Sunday, 10 July 2011

Reflections on The Methodist Conference

What a great privilege it was to be able to share in the chairing of Conference! I have really appreciated it, and there has been such a wonderful atmosphere for much of the time. We were led so helpfully in worship first thing each business morning, and in Bible Study on Colossians 1 15-20 after lunch each day. Worship and Bible study set a really good tone for the business, and members of Conference responded well with thoughtful contributions to the debates. There was also plenty of humour and we laughed a lot! Ending the day with pastoral conversation and prayer seemed to be helpful to many representatives.

We had some important business to do, and got off to a good start with the General Secretary’s Report which has inspired many of us. You can watch again this and all other reports on the Methodist Conference website

The business was interspersed with hymns and songs both ancient and modern, ably led by our resident worship band. We were introduced to many from ‘Singing the Faith’ which will be published before too long.

We said thank you and farewell to the Assistant Secretary of Conference, Revd. Ken Howcroft, who has been a rock to a succession of Presidents and Vice-Presidents struggling to keep to procedure from time to time! His next appointment is in Rome, and he was presented with a ‘Teach yourself Italian’ manual. (NB - should be easy after New Testament Greek)

Somehow, just when Leo and I were beginning to feel at home, we were singing ‘Captain of Israel’s host’ (our traditional final hymn) and it was all over –until we meet in Plymouth in 2012

Thank you to the many people who worked hard every day to oil the wheels of the Conference machine – especially to those who were up till the early hours of the morning getting our paperwork ready each day.

Now we need to take our decisions back to our circuits and churches for prayer and action!

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