Rev Dr David Pickering Inducted as Synod Moderator
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On Saturday 16 July 2016 in Giffnock United Reformed Church, Revd Dr David Pickering was inducted as the Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland. He is the third incumbent in this post, following in the footsteps of Revd John Arthur (2000-2005) and Revd John Lloyd Humphreys (2005-2016).
Mr Alan Yates, Moderator-Elder ot the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, presided and was assisted by Revd Jan Adamson, Synod Field Officer for Local Mission and Development, and Dr Jim Merrilees, Synod Clerk. Revd Dr Rosalind Selby, Principal of Northern College, was the preacher.
Having been welcomed at the church door by our piper, Mr John Paton of Rutherglen URC, a congregation of over 250 people, including ministers and representatives of Synod churches, representatives of Scottish Churches, including partners in EMU and ACTS, and church agencies (ACTS, Christian Aid, Eco-Congregation Scotland, the Iona Community, the Scottish Bible Society and Scottish Churches Housing Action) attended the service. Revd Jacky Embrey, Moderator of Mersey Synod represented the URC Synod Moderators, while Shabir Beg of the Muslim Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society represented Interfaith Scotland as well as his own organisation. 16 members of David’s family were present, as were 41 people from the church from which he joins us – St Andrew’s Roundhay URC in Leeds.
Several members of Synod and guests participated in the service, but perhaps worthy of mention are the Synod Singers (Mr Stephen Alexander, Revd Fiona Bennett and Revd Caro Smyth) who sang I will always bless the Lord, a version of Psalm 34 by John Bell, to the tune Talla Criosdh, and the Praise Band (Mr Drummond McNicol, Mr Karl Macrae, Revd Jake Tatton and Revd William Young). Intercessory prayers were led by representatives from each of the Synod links.
In the story of his journey to the post, David spoke of his excitement by the Synod’s aspirations to be a welcoming and inclusive group of churches, who prioritized justice, peace and care of God’s creation, promoted Christian unity and interfaith relationships, and be communities where each person can grow in faith. He said, “I feel humbled, apprehensive and excited to stand before you, but do so with the conviction that God will accompany and guide us as we journey on into a new chapter in the Synod’s life to be a community from which the light and love of Christ may radiate around the nation.”
In her sermon, Revd Dr Rosalind Selby highlighted the challenges and opportunities for the National Synod of Scotland and its new Moderator and suggested what they might expect of each other and, following the Declaration of Induction, David was greeted by all representative guests, during which time he and his wife, Janet, were presented with gifts by officers of the Synod. David was then invited to sign the Synod Bible – the Presidents’ Bible of the former Congregational Union of Scotland, updated to reflect the history of the United Reformed Church up to the Unification of CUS and the URC in the UK in April 2000 – thus providing continuity with the past and looking forward to our future.
During the customary tea and refreshments provided by members of the Giffnock Church, representatives and guests were able to meet with David informally, bringing to a conclusion a truly memorable occasion.