disagreement.

Giving background to Resolution 13, Prof Messer explained that the expectations for Ministers of Word and Sacraments used since 2012 have no formal status, unlike the benchmarks for church related community work (CRCW) ministry.

He argued that Resolution 13 seeks to bring consistency, so that formal papers are in place relating to expectations for both ministries. This will be used to guide and inform the work of those selecting and training people for ministry.

Prof Messer welcomed feedback about the working document on expectations, suggesting that comments be sent to Fiona Thomas, Secretary for Education and Learning, by the end of August. Comments will then be considered as part of the work to be done on expectations for Ministers of Word and Sacraments.

During the discussion about Resolution 13, many points were raised; some questioned whether the work should be referred back to Assembly rather than Mission Council whilst other comments called for flexibility within the expectations document, with the work needing to take account of the changing nature of ministry. After lengthy discussion, the resolution was passed by consensus, noting disagreement.