Last Updated on 9 July 2022 by Ann-Marie Nye
The United Reformed Church General Assembly has made history by electing its first woman BAME Moderator-Elect.
The Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson, Minister of Wanstead URC, Trinity Walthamstow URC, Grange Park URC, and Gants Hill URC in the Thames North Synod, 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.
Tessa, a womanist practical theologian and published author, will become the Moderator of the General Assembly from 2023-2024, following the Revd Fiona Bennett who takes on the role from Monday.
Tessa will 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.
“I am the first Black or ethnically-minoritised woman to be nominated to the role of Moderator of General Assembly,” said Dr Henry-Robinson. “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.
Since November 1983, Tessa has been married to the Revd Mark Robinson who serves the URC as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, is Convener of the URC Business Committee and as one of the Chaplains to recently ordained ministers.
Tessa and Mark have four adult children, Jusqu’a-Sonji; Brent; Pearce; and Greer-Aylece; and three grandchildren, Emily, Iman-Simone and Josephine.
Born in March 1963, Tessa’s career spans 30 years which began in the 1990s in Trinidad and Tobago and continued in the UK working with students in primary, secondary and tertiary education, including those for whom English is not their first language.
Tessa began training to be a Minister of the Word and Sacraments in 2014 and was ordained in 2018. She is currently responsible for four URC congregations within east London.
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.