14 October 2002

Methodist Church's first General Secretary is nominated

The Rev David Deeks has been nominated as General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Britain.

He will take office as the first appointment to the Church's new look leadership role next year, subject to the agreement of the Methodist Conference in July 2003.

The Methodist Council this weekend agreed to the nomination of Mr Deeks, currently Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Church & Society, as General Secretary for six years from September 2003.

The Methodist Conference in July had recommended the appointment of a General Secretary, saying that: "We believe it is now right to give to that person the distinctive role and task of unifying these elements, holding the circle, becoming the crucial link between the Methodist Church as a faith community and as a mission organisation."Mr Deeks said of his nomination: "The role of General Secretary is an exciting challenge. My aim will be to help the whole church to grasp a vision for the future and recover its confidence."

The new role will include the responsibilities of the existing office of Secretary of the Methodist Conference. The current Secretary, the Rev Nigel Collinson, is due to retire in August 2003.

The General Secretary is to be given the responsibility of leading a unified management and leadership team incorporating the work currently undertaken by the Methodist Conference Office, the four Co-ordinating Secretaries and the Methodist District Chairs.

The annually appointed President of the Methodist Conference will remain the Methodist Church's most senior minister and spokesperson on many issues.

The Rev David Deeks, who has a distinguished academic background in science and theology, was born in 1942. After reading Natural Sciences at Downing College, Cambridge, he became Research Officer at the Radio Research Station in Slough.

He returned to Cambridge to read theology at Wesley House and was ordained in 1969. He taught theology at Richmond College, London, Lincoln Theological College, and Wesley House, Cambridge. Between 1974-80 he served in the Maidstone Methodist Circuit and in 1988 became minister at Victoria Church, Bristol, and Methodist chaplain at Bristol University.

Mr Deeks was appointed General Secretary of the Methodist Division of Social Responsibility in 1992, then Co-ordinating Secretary for Church & Society in 1995. He has written and spoken on a wide range of issues facing the Church, including politics, medical ethics, and personal and family issues and has contributed to the development of several key areas of policy in the life of the Church.

Married to Jennifer with three children, Libby, Caroline and Andrew, he also enjoys walking, poetry and painting.

The Methodist Council has also approved steps to appoint an additional second Assistant Secretary of Conference to take on some of the considerable responsibilities of the Methodist Conference Office. This, together with expected changes in responsibilities between the Assistant Secretaries and the Co-ordinating Secretaries, is being undertaken to allow the General Secretary to concentrate on his new strategic role.

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