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Reform Magazine | May 23, 2024

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Supervision is a freedom - Reform Magazine

Supervision is a freedom

Lucy Berry celebrates the United Reformed Church’s new supervision for every minister

In July 2020 the United Reformed Church made a decision that would send ripples through the whole denomination. It stated that all active URC ministers would be expected to have supervision; and that every single one of us must find a supervisor within three years. ‘Active ministers’ includes all those in pastoral charge, retired ministers still bearing responsibilities, Church-Related Community Workers, special category and pioneer ministers, and all of the ministers working within predominantly non-pastoral jobs in our colleges, in synods and in Church House. By the end of June 2023, we will all have begun a big something. Does that sound vague? I’ll come back to that ‘something’ later.

I must admit, it felt counter-cultural being told what to do! Our denomination isn’t structured to be either authoritarian or unilateral. The URC has few hard-and-fast rules, except recently, thank God, around safeguarding. We tend to discern the word of God in what is happening around us; trying to find out, case by case, what God needs us to do. Most of our local and national wrangles tend to revolve around our differing ideas about what God needs and wants us to do about being a swiftly shrinking denomination. But there are very few edicts.

That has to be good. One size has never fitted all in the URC. Churches and synods are all hugely different from each other, and that has never been altered. After all, we were born of several traditions, mingled, though rarely diluted, and jogging along. We believe in – and are primed for – diversity of all kinds; even though we haven’t really got the hang of doing diversity yet…

Lucy Berry is a founding trustee of the Open Table Network charity and mum in a mixed-heritage family. You can contact her at


This is an extract from an article published in the December 2022 / January 2023 edition of Reform

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