Methodist Church's first General Secretary is nominated

The Rev David Deeks has beennominated as General Secretary of the Methodist Church inBritain.

He will take office as thefirst appointment to the Church's new look leadership role nextyear, subject to the agreement of the Methodist Conference in July2003.

The Methodist Council thisweekend agreed to the nomination of Mr Deeks, currently MethodistCo-ordinating Secretary for Church & Society, as GeneralSecretary for six years from September 2003.

The Methodist Conference in July had recommended theappointment of a General Secretary, saying that: "We believe it isnow right to give to that person the distinctive role and task ofunifying these elements, holding the circle, becoming the cruciallink between the Methodist Church as a faith community and as amission organisation."Mr Deeks said of his nomination: "Therole of General Secretary is an exciting challenge. My aim will beto help the whole church to grasp a vision for the future andrecover its confidence."

The new role will include the responsibilities of the existingoffice of Secretary of the Methodist Conference. The currentSecretary, the Rev Nigel Collinson, is due to retire in August2003.

The General Secretary is to be given the responsibility ofleading a unified management and leadership team incorporating thework currently undertaken by the Methodist Conference Office, thefour Co-ordinating Secretaries and the Methodist DistrictChairs.

The annually appointed President of the Methodist Conferencewill remain the Methodist Church's most senior minister andspokesperson on many issues.

The Rev David Deeks, who has a distinguished academic backgroundin science and theology, was born in 1942. After reading NaturalSciences at Downing College, Cambridge, he became Research Officerat the Radio Research Station in Slough.

He returned to Cambridge to read theology at Wesley House andwas ordained in 1969. He taught theology at Richmond College,London, Lincoln Theological College, and Wesley House, Cambridge.Between 1974-80 he served in the Maidstone Methodist Circuit and in1988 became minister at Victoria Church, Bristol, and Methodistchaplain at Bristol University.

Mr Deeks was appointed General Secretary of the MethodistDivision of Social Responsibility in 1992, then Co-ordinatingSecretary for Church & Society in 1995. He has written andspoken on a wide range of issues facing the Church, includingpolitics, medical ethics, and personal and family issues and hascontributed to the development of several key areas of policy inthe life of the Church.

Married to Jennifer with three children, Libby, Caroline andAndrew, he also enjoys walking, poetry and painting.

The Methodist Council has also approved steps to appoint anadditional second Assistant Secretary of Conference to take on someof the considerable responsibilities of the Methodist ConferenceOffice. This, together with expected changes in responsibilitiesbetween the Assistant Secretaries and the Co-ordinatingSecretaries, is being undertaken to allow the General Secretary toconcentrate on his new strategic role.