Interim Moderator’s Letter February 2019

Dear Friends,

It is a great pleasure for me to introduce myself – minister of the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam – as your interim moderator during the period of vacancy in which you will looking for your next minister. I know some of you quite well already and look forward very much to getting to know more of you. I also know quite a bit about your church having convened the Presbytery’s Local Church Review of the church a couple of years ago, and I and the team who carried out that review were much encouraged at what is going on here at St Andrew’s. I would think that you will not be short of applicants for the post of minister.

A word about my role as interim moderator. I am really a link between you and Presbytery and will endeavour to represent you to them and them to you. I guess I am really overall responsible for ensuring that ministry in the church continues during the vacancy – and that the church hopefully thrives. You will not see that much of me. I am hoping to attend roughly every alternate Kirk Session meeting and I will be keeping up to speed on all that is going on here, but we have already arranged some ‘ locums’: ministers who will come and stay in the manse for a month or two and carry out the duties of minister so that there is some continuity of ministry. I know that you also have a very gifted Kirk Session, a very talented vacancy committee and many very able and enthusiastic members, so you are well resourced for this vacancy.

Last Sunday the passage that was set by the lectionary that many churches follow and that I preached on was 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. Paul there is addressing a church not unlike St Andrew’s – a church set in a cosmopolitan city and with a very diverse congregation. Paul speaks there of how the Holy Spirit gives gifts to the church: ‘to each is given the manifestation fo the Spirit for the common good.’ In other words, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit everyone has something to offer to the church and to the upbuilding of its fellowship. In my experience vacancies can be a time of ‘manifestation of the Spirit for the common good’ – a time when gifts are discovered and expressed which at other times might be hidden or suppressed. At its best a vacancy can be a time of real enrichment and of people ‘coming out of the woodwork’ and finding expression for their gifts. I pray that is the case for St Andrew’s!

I count it a great honour to be your interim moderator and look forward to being a very small part of the next step in the life of this very vibrant church.

Every blessing,

Lance Stone