The reply below, to the following Memorial (M2), was accepted by Methodist Conference 2010.
Working with other denominations to provide ministerial oversight.
The Barnet and Queensbury (35/35) Circuit Meeting (Present: 25. Voting: unanimous) notes the difficulty in finding presbyters to fill appointments in the Methodist stationing process and the concurrent problems in other denominations, particularly in the United Reformed Church.
The Circuit urges the Conference to look at ways and means to collaborate with other denominational authorities in providing a cohesive strategy to provide ministerial oversight for Methodist churches and local churches of other denominations.
The Conference thanks the Barnet and Queensbury Circuit for its memorial. In the 2009–10 connexional year there was a shortfall of 34 presbyters for available stations, which was a decrease from the previous year and the same number as 2007–08. Work is currently being undertaken to address the concerns regarding the number of candidates through the organisation of successful ‘Vocations Days’ around the Connexion as well as through the production of engaging publications and through ensuring that the website is as accessible as possible. Significant improvements have also been made to the processes which support candidates as they produce a portfolio for the selection committees.
Ecumenical conversations about the provision and deployment of ministerial resources are a crucial part of the work of the Ministries and Learning Team within the Connexional Team, and the Team continues to engage with a number of partners to discern innovative and productive ways to share such resources. The development of policy in this area will be enhanced by the development of a Ministries Committee, as reported elsewhere in the Agenda. A joint meeting during the 2010–11 connexional year of the Methodist Council and the Mission Council of the United Reformed Church will provide another forum to discuss initiatives and strategies with partner denominations.
The Conference therefore accepts this memorial and welcomes the further work which is to be undertaken in this area by the Methodist Council and the Shadow Ministries Committee.