Two men, both well known in URC circles, have been chosen as moderators-elect of the General Assembly. Mr Lawrence Moore, director of the Windermere Centre, and the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, the URC’s secretary for racial justice and multicultural ministry, will take up the mantle of moderator of General Assembly at the General Assembly of 2012 and each promise to bring something fresh and different to the denomination.
Dr Jagessar said he was “honoured and moved by the confidence and generosity shown” in electing him to serve as the moderator of General Assembly, adding: “The Divine never ceases to spring a surprise and at times I often think that God works in positively mischievous ways. As a diasporan Caribbean of multiple heritages and one whose life has been shaped and re-shaped in that context and beyond, much of what I will bring to this new ministry, will reflect the Calypso flavour, passion, rhythm and humour of an area that I believe offers powerful insights for our intercultural life together.”
Mr Moore added “I’m deeply honoured that Assembly has seen fit to elect me as one of the two moderators for 2012-2014, and I’m very excited indeed to be sharing this particular adventure with Michael. I have a real sense of excitement about being part of the Church at this particular point in history.”
He continues, “Being elected moderator is both terrifying and wonderfully exciting. I’m overwhelmed by the honour and terrified by the responsibility. I can only promise to carry out the role as faithfully and responsibly as I am able to, under God’s good grace. In my two years as moderator I hope I’ll be able to encourage people in their faith, to encourage them in a deep following of Jesus Christ; ‘to see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly day by day.’ I want people to be as passionate in their spirituality as they are in their commitment to a transformed world; as comfortable sharing their faith as they are campaigning for justice.”
Talking of his vision for his time as moderator, Dr Jagessar says: “There is a wonderful Ethiopian proverb that says: ‘A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn.’ Perhaps this is an appropriate parable for us? We need to ignite the whole church as a community characterised by adundance and generosity around Jesus - bread-breaking, bread-sharing - with his invitation to join the party. We need to re-learn that his banquet-table is: a space of compassion, not condemnation; a space of obedience, not control or observance; a relational space, not a self-righteous one; a space of original blessing, not original sin and a space where table is presence rather than proof.”
A total of five people were nominated: two ministers - the Rev Lesley Charlton and the Rev Michael Jagessar and three elders - Mrs Hilary Miles, Mrs Claudette Elaine Binns and Mr Lawrence Moore. The Rev James Breslin, clerk of General Assembly, quipped as the ballot papers were distributed, “the honour lies in the nomination, not in the winning!”