Monthly Archives: July 2007

The Presidency Blogs

So Ruby and Martyn now have an active blog and so far Ruby is racing into an early lead with the first post: The President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference: The Carnival, sorry Conference, is over, what is more it is a good one. I seem to remember that all I managed for my first post was a simple "Hello World".

For any non Methodist readers Ruby Beech is the Vice President of the Methodist Church in Great Britain for the next 12 months and Martyn Atkins is the President.

Looking forward to hearing more from them both.

Required Harry Potter post

Like everyone else we have now seen the new Harry Potter film. I stayed awake this time which is an improvement over all the other Harry Potter films. Jane wants an excuse to go and see it again, nobody else in the family was very excited about it. [that is a bit unfair, the boys were rather more positive than that]

So just on the positive side of lukewarm I guess. Still nice to go out as a family.

Methodist Conference Summary

Here is a set of links to everything I have written about the 2007 Methodist Conference in Blackpool:

There are many things that I have not mentioned. Not sure if I will get around to them (possibly about Tues Evening on Christian Muslim Encounters by the Bishop of Bolton – excellent talk). Probably not about the Northampton District meal out on Wednesday evening (so Glayne your secret is safe!), a great bunch of people to go and socialise with, much better than the Southampton District who were rather rowdy on the other side of the restaurant ;-)

If you are interested in the "proper" reports etc please do not rely on anything I have written, go to the proper conference site where there is a lot more information than you will need.

Methodist Conference closing & home

Today being Thursday the 2007 Methodist Conference finished at about 1pm, I made it home (terrible traffic) by 6:30pm.

Today was another very quickfire day, lots of resolutions coming up, some debating and done quick so that people were literally running to the podium. There is a fair bit of legal and historical stuff that is done on the last day but all that and all the business still come as a lower priority than worship, prayer and listening to the Spirit.

So today the morning worship was by representatives of the Youth Conference who (as the Youth Conference usually is) were challenging, thoughtful and with much spiritual depth.

We also ended with worship which included giving lighted candles to each of the 34 districts, all the overseas Methodist conferences and all the ecumenical partners for them to take the light home to spread.

We watched a very good & topical video about next years conference at Scarborough (new words to the folk song "Are you going to Scarborough fair"). There was also one spoof notice of motion that was very well done complete with supporting speeches (ask someone who was there about the donkeys – Notice Of Motion 2 in this pdf), Ruby (Vice President) was in the chair and it got to the point where she was starting to look worried that conference might actually vote on the motion (someone saved her by suggesting that the nomination be "not put" which conference agreed to).

Martyn and Ruby have already proved that their presidency is going to be visionary, spirit focused and highly competent (oh yes and a lot on evangelism, whoo hoo). Both their addresses were good (Martyns was particularly so), their presidency of conference confident, affirming and encouraging (Ruby was especially good in some very tricky debates). It was noticeable how much in tune they were with each other. That meant that at the drop of a hat they could each turn to the other and ask for a time of prayer confident that the other would be ready with prayer and/or worship that was very relevant to where conference was at and done so that the whole of nthe business felt encompassed in prayer. I have no idea where their schedule will take them, but if you get a chance go and hear either of them. Next year we have Stephen Poxon and David Walton, both were active at this years conference and both were impressive. With Graham and Dudley from last year we have a great presidency compliment (as I understand it "The Presidency includes the previous, current and designate Presidents and Vice Presidents).

Altogether a wonderful experience, I can see why it is easy to get addicted to conference, however, even more than that I am looking forward to getting back to "real" work cos God has great things planned for us and I want to be part of them.

Methodist Conference That is the way to do it

Thursday morning and we have already had two examples of how the Methodist Conference can be at it’s best.

First our General Secretary set a good example by making a personal statement in which he explained how he had spent time on Tuesday with the representatives of the Irish Methodist Conference rebuilding the relationship after comments he had made on Monday which were not clear/misunderstood. He apologised to conference and both he and a representative of the Irish Conference declared their support for each other. This is how it should be, my thanks to both David Deeks and the Irish Conference for their leadership.

Secondly, we had some unfinished business from yesterday relating to proposals for a new hymn book. Yesterday in session concerns were raised about whether there was enough representation of young people and emerging church in the committee to select the hymns & songs for inclusion. So it was good news this morning to find in the order paper that some people have been very busy overnight. Now we have details on the experience of the existing members and details about 4 exciting new members (representing fresh expressions and younger members all with great qualifications to be involved in this) plus a commitment to appoint a member of the youth conference. Conference was glad to accept the resolution to appoint this expanded committee. Thanks to all those who were open to change and who have worked to make it happen.

Methodist Conference Grace breaks out

We have just finished the mega debate on Senior Leadership and Team Focus. I think we should rename the afternoon to "Amazing Grace". Grace seems to have broken out all over the Methodist Church and we are all sitting here giving thanks for God at work.

It seems that splitting the debate between Monday and Wednesday has allowed a huge amount of discussion to take place in the background. While I am delighted that has taken place,it does highlight that the process of consultation was flawed. Consultation cannot be judged by volume of paper nor by elapsed time but the indications of listening and responding.

So my view is that we can offer thanks to God and prepare ourselves to hold on tight to him for the exciting ride ahead and resolve to learn lessons

Methodist Conference Wednesday afternoon

This afternoon follows a busy morning that benefited hugely from being surrounded by our communion service. The 2nd part of the communion service was wonderful, a fantastic liturgy and singing. I have come away with a roll made and baked at conference which I hope to freeze and keep for communion on Sunday morning in Thrapston.

A of of detailed business was passed, some is very significant in attempting to ensure that our structure properly supports Lay Workers, it was encouraging to see how people are concerned to get the details right, again amazing that we are confident enough in the Holy Spirit at work throughout the Church that we are willing and able to do this in an entirely open way – trusting God all the way.

At this moment we are signing a memorandum of understanding (at least I think that is what it is called) between the Methodist Church in Korea and us in Great Britain. Seems to be a pretty big deal which is good news for the kingdom.

Next we have the biggest session of the week as we consider Senior Leadership and Team Focus. I am sure this is going to be very complicated so don’t look here for an authoritative view :-) Plus there is a lot of paper to track if I am going to understand anything at all.

Methodist Conference Powerful Communion

Today (Wednesday) we are having a rather special split communion. The imagery is very powerful. In the first part of communion led by Somewhere Else, which is a wonderful ministry of Rev Dr Barbara Glasson, during that we heard some dramatised presentation of gospel stories (particularly the feeding of the 5,000). While that was happening the conference leadership from the platform (President, Vice President, Assistant Secretary etc) made the bread (right in front of us on the platform) that we will use later in the continuation of communion (and what a lovely idea to wrap the whole of this mornings business in the context of communion).

I love symbolism of our leadership visibly serving us by preparing the bread for our communion in front of us. The liturgy fitted wonderfully with what was happening.

A very moving time. My thanks to all those creative people who came up with this for us today.