Role outline for the President and Vice-President of the Conference
This role outline is not, and cannot be a full description of the ministry of the President and Vice-President of the Conference. It is intended, alongside Standing Orders, to identify requirements of the office and to assist in the discernment of those offering, or encouraging others to offer themselves, for these significant roles in the Methodist Church.
- The President must be an ordained presbyter in the Methodist Church. The Vice-President must be a lay person, who is a member of the Methodist Church, or an ordained deacon in the Methodist Church.
- The President and Vice-President play a significant part in the oversight and leadership of the Church.
- The President and Vice-President preside at the Conference and act as the representative embodiment of its authority as prescribed by the Deed of Union and in accordance with Standing Orders.
- When the Conference is meeting, the President presides at the Eucharist in both the Presbyteral and Representative Sessions and shares with the Vice-President in presiding over the business in the Representative Session.
- The President and former Presidents preside at the ordination services and ordain presbyters and deacons. The Vice President plays a significant part in the ordination services.
- During the year of office, the President and Vice-President work in conjunction with the Secretary of the Conference and support his or her ministry of strategic management and the development of the Church’s vision. This is a key relationship in the leadership of the Church.
- There are shared responsibilities between the two roles and an emphasis on consultation. Therefore, the President and Vice-President will meet regularly, share concerns and give and receive support. The President and Vice-President also meet regularly with their predecessors in office and their designated successors (the ‘Presidency of Six’).
- The President and Vice-President are to strengthen the bonds of the Connexion through a ministry of visitation to Districts and Circuits, to connexional committees, institutions and to the Connexional Team, offering encouragement and support, and sharing insights, as well as preaching and presiding.
- By attending the Connexional Leaders’ Forum, the President and Vice-President will offer support and encouragement to its members, and contribute to its discussions concerning the well-being and the calling of the Church. Through this, you will be involved in strategic thinking for the wider denomination, as well as being supportive of and supported by others in leadership.
- The President and the Vice-President will normally visit the Convocation of the Diaconal Order and may preside at any sessions upon the invitation of the Warden.
- The President and Vice-President will normally attend and participate in 3Generate.
- The roles involve praying for the Connexion and, at times, leading the Connexion in prayer for particular circumstances.
- The President and Vice-President will often represent the Methodist Church in Britain in ecumenical, and occasionally civic, circles. They attend the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland.
- Both roles will have engagement with the major charities in the Methodist family:
- All We Can, which may be through a well-supported overseas visit and general advocacy.
- MHA may also arrange visits and are glad of support and advocacy.
- Action for Children similarly look to the Presidency for profile-raising.
- There will be involvement in the official processes of the church including complaints and discipline and ministerial resignation requests, These are usually dealt with by the President, often in consultation with the Vice-President. There may be confidential or sensitive questions on which the Secretary seeks the President or Vice-President’s advice.
- As President or Vice-President, you will be invited to contribute to articles and forewords for various regular publications, such as the Prayer Handbook.
- There are opportunities to engage through social media to raise the sense of connexionalism, to blog, and write for the Methodist Recorder, through these things ‘Connecting the Connexion’. The President and Vice-President respond to requests from Communications, The Joint Public Issues Team and others to issue (or agree and sign) statements on current matters. They may also initiate such statements. In all these, the President and Vice-President offer their distinctive voice and insights whilst being aware that they speak on behalf of the Conference and therefore represent the decisions of the Conference and the priorities and policies of the Church.
The discernment of the call of God to the office of President and Vice-President is the essential pre-requisite. Recognising this, the following attributes will be helpful in those who respond to such a calling.
- Enthusiasm and willingness to serve the whole Church.
- An understanding and appreciation of connexionalism and the authority of the Conference.
- The ability to demonstrate leadership which is shared between ordained and lay.
- Flexibility in relation to time, travel and other commitments.
- Willingness to work closely with the Secretary of the Conference and presidential colleague.
- Being a person of prayer who listens carefully and seeks to discern and share wisdom.
A meeting is scheduled to take place between the President and Vice-President designates and the Secretary of the Conference on the afternoon of 8 July.