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Methodist Conference: Southport 2015

I was privileged to be able to join in part of Methodist conference this year for the first time in 15 years. Unfortunately I wasn't around for the exciting discussion about the Constitution and the budget! What I did see was the inauguration of our new President, Steve Wild and Vice President, Jill Barber.

Steve is known best for his strong evangelical views and his sense of humour.

He candidated for the ministry from Rochdale in our District and tells how he was particularly inspired by a rally at the Victoria Hall Bolton. He gave a thought-provoking sermon about how Mission is at the heart of all we do; he challenged every church in Methodism to get at least one new person to Christ in the next year - although our mission at The Triangle is to get more!

Jill Barber is known for her literary skills and her Methodist historical interest; she is curator at Englesea Brook Museum of Primitive Methodism. She advised us to follow the 4 P's:

  • Prayer - in the 19th century there were people whose job was to pray for up to 6 hours a day, emphasizing the belief in prayer.
  • Passion - we need to be enthusiastic and committed to what we do.
  • Prophesy - tell what we know to be true and …
  • Protest - for the sake of those who need our voice we should political. People who are poor or oppressed: those with mental illness, reduced benefits, those dependent on using food banks all need our vocal support.

We also welcomed overseas Methodist partners, underlining that we are a world church and ecumenical visitors with whom we share in mission.

The service on Sunday morning included the “Reception into Full Connexion” of those ministers being ordained in the afternoon. It was a very uplifting service with a fantastic band leading a mixture on new and older songs from Singing the Faith. The photograph shows a sketch about the call of Samuel which was acted out by giant puppets; perhaps Hilary and Les could borrow the costumes!

The ordination service for my friend Helen in the afternoon was very moving with a message about the importance of us ordinary people. Incidentally, her Dad, Rev Brian Jones, took services on this very site in the 80s.

We passionately pray that the prophesies from Methodist conference will help us protest when needed and help in our mission to those near and far.

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