Oversight and Trusteeship: Proposals for changes to Methodist Church Structures
For a number of years, there have been discussions about the oversight and trusteeship of the Methodist Church and whether the current structures enable us to best fulfil Our Calling.
Alongside this, The Methodist Conference asked us to address the concerns of equality, diversity, and inclusion. We need to have a clear focus for training and equipping those who make decisions which will also look at ways to include those in our decision-making structures who better reflect the diversity of Christ’s Church.
Over the past 18months, the Methodist Council, the Connexional Leaders’ Forum, and the Strategy and Resources Committee have discussed how we might give greater support and promote better coordination. Their work has identified two main aims:
- To ensure the church complies and better demonstrates compliance with our obligations as a charity
- Ensures appropriate representation and a better model of conferring that enables the Church to release energy which can be focused into the mission of the Church in all its forms.
In considering this in the light of the Church’s ecclesiology and polity, the following five ‘in principle’ issues were identified:
- The nature of the oversight in the life of the Church
- The authority of the Conference and what is delegated
- The nature of trusteeship and whether different forms of trusteeship can or should be held in different places
- The nature of representation
- The nature of the committee structure that enables the Council and the Conference to do their work.
The Oversight and Trusteeship co-ordination group was tasked with identifying specific areas where change is most urgently needed and ensuring the issues are addressed in a co-ordinated and consultative way. These were discussed at the January meeting of the Methodist Council.
- An ‘Executive Council’ to replace the Council and Strategy and Resources Committee and to be the Trustee Body registered with the Charity Commission
- The number and purpose of committees that are needed for the work of the church to be governed and managed
- The minimum size of a local church, the number of trustee bodies needed by a circuit and the necessary size of a local trustee body
The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler has written about why this is a ‘moment of opportunity’ (including a link to the full 2020 Conference report) which you can read here.