Reporting – July 2017
The annual Methodist Conference met last week in Birmingham. It was a joy, with a few others from our Circuit, to serve as a Steward at Conference. The Conference, which is our covering body is made up of 306 people, a mix of ministers and people from churches from the length and breadth of the Connexion. In addition representatives from other denominations and the Methodists from the World Church join in the discussions at Conference.
The proceedings are chaired by the President and Vice President – the Rev’d Loraine Mellor and Jill Baker. Lorraine, who is the Chair of the Nottingham and Derby District says as she begins her presidential year: “I want to encourage and enable the Church to put God back on the agenda in our communities and enthuse people to share the Good News. The Church has reached a tipping point, the time has come for us to take some risks in our mission and in our discipleship in order to help us grow.”. Jill who was a Mission Partner in the Caribbean and President of MWiB from 2011-2013 says: “I am thankful to the Methodist family for the prayer and for the support it offers in hard times. I am committed to working locally and connexionally for an inclusive, just, compassionate and creative Church.”. They will be travelling the Connexion and visiting Mission Partners overseas through the coming year.
The daily worship at Conference is inspiring and includes, on the Sunday, the ordination of the Presbyters and Deacons. Our various institutions such a MHA, Action for Children, 3Generate and Methodist Schools make annual reports to Conference. Memorials sent in by Circuits and Districts are discussed. Proposed changes to policy and practices are presented, debated and decided upon. Two of the main subjects for consideration this year was setting up a system of supervision for ministers and how to respond as a church to a declining membership. It is also at Conference that ministers on the move have their new appointments ratified and the President and Vice President for 2018-19 are elected. The Rev’d Michaela Youngson and Bala Gnanapragasam will serve in these roles next year. Michaela is Chair of the London District. You may have heard her on BBC Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show’s ‘Pause for Thought’ where she is a regular contributor. Bala, who originally from Sri Lanka, serves on the board of Christian Aid and MHA and is a trustee of the London HIV/Aids Chaplaincy. He was the first Synod Secretary of the London District.
Conference will be back in our District in three years. I would encourage you to offer to Steward or attach and watch from the public gallery.