The role of the district chair

District chairs are in a position to be encouragers of ecumenical partnership - from Churches Together groups to regional training partnerships, from jointly sponsored sector ministry to the shaping of district strategies, not least for the deployment of ministry. And the tone they set will be noticed and passed on by those working alongside them.

One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

These notes relate to the ministry of the district chair and other officers in the district. Whatever the role of a district officer, they share the responsibility with the district chair to work with others wherever possible. Methodism treasures its place within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. The work for unity is all of a piece - local, county, regional, national, international. As they partner God in weaving the robe of the Church's visible unity, they shall seek to be consistent and coherent in what they say and support; they shall also treasure the thread of courtesy within the Body of Christ.

Attitude

Other Church leaders generally value the colleagueship of district chairs. They have no need to be defensive - but there is every need to be courteous and collaborative. Attitude is a key ingredient in all our relationships - and attitude is nourished by spirituality. But however positive your attitude and however rich your spirituality, ecumenical working does not come easily.

District officers may be tempted to draw a line between unity and mission, but the two belong together. Separating them as rivals for attention diminishes both.

These notes - arranged so individual sheets can be copied to colleagues - have a modest purpose: to provide some basic tools and to serve as a gateway to good practice. When more detail is required, links have been suggested. Above all, be ready to seek out advice. There are people around with the knowledge and the willingness to help.

The practicalities of ecumenical relating may seem a long way from the great theme of unity. As in so many other areas, God encourages us along the way. At times slow and frustrating, at other times enriching and fun - that's the mix to expect.

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