Local preacher secretaries
With no public worship taken place during lockdown, is it acceptable for a service reported to the Local Preachers’ Meeting to be online?
Under the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no problem if the reported services are online services of some form provided the level of involvement of the preacher in preparation and delivery is comparable with what they would have done in a physical setting. This applies equally to the service referred to in Standing Order 564A (7) prior to the preacher moving to “On Trial” and to the services reported quarterly to the Local Preachers’ Meeting.
Can the Final Trial Service for a person on Trial be online?
Ideally, the final Trial Service before admittance as a Local Preacher (referred to in Standing Order 566(4)(i)) should take place in a physical setting with a congregation present. As lockdown eases, this will become more practical in many circuits. However, if there are good reasons to conduct the Trial Service online, this choice is now available. The person on trial must however be satisfied with this approach, and the circuit must ensure that it will provide a satisfactory setting for thorough and fair assessment. In particular, those reporting on the service are encouraged to make their assessment as comprehensive as they would if the service was in a physical church setting.
Can the Admission Service for a Local Preacher be online?
This service, which is a celebration for the whole circuit community, should be a physical congregational service if possible. However, there may be good reasons why a physical gathering of the circuit may not be possible at this time, in which case this service may be conducted online. The decision should be made by the circuit, but the preferences of those to be recognised as Local Preachers must be respected. If the Recognition Service is held online, circuits are encouraged to consider the best way to celebrate with the new local preachers once gathered worship becomes possible.
Note that for the purpose of those intending to offer as candidates for ordained ministry, a letter from the Superintendent will be taken as evidence of admission as a local preacher, regardless of whether the Recognition Service has yet taken place.
As public worship in church building resumes, are all Local Preachers obliged to accept preaching appointments?
One of our responsibilities as local preachers according to Standing Order (563(2)(iii)) is to be available for an appropriate number of appointments per quarter. However, the same Standing Order also says “…having regard to the situation of the local preacher and of the circuit.”
In the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, no one should feel pressured to make themselves available for appointments, especially if there are health risk factors involved. Likewise, in making arrangements for the gradual return to worship in church buildings, circuits should take account the availability and willingness of local preachers to take part in public worship. This may require compromise in the number of services that can be offered, or the timescales for reintroduction of public worship.
Local Preachers' Meetings during Coronavirus
In times like these, it is even more important to remain connected to each other. Here are some ideas and suggestions about how Local Preachers' (and Worship Leaders') Meetings can be held during lockdown:
The Learning Network have also produced a helpful video introducing Zoom, which makes video meetings easy to do.
Remembering our Call - An Annual Service for Local Preachers
Each year, Local Preachers are required to attend a service of reaffirmation of their call (SO 563(3)(v)).
A PDF version of the order of service for this can be downloaded here.
A Word version (which can be edited) can be downloaded here.
A set of PowerPoint slides for the service is available here.
LPWL Return Form
To report Local Preacher developments in your circuit, including requesting accreditation material or Long Service Certificates or registering new students, tutors or mentors for training, please fill in an LPWL Return Form:
Click here for the electronic Return form.
Please note that the first and final pages are mandatory to complete, for the rest of the pages you only need to complete what is relevant.
If you would rather send a copy via post please request a hard copy version from firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Preachers' Accountability and Review
Since the 2018 Conference, Local Preachers are required to "review their ministry" every three years. These two Guidance Notes explain what is required of us, and how peer review can become a helpful part of our continuing development as local preachers:
Long Service Certificates
Long Service Certificates are provided by the Connexional Team to celebrate 25, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 years of service. Unfortunately, we are not able to issue certificates signed by the President and Vice President to mark any other anniversaries.
However, an alternative Long Service Certificate is available online. This certificate is designed to be signed by the Superintendent of the circuit. It allows for years of service to be recognised at any point in the ministry of a local preacher, or to mark occasions such as retirements or other significant milestones.
Please print and present these certificates locally yourselves, as with the Worship Leader certificates.
If you have trouble printing these new certificates please contact us at email@example.com
Guidance for Local Preachers' Meetings:
- A Guide to the Duties of the Secretary of the Local Preachers Meeting
- Connexional Team Guidelines for the Circuit Local Preachers Meeting
- Standing Orders relating to Local Preachers
- Standing Orders relating to Worship Leaders
- Annual report forms - to be submitted to the District Local Preacher Secretary
Guidance and Forms for Local Preacher Training:
- Training of Local Preachers - the process of discernment, formation and training for local preachers, set out in table form.
- Circuit Interviews for Persons On Trial - guidance on conducting the two circuit interviews for local preachers on trial, including suggestions for using an Appreciative Inquiry approach.
- Worship & Preaching Feedback Form - to provide constructive feedback for one service each quarter for those on note and on trial, as required by Standing Order 564B (5). A PDF version is also available, for Apple device users only - please click here.
- Congregation Feedback Form - to provide informal constructive feedback for any worship leader or local preacher as requested by them as part of their initial training or continuing development. A PDF version is also available, for Apple device users only - please click here.
- Request to extend 'On Trial' period - this form should be used when submitting a request to the District Policy Committee
- GDPR and the Circuit Preaching Plan - guidance from TMCP regarding how to make the Plan compliant with GDPR requirements.
District Local Preachers' Officers
District Local Preachers' Secretaries and Tutors perform a vital role in supporting the work of circuit Local Preachers' Meetings and connecting people involved in training and development across their District.
This Role Description has been produced in consultation with District Officers to assist in explaining these roles, and encouraging districts to make the most of the opportunities they present.
All District Officers are invited to an annual meeting at Methodist Church House, to share issues and concerns and contribute to the development of training and support for Local Preachers and Worship Leaders.