New Methodist President and Vice President included in on-line convention
The new Methodist President, Rev. Richard Teal, and Vice President Carolyn Lawrence
Rev. Richard Teal has been appointed new President of the Methodist Conference.
The ceremony took place during the conference on Saturday at Cliff College in Derbyshire.
The conference is the annual legislative session of the Methodist Church at which policies and measures are adopted. It was scheduled to take place in Telford this year, but was first put online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rev. Teal succeeds Rev. Dr. Barbara Glasson in the role of President.
He grew up in the Yorkshire Dales and spent most of his service in rural areas. He was the chairman of the Cumbria District for 11 years and is currently superintendent of the Beverley Circuit in East Yorkshire.
As President, he spoke for the first time before the conference about the effects of the coronavirus on the church.
"Who would have thought a few months ago that we should have closed and locked our doors, even at Easter," he said.
"Many of our communities feel completely disoriented, fearful, and cut off from the community we enjoy together."
Instead of returning to business as usual, he said the end of the ban was an opportunity for transformation in the church.
"Not a return to the same old, but to a church that has a reputation for transforming, recovering, and strengthening what we are going through in the present, in response to a faithful God who redeems history and that bright future promises. "He said.
He was welcomed with the new Vice President Carolyn Lawrence, who worked as a partner for educational missions in Guyana and as a volunteer preacher and leader of the Methodist Church.
She has also worked with the Church's Global Relationships team to attract people to the international network of partner churches.
"One thing that impresses me about the church is that you can be anywhere in the country or around the world and know that you can find a family," she told Conference.
"I have had the experience of worshiping Christians in many different places around the world, most recently when I visited the Methodist Church in Brazil.
"Here the congregation is growing at astonishing speed and I was overwhelmed by their passion for God's Word, their commitment to prayer, their systematic and strategic approach to evangelism, theological training and pastoral care as well as the exuberance and joy in their worship.
"I hope that next year I will be able to share some of the key principles of church growth that I have learned from the church in Brazil, because I believe they can be applied to our church here in the UK."