A former civil servant and a Church of England priest, Alan brought his experience in pastoral ministry and operational research to the Methodist Church in November 2013, taking over the statistical research and reporting role. Before ordination training Alan worked in the National Audit Office, reporting to parliament on topics as varied as defence infrastructure and sheltered employment schemes. Alan's parish ministry was served in Hackney and Tower Hamlets in London, and he was priest-in-charge of one of the churches affected by the regeneration and urban development programmes arising from the 2012 Olympic Games. This led to a major piece of work on urban change and its implications for mission and ministry, commissioned by the Bishop of Stepney (see Stepney Contextual Survey at www.thcofe.org/uploads/1/3/6/5/13654149/stepney_contextual_survey.pdf).
Alan's theological education began at his Methodist Sunday school and continued through an MA in Cambridge and an Oxford DPhil (Belief and Practice; The Rise and Decline of Liberal Anglo-Catholicism 1900 - 1940 (2004)). His professional training was through the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (qualified 1992) and the Joint Services Defence College at Greenwich (psd jsdc 1997). He has lectured both in church history and in church statistics, contributing to the recent debate on church growth. He represents the Methodist Church in the annual conference of British and Irish National Church Statisticians (BINCS). He continues to exercise pastoral, preaching and liturgical ministry in Hackney and in a central London parish close to his main workplace at Methodist Church House in Marylebone.
Alan is concerned with maintaining British Methodism's fine tradition of statistical reporting, but also developing it so that it doesn't just read like a gloomy record of numerical decline. While working in the Diocese of London, he co-authored the report Another Capital Idea: Church Growth in the Diocese of London 2003 - 2010 (Seehttp://www.london.anglican.org/about/another-capital-idea/ ). Alan believes that the church needs to be realistic about its numbers, but that this means looking at what those numbers tell us about how the church is adapting and changing over time. These themes lay behind the 2014 Statistics Report to the Methodist Conference: ( /downloads/conf-2014-37-statistics-for-mission.pdf ).
As well as working on the headline report to Conference, Alan is responsible for helping districts and circuits make good use of Methodist statistics, and in maintaining and developing the Methodist webmap. He also prepares detailed reports and supporting material for other parts of the Connexional Team. Besides research into London Methodism, Alan is currently engaged in a statistical review of circuit reorganisation, planning for ecumenical joint working, and surveying Fresh Expressions and church activity other than public worship (AGAPE reporting - keep watching this page for details!).
Alan's main area of work is statistics for mission.