DigestNews from the United Reformed Church

MARCH 2024

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The United Reformed Church Assembly Executive – the executive body of the URC General Assembly – met at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick. More detailed reports are published online at urc.org.uk/our-news-stories/latest-news. The papers discussed during this meeting are available online at bit.ly/URCassemblyexec.

Assembly Executive round-up · Church Life Review The deadline for nominations to Church Life Review task groups has been extended until 4 March. The three groups are to look at finance- sharing among synods and General Assembly; relieving churches of their administrative burden; developing lay ministry. The Executive heard that there was widespread support for the idea of the groups to help overstretched local churches, but there had not been enough nominations. This ironically reflects the problem of overstretching that the groups are meant to address. To make nominations or find out more, email recruitment@urc.org.uk.

· Investigations Team The Executive agreed to start using HR professionals in place of volunteers from the Church in investigating disciplinary complaints against ministers. This is expected to speed up the fact-finding part of a process that has been proving burdensome to ministers, complainants and churches.

· New pioneering posts The Executive agreed to create a pioneering post in each synod ‘to intentionally grow new Christian communities’. The Special Category Ministry scheme will be phased out.

· Deficit reduction The URC Treasurer, Alan Yates, gave an update about the work done to tackle the Church’s budget deficit. In November, Assembly Executive agreed to eliminate the deficit over the next five-to-seven years. Alan said this can be accomplished ‘if receipts are kept at 2023 actuals and, at the same time, reductions in expenditure by Assembly Committees and Church House of between 5% and 3% each year are achieved.’

· Resources Committee A new Resources Committee will consolidate the work of five existing

Inside: • Solely solar in Woking • Government money welcomed • NCT commendation for Diss

committees: Finance, Church House Management, Human Resources Advisory Group, Remuneration and Communications.

· Youth ministry The Executive agreed to seek funding for the establishment of a new formal, commissioned ministry for children’s, youth and family work.

· Modern slavery The Executive adopted a statement on Modern Slavery. Synods, local churches and Church House are now encouraged to develop policies which support the statement and to deliver its expectations.

· Assembly-mandated matters A new streamlined process was agreed to deal with ministers who refuse to engage in Assembly- mandated matters such as pastoral supervision and training in safeguarding, safer sacred space and anti-racism.

· Competency process The Executive replaced the capability process for ministers with a new competency process to assist those who fall short of the expected standards.

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