John Murray and Adrian Shaw, the Lords of the Minutes

Adrian Shaw and John Murray at CEC General Assembly. Photo: Albin Hillert/CEC

by Klaus Rieth

Adrian Shaw and John Murray are two truly British gentlemen. Meticulously attired, with a good sense of humour and always friendly, they both personify the style that a Conference of European Churches (CEC) General Assembly urgently needs. Murray and Shaw are the minutes secretaries of the Assembly.

Both are most experienced in their field and have broad international experience. For Murray (71) this is his third assembly after Budapest and Lyon. Before retiring he was an international official at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. On top of that, he is an Anglican priest. Shaw (62) is working at a CEC General Assembly for the first time.

The two of them got on well from the beginning and they draft the minutes to be adopted together.  Shaw is the climate change officer of the Church of Scotland. He has experience in working with the Scottish government. “Veronique Engels, the assistant to the General Secretary, invited me to do this job so nicely,” Shaw says, “that I could not say no.” Murray says that he got cold feet shortly afterwards but now he is thoroughly enjoying it.

Another thing they have in common is their degrees in Geography. Murray studied in Oxford, Shaw in Cambridge.

And they are both impressed by the role played by the youth participants at the Assembly.  The free and serious way in which the young adults contribute is very hopeful, they both agree.

During the General Assembly there are no eight-hour days for the two of them. Most times they need to work into the night. But then, once the work is done, a good glass of whisky awaits them. Scottish of course, they add with a smile.

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