Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Closer Working: Ministry

At Closer Working, the recent Methodist URC Consultation, a group focused on ministry.  here are some of their observations.

  • The idea of a ‘pastor in every church’ has not taken off in Methodism.
  • If someone feels called to ministry from within a United Area they have to choose which denomination to train for and enter, which they may not wish to do. Training may be available ecumenically, e.g. Cambridge Federation, but you still have to choose. In the theology of ordination, is theology lagging behind practice?
  • If there is common recognition of local and lay preachers could there not be (more?) joint training?
  • Generally there is too much duplication of effort around the country. Ministers from each denomination may be working in the same area, badly deployed and thinly spread.
  • The perception and expectations of ministers varies and depends on the age profile of congregations.
  • There is the issue of URC ministers not being able to serve as superintendents.  Lead Minister in United Area is not in conflict with Methodist Superintendent but it needs modifying
  • Recognising the gifts of an Elder – term used incorrectly in Methodism
  • District/Synod Level Appointments – could we do more things together e.g. Safeguarding?
In addition, the following points were made at the final plenary:

Status of the Methodist category of Associate Ministers. Understood as being applicable to ministers of other denominations not having designated pastoral responsibility for a Methodist Church but giving them recognition to be involved in the life of the church.

The situation where a URC minister could no longer function as a Methodist Superintendent was identified as unsatisfactory in United Areas where a URC leader would still need a Methodist colleague designated as Superintendent. The difficulty of this being subject to the Methodist Church Act is recognised but there was strong feeling among Methodist participants that it should be addressed.

Please note I'm on leave and will respond to comments on this post on or soon after Tuesday 24 August 2010.

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