28 June 2006

Revd. Dr Martyn Atkins elected new President Designate of the Methodist Conference

This morning, the Methodist Conference announced the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, as President Designate. He will start his office at Conference in 2007.

Speaking about becoming President Designate, Martyn said, "I was speechless when I heard the news from the General Secretary. It is a great privilege and I am humbled by the prospect but taken aback by the suddenness. I regard this designation as a sign of love and trust from members and friends in a Church that I have been proud to belong to for over 30 years, and I am deeply moved."

Born in Bradford in June 1955, Martyn was raised in Otley, West Yorkshire and attended Prince Henry Grammar School.

Martyn describes 17 as a crucial age for him Ð he became a Christian and joined a vibrant youth fellowship at Otley Methodist Church. It was in this context that he felt a strong, clear call to be a Methodist preacher, which soon developed into a call to be a Methodist minister; "I still have the notes of my first sermon Ð which lasted all of four and a half minutes Ð and when I read it now it reminds me of the long suffering graciousness of Methodist folk!". He spent four happy years at Hartley Victoria College in Manchester training for the Methodist ministry.

Martyn's first circuit appointment was in the Leeds (South) Circuit, followed by the Shipley and Bingley Circuit in the West Yorkshire District. During this time he undertook what he describes as "the longest part time PhD programme in history", but eventually completed it in 1990.

He then became the Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies at Edgehill College, a Methodist day and boarding school in the Plymouth and Exeter District. In 1996, he was appointed to Cliff College as a Postgraduate Tutor, and in 2004, Martyn became Principal of Cliff College.

"I really do believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news! I am passionate about Church Ð and the Methodist Church particularly Ð being an authentic 'Good News Community'. I am passionate about lay ministries among children, young people, families, communities and the like: such ministries are crucial to the contemporary witness and mission of our Church. I am passionate about our Wesleyan heritage, which I consider to be a treasure and a gift to the whole Church. Challenging times lie ahead for historic denominations like ours. Our future will be quite different to our past. But God is not finished with us yet. The Spirit calls us to follow. The people called Methodist remain in God's missionary purposes."

Married to Helen, a nurse, they have three grown-up sons. Martyn plays the guitar and was in a gospel rock band in the 1970's. He loves sport, socialising with friends and shopping on ebay.

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