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Reform Magazine | December 7, 2023

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I remember it well 3

I remember it well 3

Gwen Hall, a member of the Joint Negotiating Committee, looks back to 1972

My husband Richard was the Minister of Emmanuel Congregational Church, Cambridge, in 1969, and I been doing things with the women and students in the church. There had been pressure within Congregationalism to make women realise that they were equal members of the Church, that women’s meetings were responsible for more than making the tea and doing the flowers. We set up some educational meetings that involved getting around a bit. Then when Mrs Rider Smith, the woman member of the union committee, retired, John Huxtable asked me if I would be willing to take her place. It was, of course, a great honour to be involved in that way.

A lot of the work of the committee was about clarification. The Presbyterians didn’t understand church meetings and Congregationalists didn’t understand eldership. But a good deal of the hard work of ironing out misunderstandings had gone on before I joined.

One of the big things we did while I was on the committee was decide on the name for the new Church. That took a bit of time, but we chose it because of the close link with the Reformation and because of its being the first union between two British Churches since the Reformation…

Gwen Hall was a member of the Joint Negotiating Committee that created the United Reformed Church. She was talking to Stephen Tomkins


This is an extract from an article published in the October 2022 edition of Reform

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