The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference are elected at Conference, and take up their year of office 12 months later. This ensures a degree of continuity with the previous year’s officers. The President is always a presbyter (ordained minister) and the Vice President is always either a lay person or a deacon (who is also an ordained minister….but let’s not complicate things!).
This year’s President, Rev'd. Steve Wild, became a Christian at the age of 14 during a Cliff College Mission – later in life he worked at Cliff for four years as a tutor and director of evangelism. He has worked in circuit ministry, held posts as an evangelism enabler, and worked part-time for Westcountry TV, presenting programmes about Christianity. In 2008 he became Chair of the Cornwall District – you may have seen him in an episode of the BBC’s “An Island Parish”.
Steve has a real heart for bringing people to know Jesus Christ for themselves. In his inaugural speech to Conference, he urged every Methodist church to “ ... take God seriously ... to put mission on the agenda ... to make one new member this year.” (A speaker at our District Synod in September described that as a ‘very modest aim’ – what are we going to do about it?!)
Dr Jill Barber, the Vice President, is the wife of our own District Chair, Rev Peter Barber. She grew up in Kent and studied English and Librarianship at Aberystwyth University, where she met Peter. She has worked as a children’s librarian, a history teacher and an archivist. Since 2011 she has been Project Director at Englesea Brook Museum of Primitive Methodism, near Crewe (only small, but well worth a visit if you haven’t been). Her professional experience has shown her the importance of ‘telling our stories’ as a way of connecting with those outside the church.
Speaking to Conference, Jill suggested that we need to re-discover as a Church what she called the ‘four Ps’ – Prophecy, Prayer, Passion and Protest - so that we can use our voice to speak out and make a difference. Certainly Jill’s passion for issues of justice shines out through her lively, bubbly personality. She was the lead signatory in a statement from the non-Conformist Churches in August about the refugee situation in Calais.
Jill will be the guest preacher at a Chester and Delamere Forest Circuit service at Rowton on Sunday October 18th at 6.30pm. Why not join friends from across the Circuit on this occasion – Jill is well worth hearing.
Written by the Minister & Members