New shape for Methodist Church in the South East

MEMBERS of Methodist churches in Kent, East and West Sussex,Surrey and parts of Berkshire and Hampshire Ð plus Methodistchurches in Malta and Gibraltar Ð come together from September in anew District of the British Methodist Church.

The new South-East District, which will have 16,000 members from240 churches, is being created as part of reorganisation of thestructure of the church in and around London. Chair of the newdistrict is the Rev John Hellyer, married with three children, whocomes to the South-East from Birmingham.

He will be supported by three assistant chairs Ð the Rev PeterNeatham, from Herne Bay, in the eastern section of the district,the Rev Sheila Foreman, from Eastbourne, in the central section,and the Rev Dr Emmanuel Jacob, of Slough, in the west. With JohnHellyer, they will form a district leadership team heading themission and outreach activities of churches in both urban and ruralareas.

Already, however, activities by individual churches include anambitious project to turn one into a centre for the community,response to urban developments, a church flower arranger appointedto be one of the team responsible for flowers at Windsor castle anda project which aims to contact and to support young people.Ministers in the district include chaplains to prisons, the policeand ambulance services, and to a centre for immigrants.

John Hellyer says: 'The Methodist people practice the Christianityof the warmed heart, the caring hand and a longing for justice inthe world. This is an exciting time, when the we are reshaping theway we work in London and the South-East so we can respond to thechallenges that come with the way the whole region is developing inthe 21st Century'.

The new district comes into being on Sunday, 3 September, at aninauguration service at Tunbridge Wells, attended byrepresentatives of churches throughout the district and by localauthority, ecumenical and other faith guests. It will be led by thepresident of the Methodist Conference, the Rev R. Graham Carter,and addressed by a former president, the Rev Dr ChristinaleMoignan.

Download apdf showing the new districts