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URC General Assembly makes history with first female BAME Moderator-Elect

by Donna Birrell
Tessa Henry Robinson 2.jpg - Banner image

The United Reformed Church General Assembly has made history by electing its first woman BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Moderator-Elect.

Rev Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson is a practical theologian and published author and also Minister of Wanstead URC, Trinity Walthamstow URC, Grange Park URC, and Gants Hill URC in the Thames North Synod.

She was elected URC General Assembly Moderator-Elect 2022-2023 at its annual meeting, which took place from 8-11 July at The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick.

Rev Tessa, who's 59, will take over as the Moderator of the General Assembly from 2023-2024, following on from Rev Fiona Bennett who takes on the role from Monday.

She'll serve as Moderator-Elect at the same time as Philippa Osei, who made history when the URC Youth Assembly elected her as its first BAME Moderator-Elect in January.

Rev Tessa said :

"I am the first Black or ethnically-minoritised woman to be nominated to the role of Moderator of General Assembly. This is a huge step for the URC."

In her moderatorial year, Tessa said she will "take the opportunity to assist the leadership and the membership to bring the denomination into its true identity, of one that is constantly seeking justice, as one that regards God’s Word in the Bible as the highest authority, and as a place/space where all God’s people are one.

"I will do my very best to listen to what the denomination is saying, to transfer that listening to action and progress and to serve God in this role."

Rev Tessa is married to Rev Mark Robinson who serves the URC as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament, is Convener of the URC Business Committee and is one of the Chaplains to recently ordained ministers.

She is a founding member of Cascades of Grace, formed within the URC through Global and Intercultural Ministries to network and empower Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women in the churches.

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