08 June 2012

Reshaping for leadership of the Connexional Team

The leadership structures of the Connexional Team will be significantly re-shaped under recommendations from a reference group of the Methodist Council.

Following the whole-team reconfiguration of 2007/8, the Conference requested that the senior leadership structures of the team should be kept under review, and a formal review of the present configuration began in autumn 2011.

The existing configuration has a group mainly concerned with strategy interlinked with a group mainly concerned with management, with the General Secretary (who is also Secretary of the Conference) and three Connexional Secretaries leading a group of five heads of clusters. The cluster heads each manage a team of specialist staff in five key areas:

- Discipleship and Ministries
- Mission and Advocacy
- Support Services
- Projects, Research and Development
- Governance Support

Under new plans the existing structure will be replaced by a more integrated leadership group made up of the General Secretary/ Secretary of the Conference, the Assistant Secretary of the Conference, a single Connexional Secretary and three heads of clusters. This structure will make the three current Connexional Secretary posts redundant, replacing them with the single Connexional Secretary. The group recommends that the existing Projects, Research and Development and Governance Support Clusters be reviewed in the light of these changes.

"Facing change is always challenging and costly," said the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary and Secretary of the Conference, "but my colleagues have responded to these proposals with great grace and understanding. The current arrangement has helped to shape the Team into the excellent, united group of experts it is today. But as the journey continues, so the things we need to help us travel on the way change. I believe that this reshaping will build upon recent achievements and better equip the Team to move forward in supporting the wider Church to become a discipleship movement shaped for mission. This new senior leadership group will be more outward facing and collaborative and will help our experts and specialists to speak even more directly into the policy and strategy formation of the Team."

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin, President Designate of the Conference and current Connexional Team Secretary for Internal Relationships, said: "I think we are all grateful for the careful, pastorally sensitive way that the small group from the Methodist Council has tackled the difficult task of reviewing the Senior Leadership Team. I believe the new structures can be made to work well. It is good to see how much careful thought has gone into a new way of leading the Connexional Team and contributing to the wider leadership of the Church. I will miss working with some stunning colleagues and will keep them in my prayers with great affection."

"Our commitment to our many partnerships, both in the UK and worldwide, remains as strong as ever," added Christine Elliott, Connexional Secretary for External Relationships. "Our structures may change but we shall continue to work with partners, helping us to grow in faith and understanding as well as encouraging greater co-operation in God's mission."

The Methodist Conference is required to approve the number of Connexional Secretaries in the Team and will be presented with this new structure in July.

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