Methodist Conference

In July I attended the Connexional (National) Methodist Conference for the first time – as a District representative.  This year it took place at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, where we were right in the middle of current events as marches, post Brexit events, the publication of the Chilcott Enquiry, and ongoing debates about Refugees were taking place almost within earshot of our venue!

I would love to take you on a virtual tour of the large variety of experiences, issues, discussions and debates but that would take too much space! So below are just a few highlights. If you want to ask me about specifics at any time, please do so.

The overriding lasting memory is of the importance of the “Connexion”. It was enlightening and humbling to listen to the breadth of backgrounds, opinions, and experiences of those who attended and spoke from all corners of the UK. Having served on the District Leadership Team for several years now, and with previous experience on the Circuit Leadership Team, my week at Conference crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s in my awareness of how the whole of the Methodist Connexion works. How great is our God, uniting us all into one body of people, all focussed upon Him. How fortunate we are to be part of a church where we are connected to such a wealth of faith, experience, service and mutual support.

It was a privilege to be led in worship daily by the President, Rev Roger Walton, and the Vice President, Rachel Lampard – who unpacked their joint themes of holiness and justice throughout the week – and to be led through so many hours of business efficiently and with kindness and sensitivity by both leaders.  Also noteworthy was the opportunity to appreciate the roles played by the Secretary of the Methodist Church and other officers throughout the year – often taking on large responsibilities on our behalf. And of course it was wonderful to affirm the reception into connexion of the new presbyters and deacons, and to attend Tracey’s service of ordination at Surbiton on the Sunday afternoon.

A moment of calm within the long hours of business were the lunchtime prayer meetings organised by MET, and after hours (business took place from 10 – 6.45 pm) there were additional meetings and events, which unfortunately were not always practical due to the commuting time back to our rooms in the Daniel Defoe Halls of Residence at Greenwich. But what a commute, entering the city on the Thames clipper each morning then returning by tube trying to find a spot to stand!

Attending Conference was a rich experience – if you get chance to be elected to attend, please don’t hesitate to put up your hand!

Hilary Lyndon