Monday, June 22, 2009

Enough already - Presidential leadership to balance our Secretariat please!

One of the main reasons for Conference having Conference elected representatives is that they usually have longer memories than most Conference Delegates.. thank goodness.

How else would Conference know, for example, that the delayed report to Conference concerning the roles of the President and Vice-President will not be a year late when it gets presented in 2010 - it will be almost a decade late.

The time line is as follows:
  • 2000 Conference received a memorial from the South Wales synod calling for a review of the roles of the President and Vice-President to be brought to the Conference of 2001
  • 2001 Interim report pleaded too much to do - promised full report in 2002
  • 2002 Council brings a report to the Conference which argues for a continuing one year presidency 'Because we feel it is important to get the position of the General Secretary right' in spite of the fact that the MAJORITY of those who responded to the consultation wanted a longer term presidency.
  • 2003 First General Secretary appointed for 5 years
  • 2005 Review of Conference report asks whether or not the roles of the President, Vice President and Warden of the Diaconal Order should be longer-term appointments
  • 2007 The attempt in the report on Senior Leadership in the Methodist Church to reduce the role of the president and vice president to a ministry of visitation was overturned by various Notices of Motion from the Conference floor resulting in
  1. the affirmation of the President of Conference as the leader of the whole (Methodist) Church
  2. the establishment of a working party to examine and report to Conference on all aspects of the roles of the President and Vice-President and how they work together and relate to the senior leadership of the Church. This should include
  • how the roles might be further developed;
  • how they might work more closely with the General Secretary of the Church/Secretary of the Conference to present a shared vision and to energise the Church
  • the length of office of each;
  • the title of the Vice-President
So now - in 2009 Surprise, Surprise, we receive a report which says oops.. so sorry - more time needed.


What sort of Church can repeatedly restructure its secretariat and yet repeatedly refuse to respond to the requests of its people to provide longer term SPIRITUAL Leadership?

What are we waiting for ?


I KNOW we have good spiritual people working for our Church - I dont DOUBT their faith or their commitment to God - and to the jobs we have appointed them to do. We have asked them to be secretaries one and all - I for one, want a visionary longer term PRESIDENCY - LAY AND ORDAINED - Chosen by our people to do THAT job.

While we invest all our time and energy into getting our newly configured management right we are hearing less and less about God or about a vision for the future of the Methodist Church AS the Methodist Church. Instead, what we have are calls to commit WHENEVER POSSIBLE to worshipping with other Christians. Duhh? It's possible every Sunday ! Just shut the church.

Before affirming our commitment to our ecumenical partners - how about a conference report that affirms its commitment to the Methodist People and their calling to BE Methodists..?
This means -
  • A Presidency which is empowered to do what Conference has affirmed its desire for it to do - lead the Whole Church
  • A commitment to teach 'those things which are distinctive to Methodists' to the Methodist people before we lose forever this gift of grace from God.
  • A determination to be a MOVEMENT for the reformation of the Church and society
  • A visionary, prophetic church which values Spiritual insight and Discipleship AS MUCH if not more than management and governance in its leadership skills.
  • Above all - a people who are no ashamed or afraid to speak of what God has done, and is doing still in the lives of the people called Methodist.


    1. It won't help you feel any better to know that I served on the Commission on Conference that met between 1993 and 1995 and included discussions and recommendations about the senior roles. Same old, same old.

    2. I absolutely agree with every word you have written here!

    3. Great post! In full agreement.... if only....

    4. institutionalism ... we need a move of God - a movement - not more of the same.