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

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

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

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

Martyn describes 17 as a crucial age for him Ð he became aChristian and joined a vibrant youth fellowship at Otley MethodistChurch. It was in this context that he felt a strong, clear call tobe a Methodist preacher, which soon developed into a call to be aMethodist minister; "I still have the notes of my first sermon Ðwhich lasted all of four and a half minutes Ð and when I read itnow it reminds me of the long suffering graciousness of Methodistfolk!". He spent four happy years at Hartley Victoria College inManchester 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 WestYorkshire District. During this time he undertook what he describesas "the longest part time PhD programme in history", but eventuallycompleted it in 1990.

He then became the Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies atEdgehill College, a Methodist day and boarding school in thePlymouth and Exeter District. In 1996, he was appointed to CliffCollege as a Postgraduate Tutor, and in 2004, Martyn becamePrincipal 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 Churchparticularly Ð being an authentic 'Good News Community'. I ampassionate about lay ministries among children, young people,families, communities and the like: such ministries are crucial tothe contemporary witness and mission of our Church. I am passionateabout our Wesleyan heritage, which I consider to be a treasure anda gift to the whole Church. Challenging times lie ahead forhistoric denominations like ours. Our future will be quitedifferent to our past. But God is not finished with us yet. TheSpirit calls us to follow. The people called Methodist remain inGod's missionary purposes."

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