25 August 2006

Methodists See the Bigger Picture

'From communities in poverty to the corridors of power ', Methodists in London will catch a glimpse of the different ways in which they contribute to the life of London when they meet next weekend at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster.

Social care and justice will be high on the Agenda as representatives of the 43,000-strong London Methodist-related community gather as part of a single unit for the first time in more than 125 years. The gathering will also celebrate the significant growth in membership that the Church has seen over the past 10 years. In London there are now more than 22,000 Methodist members in some 260 congregations and almost 60% of London Methodists are also part of Black and Minority Ethnic communities. Some Methodist congregations have people from between 20 and 30 different nations worshipping together each Sunday.

Because of the size and complexity of the new London District, for the first time in the history of the British Methodist Church, there will be a team of three Senior Ministers (Chairs of District) to help lead and co-ordinate the work in London. The Revd Ermal Kirby will be the Lead Chair and the Revd Jenny Impey and the Revd Dr Stuart Jordan the two Co-Chairs.

'A wonderful woven tapestry, with colour and texture, light and shade, energy and stillness all brought together in a stunning display to which every member contributes' is how these Leaders have described the Methodist Church in London. 'As a Church, we seek to be good news in this Global City.'

But there is also recognition that the scale and diversity of London's population brings its own challenges. 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.'

The newly appointed Chairs all have significant links with other parts of the world, but they have discovered to their delight that they also have a Leicestershire connection in common. (There is even speculation that Stuart and Ermal might have played Rugby against each other at some - much earlier - point!).

Download a pdf showing the new districts

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