Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Convocation of the Methodist Diaconal Order

One of David’s first tasks, as deacons gathered for their annual Convocation at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, was to preside at the first Diaconal Committee, which replaced the Diaconal Session of the Conference. It was attended by those deacons who would be members of the Conference in Portsmouth, and amongst the business both David and I were able to reflect on some of the good experiences of diaconal work or future possibilities that we had encountered during the last few months.

Around 230 deacons gathered for the 4 days of Convocation. It was an opportunity for all present to renew friendships and laughter constantly filled the hall and meeting rooms.

The opening worship included a moving act of remembrance of those deacons who had died since they last met, a candle being lit for each person in turn.

It also provided an opportunity to warmly greet those who were ordained at the 2009 Methodist Conference in Wolverhampton. It was as if the lighted candles were being passed from one generation to another.

Later we also welcomed those new to Convocation as well as giving permission to a smaller number to “sit down”.

I spoke on Monday evening about how individuals and churches across the connexion were responding to God’s call to them and developing a pattern of ministry that was fit for the future.

On Tuesday morning David spoke about the sensitive issues of sexual abuse and talked about his experiences producing the report “Tracing Rainbows”. In the afternoon I led one of a number of workshops that together provided a rich variety of opportunities to nourish the community.

It was a delight to be part of Convocation and we left inspired by the Diaconal Order’s life, joy, humility and loving care for each other and those they are called to serve.

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