25 August 2006

Creation of new district brings 'explosion of creative vision and energy'

From the beginning of September, the Methodist Church in the South East is taking on a new shape, helping it to work more effectively to enrich and serve communities. A new Methodist London district will come into existence serving the whole of the region of Greater London, and as a result two other new districts are being formed in the South East of England covering the areas around London.

Currently, there are four London Districts, each with separate patterns of working, but the Church hopes to be better able to contribute to the wellbeing of the city as a whole by focusing responsibility for London within a single district. It will also mean that the other new districts - the South-East District and the Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire District Ð will be able to focus more clearly on the unique demands of the areas they serve.

The Revd Ken Howcroft, Methodist Secretary for Conference and Communication, commented that; 'We've redrawn district lines so that they simply make more sense. This presents us with exciting new opportunities to serve our church communities and the communities of wider society in more suitable, flexible ways. It will not only be London that benefits from this move, but the whole of the South East of England. This change helps us to take better advantage of the resources we have and use them more effectively. Planning for the new districts has already led to an explosion of creative vision and energy amongst the people in the churches involved. It's important for all our districts to be able to review their patterns of work in this way.'

The Revd John Hellyer, together with three assistant chairs, will lead the new South-East District, which covers the southern areas surrounding London. The Revd Anne Brown will be Chair of the Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire District; she is currently Chair of the London North-West District, which will cease to exist when the new London District comes into being. Because of its size and diversity, the London District will be led by three chairs working cooperatively; the Revd Ermal Kirby as the lead Chair, and the Revds Jenny Impey and Dr Stuart Jordan as co-Chairs.

The Revd Ermal Kirby commented, 'There is a unique opportunity for the Church, working in partnership with a wide range of other agencies, to further an understanding of what it means to be an inclusive community. Both as Methodists and as members of the wider Christian family, we have a contribution to make to that urgent dialogue.'

Each new District will celebrate its creation with a special service, starting with the launch of the Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire District in Chelmsford Cathedral on 31 August. The London District will be launched in Westminster Central Hall on 2 September, and the South-East District on 3 September at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells.

Download a pdf showing the new districts

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