Healing for the Body, Hope for Renewal
On the 12th – 15th March, the European member churches met for their Regional Assembly at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire, UK.
It was a small contingency of 25 people from all European member churches; The United Reformed Church, Congregational Federation, Union of Welsh Independents, Presbyterian Church of Wales and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.
The Regional Assembly provided an opportunity for Member Churches to update CWM on their celebrations and challenges, as well as inform one another on how they have been collaborating with CWM.
We were fortunate to have daily worship conducted by Revd Dr Andrew Williams, who now works with the World Council of Churches but was formerly a member of the CWM staff team. When asked about his experience at the Regional Assembly, he said it ‘felt like I was at home’.
Our guest speaker was the Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, London, UK, Revd Dr Sam Wells. In both his keynote addresses, he challenged participants to re-think their approach to mission and consider ‘being with’ those in need, rather than ‘being for’ or ‘working with’. His approach was rather timely as it introduced a new form of language to our member churches, and the term, ‘being with’ was used frequently throughout the duration of the assembly.
In addition to having these guests, there was also an exposure visit to Sanctus St Mark’s, a support group for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Sanctus St Mark’s is run by the Revd Sally Smith who is a reverend in the Church of England.
The visit to Sanctus allowed member churches to observe how another church is working and provided a time of learning as well as reflection.
The Regional Assembly was also an opportunity for CWM to speak to the European member churches about our plans for the future and provide them with an opportunity to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns. Whilst also highlighting CWM programmes such as Legacies of Slavery, More Able Church and Missional Congregations.
As we begin to think about plans for the future, we look forward to hearing about the other Regional Assembly’s and seeing what God has in store for all our member churches and CWM.