03 July 2003

Next Methodist leader hopes to encourage others with disability

With appropriate symmetry in a year that Methodism is holding its annual conference in Wales, one of Wales's Methodist leaders has been elected President of the Church's governing body for 2004.

The Rev Will Morrey, who is Chairman of the South Wales Methodist District, will become President of the British Methodist Conference in Loughborough next year. He will continue to lead the Church across Britain over the following 12 months.

Mr Morrey became deaf at the age of 19. After being elected as President-designate, he said that this experience "enriches both my ministry and the church. Serving as President would encourage others with disability". He wrote the book "Seeing is Hearing", which included a theological reflection on hearing loss, and was published in 1996.

Will Morrey was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1953. After studying theology at Birmingham University, he undertook ministerial training at Queen's College, Birmingham, and was ordained in 1979. He has served at churches in Bideford, Devon (1976-79), Sheffield Ecclesall (1979-84), Halifax (1984-87), and Bangor (as Superintendent Minister, 1987-94).

While in Sheffield, he was chaplain to the city's Children's Hospital, and during his time in north Wales, he was chaplain to Bangor University as well as to RAF Valley, Anglesey. He became South Wales District Chair in 1997. He is chair of the Methodist Resourcing Mission Grants Committee and also serves on the Church's Pastoral Care Advisory Group.

Experienced in Methodist relations with other churches, Mr Morrey was involved in the recent working party that proposed to establish an ecumenical bishop in Wales. He worked alongside Rowan Williams when he was Archbishop in Wales. He helped to establish the Welsh Methodist Council, Y Gymanfa, in 1997.

He lives in Cardiff with his wife Vicki. They have two sons, Adam (24) and Peter (22).

Lancashire Deacon to be next Vice President

Deacon Myrtle Poxon is to be the next Vice President of the Methodist Conference, at the same time as the Rev Will Morrey becomes President. The pair have known each other since their studies coincided at Queen's College, Birmingham.

Mrs Poxon now forms a formidable partnership for the Methodist Church in Lancashire. She is married to the Chair of the North Lancashire Methodist District, the Rev Stephen Poxon. The couple have worked in the same places throughout their ministries.

Born in Durham 49 years ago, Myrtle Poxon went to theological college aged 20 before being ordained as a deacon. She spent seven years working as a Methodist Mission Partner in Jamaica (1979-85), before serving at churches in Cardiff (1985-96) and Preston (1996-present).

She says that she hope to bring to the Church "a commitment to world church and global issues. These are concerns that came alive for me during my time working in the Caribbean".

Mrs Poxon was President of the Methodist Women's Network in 1991-2. She is a member of the Methodist Council and the Council's Strategy and Resources Committee. She is also part of the Methodism's Connexional Candidates Committee.

She and Stephen live in Preston and they have four children - Matthew (21), Tamara (19), Daniel (16) and Joseph (8).

The Vice President Designate for Conference 2004, Deacon Myrtle Poxon and the President Designate for Conference 2004, the Rev Will Morrey, on the seafront at Llandudno, during Conference 2003.

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