About the Learning Network

The role of the Learning Network is to equip and resource the Church through a wide range of contextually relevant learning and development opportunities. Sharing responsibility with others within the Connexional Team and key stakeholders within the districts, circuits and churches.

The Learning Network's work is developed from what comes out of the Conference, and what comes up from the grassroots of the regions. The Learning Network works together connexionally, on national projects such as 3Generate, and in regional teams, in delivering regional training and learning events such as Supervision and Positive Working Together. Each officer of the regional teams is aligned to a district to allow the teams to better listen, communicate and respond on a district and circuit level. 

Priorities for learning and development are established through regional Learning & Development Forums. The aim of each Learning & Development Forum is to support circuits in being places of lifelong learning and sharing, so as to encourage and inspire Methodist people in all aspects of Our Calling. This includes worship, caring, service and evangelism, in response to God’s love. This enables us to live out our discipleship so that the love of God can be made known. 

The Learning Network comprises of 10 Learning Network regions. Each region has a regional coordinator and a team of Learning & Development Officers with a variety of specialist skills, each of whom works across the region and wider network, but are also aligned to a District. The Director of Regional Learning & Development coordinates the work of the regions with support from the Senior Administrator. 

Richard Armiger is the Director of Regional Learning & Development.  Richard has worked for the Methodist Church in learning and development for the last 14 years. Richard has a passion for enabling people to flourish and achieve their full potential as God intends for all his people. He has previously worked for the BBC and run his own media and training company Active Media Publishing. Richard is a trained trainer in conflict transformation and appreciative inquiry. He is an MBTI (Myers Briggs) accredited practitioner. Richard is a Local Preacher, MBA qualified and has an MA in Mission and the World of Work. He is married with two children, a daughter aged 14 and a son aged 17, and enjoys walking, photography and spending time with his family. 

Christiaan Bijl is the Senior Administrator for Learning & Development. Christiaan works closely with Richard and supports the Learning Network as a whole. This includes areas of finance, certain projects and the organising of events. After completing a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Sales Management, Christiaan has worked in recruitment, software licensing sales and in Christian community and youth roles. Christiaan initially joined the Connexional Team as an administrator in the Mission Team, before taking up this post. He loves to travel and discover new countries and has a passion for aviation. He is married and has recently become the proud father of a baby boy.

Contact Christiaan Bijl bijlc@methodistchurch.org.uk  |  020 7467 3533


Announcement from Richard Armiger, Director of Learning and Development

I am delighted to be able make the following announcement in relation to the future developments for the East Central and East of England regions.

Discussions with the Chairs of the Districts in the two regions to reflect on the way forward for the learning and development work following on from the vacancy in the East Central region of the Learning & Development Coordinator role have led to this exciting development.

We have agreed to create a new single learning network region combining the work of the two existing teams with a single coordinator and the opportunity to recruit a new Learning & Development Officer with a focus on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) aspects of learning and development across the new region.

The new region will be called The Eastern region of the Learning Network and will officially come into effect from 1 October 2020.

I am delighted that the East of England Coordinator, Dave Friswell, is willing to serve as the Coordinator for the expanded region. The two existing teams are working on coming together as a new team and looking forward to welcoming and additional colleague in due course and I am looking forward to the opportunities that this offers for learning and development across the Districts within the new region.

Speaking about this exciting development the Chairs of District for Lincolnshire, Notts and Derby, Northampton, Beds., Essex and Herts, and East Anglia say:

As Chairs of the Districts who will be part of this larger region for learning and development we express our support and enthusiasm for this way of working.

We consider that a  larger and more diverse team is an exciting development and we rejoice in the existing skilled and gifted colleagues who will be a part of the new team and we have confidence in the co-ordination of the work which will be provided by Dave Friswell.  We particularly welcome the opportunity to appoint a Learning & Development Officer with a focus on EDI to help us work on developing into a more inclusive Church which will be made possible in the new configuration. We already work together well already on a number of matters such as stationing and safeguarding so this is a practical and natural development for us.

The Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has helped us see that some of our training and learning can be delivered on-line very effectively across a larger region. We are glad that we will still have aligned officers for each District with whom we have  good and valued colleagueship. We offer our support, our prayers and our enthusiasm for this way of working. 

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