The Rev Richard Mortimer has been appointed to be deputy general secretary of the United Reformed Church. He moves from a role in guiding the development of the Church’s links with other Christian traditions, as secretary for ecumenical relations.
Mr Mortimer's appointment was approved at the Church’s Mission Council, meeting on Tuesday 2 December 2008.
Through a series of unions over the past 35 years, the United Reformed Church has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists and members of the Churches of Christ. One hundred thousand people make up 1,600 congregations, with more than 700 ministers, paid and unpaid.
Richard Mortimer was ordained in 1979. He was a local minister in Newcastle, Ipswich and the Norwich area, before being appointed to a national role in 2003. His wife, Jane, is a United Reformed Church minister in Chelmsford. Their son, Tim is studying at Leeds university.
As well as being involved in how the United Reformed Church relates to other Churches, he has also had responsibility for doctrine, prayer and worship. He is regarded within the United Reformed Church as a theologian, although he describes himself as a “passionate amateur” alongside others he considers to be of greater stature. Before entering the ministry he worked as a translator and teacher of english as a foreign language, helping him develop listening skills, which he believes, will be invaluable in his new role.
He said: “In the United Reformed Church, we come from roots which asked ‘Where is God? What is God doing? How can we join in?’ I look forward to working alongside the whole Church to discern our answer to these questions today”.
Richard Mortimer, who is aged 54, will work with the Rev Roberta Rominger, appointed general secretary earlier this year. He takes up his new role early in the New Year.
Although one of the smaller mainstream denominations in Britain, the United Reformed Church "seeks to play a dynamic and challenging part in the country’s Christian life. It seeks to work with Christians of all traditions, believing that all God’s people should be one. It is committed to theological and cultural diversity."
Worldwide, some 70 million Christians are members of the Reformed family of churches, the largest Protestant tradition. They call themselves Reformed because their churches began to emerge with European reformation movements in the sixteenth century.