It has taken a while but this is a continuation of a series. The other parts are 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 1, 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 2 and 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 3.
Item 1 was "Meeting the Living God", item 2 "Theology" and item 3 "Commitment to Equality and Diversity (or Inclusion)". Now we have
4. Methodist Ministry
There are many aspects I love about Methodist Ministry. Here are a few:
- Ministry of all believers. There is almost nothing that any member cannot do providing they are authorised by Conference. For example preaching, baptism, presiding at Holy Communion, marriage, funerals are all open to lay people (within a local Church I think it is only confirmation that has to be done by a minister and that was the result of discussions about union with the CoE in the 1960's).
- Lack of hierarchy. We just don't do hierarchy at all. All people in senior roles return to normal membership when the role ends (eg President, Vice President, Superintendent, Chair of District, Steward, …). Our leaders are not separated from everyone else and this is very very healthy.
- Equality. We expect equality in ministry regardless of ordination, gender and anything else.
- Itinerant Ministers. This supports the ministry of all believers and is a wonderful gift to the Church. It is liberating, exciting and challenging to respond to a call knowing that the Church can and will move you from place to place. Our churches are generous and full of grace in the ways they welcome and respond to the different gifts of their ministers. It gives us the flexibility to respond to mission opportunities rapidly and effectively.
That will do for now. Just to note that I know we do not and have not always lived up to our calling and tradition of ministry. But I love the way we set the bar so high and that we keep on trying.