Cancellation of General Assembly 2020
The URC General Secretary Revd John Proctor has made the following announcement:
Following much careful work by the Officers of Assembly, our planned meeting in Assembly is cancelled.
However, some of what we would expect of General Assembly will happen, as follows:
* A full Book of Reports has been prepared, and it is presently being proof-read, to be printed in a week or so’s time. A lot of important work has gone forward in the last two years: we are keen to hear about it; committees want to account to the Church for what they have done; the Church needs a good record of its actions and commitments. Most people on the Roll of Assembly have already told us whether they will be content with electronic copy of the Book of Reports, or need hard copy.
The default is electronic, so if people need hard copy and have not told us, the contact point is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Officers of Assembly intend to convene Mission Council, probably by Zoom, for about three hours’ business on Friday 10 July. This will allow a selection of the Assembly’s business to be fulfilled by a reasonably wide and representative forum of the Church. Why Mission Council and not the whole Assembly? Well, we have not yet tried a virtual meeting of a central council of the Church, and because Mission Council is smaller, we think the first-time technical issues are more likely to be manageable. It is open to a Synod to appoint any three people, plus the Moderator to attend; these could be, but do not need to be, those who were due to come to Mission Council in March. We hope that this meeting will be reasonably interactive, with opportunity to feel fully involved.
- Officers also expect to arrange a short online meeting of Assembly on the morning of Saturday 11 July. This will be primarily an act of worship, to induct the new Assembly Moderators and General Secretary into office. The arrangement will not be very interactive: about a dozen people will be on screen, and a great many more will be able to tune in, as it were from the pew. However, it will be an important legal marker, because it will enable us to renew the full Roll of Assembly.
- The Roll of Assembly – the group of people nominated by Synods etc, and entitled to attend – will be confirmed during this short meeting, and will remain the governing body of the Church for the next twelve months. If we need to reconvene Assembly during that time (which is not planned, yet nothing is really predictable at the moment), we shall know whom to invite. So if any Synods or other groups have not yet given us a full list of names, please contact email@example.com. The cut-off point for making changes is 12 noon on Saturday 27 June.
- We advised you last month that people should not commit themselves to travel costs. However, if anyone was already committed to travel arrangements before then, and now cannot recover the cost, please let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org
All of the above is both far short of what we originally wanted, and a positive outcome of the efforts of many people. Among the Church’s staff and volunteers, I would mention particularly Ann Barton, Helen Munt, Samantha Bircham, Andy Jackson, Sara Foyle, James Breslin, Michael Davies and Margaret Marshall, as the tip of an iceberg of hard work, which is by no means entirely wasted. We thank them warmly, and I look forward to seeing many of you on screen in July. Details about timing, agenda and login will be given nearer the time.