Spiritual Life Theme 2018-19

Spiritual Life Theme 2018-19

 

Over the last four years the churches and areas of Synod Cymru have been following the Developing Our Calling programme focusing on each of the four main themes in turn. Following the review of this programme, the Synod Cymru meeting in April came to the conclusion that it was good to follow such a programme and it was decided to hold a new programme beginning in September 2018, focusing on the six main themes which arose in the review on the life and work of Synod Cymru and Cylchdaith Cymru (Cymru Circuit) starting with Spiritual Life.

 

At the Synod meeting a report was received by the group which had been looking into this theme with recommendations on how to develop the life of the Synod/Circuit under the theme of Spiritual life. A list of suggestions and ideas about useful resources to help churches and groups develop their spiritual life under six priorities follows:

 

  • What is spiritual life?

Churches and areas are encouraged to consider and discuss what is meant by spiritual life and that people contemplate and pray about their experience of God. Consider the importance of thanksgiving and every day wonder and that God is there 24/7. Reflect on the idea of waiting for God and the Holy Spirit in our day to day experience. Personal meditation/prayer at the start and end of each day is encouraged.

 

Resources:

For daily personal meditation A Word in Timewww.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/the-bible/a-word-in-time

The Methodist Prayer Handbook http://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/prayer/methodist-prayer-handbook

Gair y Dydd, ed. Pryderi Llwyd Jones, Welsh daily devotional resource, Gwasg y Bwthyn

Blwyddyn gyda Iesu, Selwyn Hughes, adapt. Meirion Morris

Agor Y Gair Gyda Mari, 26 readings and reflections based on Mary Jones’ journey and some suggestions to help you make the connection between words from the Bible and your life today, Christine Daniel, Bible Society

General resources www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith – lots of information and resources under the headings Life and faith, prayer, the Bible, worship, reflecting on faith

 

  • The importance of reading the Bible and praying together

Regular Bible study group

Regular prayer meeting

Hold a study instead of a service each month

House groups

Holding prayer events such as 24-7 prayer, prayer stations, labyrinth and prayer walks

 

Resources:

Cwrs Y Ffordd, Undeb yr Annibynwyr www.annibynwyr.org/y-ffordd-3

Lent Course Exploring spiritual practices with downloadable resources from the Methodist Church website www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/lent-and-easter/exploring-spiritual-practices

50 days to let your life speak – downloadable sessions leading up to Easter http://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/lent-and-easter/lent-and-easter-resources/50-days-to-let-your-life-speak

Great 50 day following Jesus daily devotional booklet / small group resources for Easter, ascension and Pentecost

 

  • Way of life/ Discipleship

Deled dy deyrnas / Thy Kingdom come www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/prayer/thy-kingdom-come prayer movement with an emphasis on prayer between Ascension and Pentecost.  Prayer resources for families available in Welsh and a translation of the booklet Nine Days of Prayer Waiting in Wonder.

Holy Habits course, Andrew Roberts, based on the ten habits of the Early Church (Acts 2.42-47)

Nurturing new Leaders within the church

Holding a pilgrimage/retreat

 

Resources:

Holy Habits booklets, published by BRF

Clonc a sgwrs (Table Talk in Welsh) – conversation game which provides opportunities for exploring some of life’s big questions

Emaus: Ffordd y Ffydd – Tyfu fel Cristion – interdenominational training programme to welcome people to the Christian faith

 

  • Sense of belonging

Restore/initiate the concept of the ‘class’ and develop ‘class’ leaders, pastoral convener. The advantages would include discipleship, a sense of belonging, pastoral care, continuing Methodist tradition.

Fellowship or Literary Society

Creating opportunities to have fellowship, e.g. weekly coffee, knitting club (or other interests) community lunch, book club, special celebrations, tea party, trip, walking, picnic, barbeque, meal, concert, ceilidh, stalls and sales.

 

Resources:

Wrth fy enw/Called by name, Methodist Publishing

Y Gwyliedydd (bimonthly paper for Synod Cymru)

The Methodist Prayer Handbook

‘Encircled with care’ – the Methodist Church’s programme for Pastoral Visitors

 

  • Generate enthusiasm/services not to be missed

Waiting for the Holy Spirit. Rejoicing. Sense of God’s presence.

Using the Lectionary to ensure attention and emphasis is given to the Christian festivals.

Saturate services with prayer:

Encourage members of the congregation to pray before coming to the service

Recommend prayer by a steward/elder before the service

Encourage preachers, worship leaders to pray at the beginning of the service expressing the anticipation of God’s presence – call to worship, opening prayer or using silence

 

Resources:

ROOTS Learning and worship resources for the whole church with a focus each week on one of the lectionary readings with ideas for sermon preparation, all age worship, Sunday school and Bible study. Includes a variety of Welsh prayers for different parts of the worship and activity sheets in Welsh for children.

Ei Orsedd Rasol Ef, Welsh translation of The Act of Prayer, a collection of prayers by Local Preacher John Birch, adapt. Dewi Myrddin Hughes, Cyhoeddiadau’r Gair

Ideas for churches on www.beibl.net

 

  • The community / local needs

Seeing ourselves as part of a wider community and the importance of the way we behave. Being aware of the things around us, being alert to the needs of people around us.

Taking the opportunity to build relationships with people we come across every day.

‘We are the Bible that people outside the church read’.

Supporting the local Food Bank

Open the Book

Street Pastors

Visiting care homes – offering the opportunity for worship to those outside the church

An event in a café or public house

Supporting local charities

 

Resources:

Books for pastoral visiting and for special occasions are available from Cyhoeddiadau’r Gair:

Gair o Gysur mewn Gofid a Galar

Gair o Gysur mewn Gofid a Gwaeledd

Wele, cawsom y Meseia – Christmas

Mi wn fod fy Mhrynwr yn fyw – Easter

O llawenhawn! Daeth Crist i’n plith – a series of Christmas outreach resources

 

Working towards a new Synod of The Methodist Church in Wales (Full Page)

Working towards a new Synod of The Methodist Church in Wales

Proposal: that the two districts of The Methodist Church in Wales (Synod Cymru and the Wales Synod) work towards coming together to form one new district to be known as the Cymru Wales Synod, with the intention of providing greater coherence to the work of Methodism in Wales and the ability to respond more creatively to mission opportunities in both languages.

 

The initiative for this process came from the Synod Cymru Policy Committee meeting of November 2017, following prayerful consideration of the outcome of the Cymru Synod/Circuit Review of 2016-17. The sharing of resources and skills as the Methodist people in Wales has a strong missional imperative. At present, there are regions where only Welsh language Methodism exists; regions where there is only English language work; regions where there is a strong degree of overlap and regions where there is no Methodist presence at all. Neither Synod is lacking in financial reserves. Nevertheless, the intention to work together for the sake of the gospel, particularly in those regions in need of encouragement or new initiatives, represents good stewardship. In both Synods, there is a proportion of members whose first language is other than the professed language of the Synod: a Synod ministering in both languages would have value for them. Similarly, Welsh learners are found in the ministry and membership of both Synods, and as the learner community grows, so will opportunities to serve and minister to this group. The witness of a single Synod of the Methodist Church in Wales has the potential to demonstrate the all-embracing, unifying love of God in Christ and to offer a message of hope to a society that is sometimes divided. To this end, we are invited to enter into a prayerful process of consultation and consideration.
The Steering Group has envisaged that the new district could comprise:

  • The current 16 circuits in the two Synods
  • A Cymru Circuit which would have its own Superintendent minister (who would not be a Synod Chair) and which would fully retain its Welsh speaking identity, mission and ministry
  • 2 co-Chairs funded from the Methodist Church Fund
  • At least one Chair who would be bilingual in Welsh and English, or committed to learning the Welsh language;
  • One Chair residing in the north of Wales and one residing in the south of Wales and both sharing equally in connexional and district responsibilities and taking the pastoral lead for the circuits
  • 1 Synod Secretary and 1 Assistant Synod Secretary
  • A Synod Leadership Team which would include both co- Chairs and Synod Secretaries, the Synod Treasurer, and officers as defined
  • A Synod Policy Committee which would comprise the Synod Leadership Team plus representation from each of the 16 circuits (with representation varied to reflect the life of the Synod)
  • A Synod Office and Administrator in south Wales, supported in the provision of Welsh-language material by the Cymru Circuit Office and Administrator, located in the north.
  • A Synod web-site with material and information available in Welsh and English.

The new district would have the following meetings:

  • A Representative Synod which will meet at least annually
  • A Presbyteral Synod which will meet at least annually
  • X (tbc) meetings of the Synod Leadership Team per annum, (one as an overnight meeting with Superintendents)
  • X (tbc) meetings of the Synod Policy Committee per annum
  • Various committees (to reflect the life of the Synod)

Further work would need to be undertaken concerning meetings of the Synod, particularly as regards:

  • Purpose, number and makeup of various committees, taking into account the current structures of the two Synods, the requirements of CPD and also hearing from other Districts who have merged to create new structures recently
  • Frequency and location of meetings, with physical meetings being kept to a minimum and the time spent at them used most efficiently
  • Recognising the increasingly bilingual context, the development of a Welsh language policy which would address matters such as the need for all decision-making bodies of the Synod (eg Synod and SPC) to work and communicate bi-lingually supported by simultaneous translation; for committees engaging in ministry (eg Candidates and Probationers) to reflect the language of those involved; and for committees engaging in specialist matters (eg Property and Safeguarding) to use primarily the language enabling that specialist contribution to be made most effectively.
  • Money, which was not raised in the initial conversations and outline proposals because it was not a driving force behind the conversations. However, the Steering Group recognises that finance is an important issue, and so offers some initial thoughts now.

    The starting principle is that any new Synod would inherit the funds currently held by the existing two synods and Y Cyngor. Both existing Synods have substantial capital reserves which would be available to the new Synod to support its mission and ministry (and it will be important that these funds be available to support the mission and ministry of the new Synod as a whole, rather than viewed as monies originating from the previous synods.) There has been some concern expressed about any additional costs which may be incurred in terms of providing for meetings and translation in the new Synod and it will be important to make sure that such facilities are properly funded to enable them to be done well. However, it should also be noted that there may be some savings involved in any such coming together, as the role of Y Cyngor will come to an end, and the new Synod will have access to such reserves which are currently held by Y Cyngor (including the historic balance held over from the former Wales Training Network.)

 

In light of this, initially, the intention is for the working of the new Synod to be cost neutral in terms of revenue expenditure and assessment from circuits with any increase in operational costs being met from the substantial and enlarged capital reserves held by the new Synod. However, it should be noted that work will need to be undertaken on the overall grants policy of the new Synod, working on the basis that the maintenance and development of mission and ministry in the Welsh language is one of the key drivers in the life of the new Synod. It will also be important, in the light of experience gained from the recent coming together of circuits, that the new Synod moves towards a common system for budgeting and allocation of circuit assessments as soon as is practically possible.

The proposed timeline has been sketched out as follows:

  • Wales Synod Representative Session/ Cymru Synod Circuit Meeting – September 2018
    • Timeline, broad principles of the conversation, opportunity for questions and comments
  • Consultation in the Circuits – September through November 2018
  • Methodist Council – January 2019
    • Report on the scrutiny of the feedback from the Circuits
  • Both Policy Committees – February 2019
    • the two Committees agreeing the detailed proposals for the Synods
  • Representative Sessions of Synod – 30th March 2019
    • the Synods meet on the same day, at a time that enables the Council to receive the votes to inform its recommendation to the Conference
    • the Synods will vote on the formal proposals
  • Methodist Council – 6th-8th April 2019
    • will vote on the formal proposals, receiving the votes from the Synods
  • Methodist Conference – June/July 2019
    • will receive the recommendation from the Council and will vote on it

The Steering Group members are-

Revd Dr Jennie Hurd, Chair of Synod Cymru

Revd Dr Stephen Wigley, Chair of the Wales Synod

Revd Rosemarie Clarke, Secretary of the Wales Synod

Mr Graham Illingworth, Assistant Secretary of the Wales Synod

Mrs Maryl Rees, Secretary of the Synod Cymru Policy Committee

Mr Arfon Williams, Secretary of the Synod Cymru

Mr Doug Swanney, Connexional Secretary

Note – The Steering Group will continue to meet throughout this period to both reflect on the feedback arising from the consultation and to address the further work outlined in the paper in light of that.

 

August 2018

Working towards a new Synod of The Methodist Church in Wales

Working towards a new Synod of The Methodist Church in Wales

 

Proposal: that the two districts of The Methodist Church in Wales (Synod Cymru and the Wales Synod) work towards coming together to form one new district to be known as the Cymru Wales Synod, with the intention of providing greater coherence to the work of Methodism in Wales and the ability to respond more creatively to mission opportunities in both languages.

 

The initiative for this process came from the Synod Cymru Policy Committee meeting of November 2017, following prayerful consideration of the outcome of the Cymru Synod/Circuit Review of 2016-17. The sharing of resources and skills as the Methodist people in Wales has a strong missional imperative. At present, there are regions where only Welsh language Methodism exists; regions where there is only English language work; regions where there is a strong degree of overlap and regions where there is no Methodist presence at all. Neither Synod is lacking in financial reserves. Nevertheless, the intention to work together for the sake of the gospel, particularly in those regions in need of encouragement or new initiatives, represents good stewardship. In both Synods, there is a proportion of members whose first language is other than the professed language of the Synod: a Synod ministering in both languages would have value for them. Similarly, Welsh learners are found in the ministry and membership of both Synods, and as the learner community grows, so will opportunities to serve and minister to this group. The witness of a single Synod of the Methodist Church in Wales has the potential to demonstrate the all-embracing, unifying love of God in Christ and to offer a message of hope to a society that is sometimes divided. To this end, we are invited to enter into a prayerful process of consultation and consideration.
The Steering Group has envisaged that the new district could comprise:

  • The current 16 circuits in the two Synods
  • A Cymru Circuit which would have its own Superintendent minister (who would not be a Synod Chair) and which would fully retain its Welsh speaking identity, mission and ministry
  • 2 co-Chairs funded from the Methodist Church Fund
  • At least one Chair who would be bilingual in Welsh and English, or committed to learning the Welsh language;
  • One Chair residing in the north of Wales and one residing in the south of Wales and both sharing equally in connexional and district responsibilities and taking the pastoral lead for the circuits
  • 1 Synod Secretary and 1 Assistant Synod Secretary
  • A Synod Leadership Team which would include both co- Chairs and Synod Secretaries, the Synod Treasurer, and officers as defined
  • A Synod Policy Committee which would comprise the Synod Leadership Team plus representation from each of the 16 circuits (with representation varied to reflect the life of the Synod)
  • A Synod Office and Administrator in south Wales, supported in the provision of Welsh-language material by the Cymru Circuit Office and Administrator, located in the north.
  • A Synod web-site with material and information available in Welsh and English.

Statement: Principles for working towards a new Synod of The Methodist Church in Wales

STATEMENT

Principles for working towards a new Synod of The Methodist Church in Wales

(March 2018)
[This paper follows the decision of the Synod Cymru Policy Committee meeting in November 2017 to approach the Wales Synod to discuss the possibility of creating one new Synod of the Methodist Church in Wales. The Wales Synod Policy Committee meeting in February 2018 responded positively to this approach. Since then, a small group comprising both District Chairs, both Synod Secretaries and both District Policy Committee Secretaries has met twice to consider the matter. The second meeting was attended by Doug Swanney, the Connexional Secretary. The group now offers the following for consideration by both Synods.]

Proposal: that the two districts of The Methodist Church in Wales (Synod Cymru and the Wales Synod) work towards coming together to form one new district to be known as the Cymru Wales Synod, with the intention of providing greater coherence to the work of Methodism in Wales and the ability to respond more creatively to mission opportunities in both languages.
Within this process, the following principles will apply:
The new district would comprise:

  • The current 16 circuits in the two Synods
  • A Cymru Circuit which would have its own Superintendent minister (who would not be a Synod Chair)
  • 2 co-Chairs funded from the Methodist Church Fund
  • One of whom would be bilingual in Welsh and English, or committed to learn the Welsh language;
  • One residing in the north of Wales and one residing in the south of Wales and both sharing equally in connexional and district responsibilities and taking the pastoral lead for the circuits
  • 1 Synod Secretary and 1 Assistant Synod Secretary
  • A Synod Leadership Team which would include both co- Chairs and Synod Secretaries, the Synod Treasurer, and officers as defined
  • A Synod Policy Committee which would comprise the Synod Leadership Team plus representation from each of the 16 circuits (with representation varied to reflect the life of the Synod)
  • A Synod Office and Administrator in south Wales, supported in the provision of Welsh-language material by the Cymru Circuit Office and Administrator, located in the north.
  • A Synod web-site with material and information available in Welsh and English.

The new district would have the following meetings:

  • A Representative Synod which will meet at least annually
  • A Presbyteral Synod which will meet at least annually
  • X (tbc) meetings of the Synod Leadership Team per annum, (one as an overnight meeting with Superintendents)
  • X (tbc) meetings of the Synod Policy Committee per annum
  • Various committees (to reflect the life of the Synod)

Further work would need to be undertaken concerning meetings of the Synod, particularly as regards:

  • Purpose, number and makeup of various committees (referred to above)
  • Frequency and location of meetings, with physical meetings being kept to a minimum and the time spent at them used most efficiently
  • Development of a Welsh language policy which would address matters such as the need for all decision-making bodies of the Synod (eg Synod and SPC) to work and communicate bi-lingually supported by simultaneous translation; for committees engaging in ministry (eg Candidates and Probationers) to reflect the language of those involved; and for committees engaging in specialist matters (eg Property and Safeguarding) to use primarily the language enabling that specialist contribution to be made most effectively.

The proposed timeline is as follows:

  1. Methodist Council – April 2018
    Indicate the conversations that are underway, appoint scrutiny group who will, in due course, check that the feedback from the circuits is fairly represented in the report to the April Synods.
  2. Synod Cymru – Representative Session – April 2018
  3. Timeline, broad principles of the conversation, opportunity for questions and comments
  4. Both Policy Committees June/July 2018
    Update on progress to date
  5. Wales Synod – Representative Session – September 2018
    Timeline, broad principles of the conversation, opportunity for questions and comments
  6. Both Policy Committees – Autumn 2018
    Aim for model outline at the latest and start process of consultation with the Circuits
  7. Methodist Council – January 2019
    Report on the scrutiny of the feedback from the Circuits
  8. Both Policy Committees – February 2019
    the two Committees agreeing the proposals for the Synods
  9. Methodist Council – April 2019
    will vote on the formal proposals, receiving the votes from the Synod while it meets
  10. Representative Sessions of Synod – April 2019
    the Synods meet on the same day, at a time that enables the Council to receive the votes to inform its recommendation to the Conference
    the Synods will vote on the formal proposals
  11. Methodist Conference – June/July 2019
    will receive the recommendation from the Council and will vote on it

 

ENDS

Reviewing the Life of the Cymru Synod and Circuit: A Statement Following the Meeting of the Cymru Synod Policy Committee, 16 November 2017

In their meeting in July 2017, the Cymru Synod Policy Committee asked the members of the Synod Executive Committee to come back to them in their next meeting in November with a proposal for a way forward in response to the process of Reviewing the Life of the Cymru Synod and Circuit. This was because of the insufficient response to the decision of the Synod meeting in April 2017 to create six small groups to work on the themes that arose from the consultation process as part of the review, and because of the failure of the Policy Committee to form a response itself to the situation in its meeting in July.

The Executive Committee prepared a proposal with two options, and sent this proposal to the members of the Policy Committee in October with the papers for the meeting. The members of the Policy Committee were asked to share the proposal with people in the Areas and to seek their opinion. The text of the proposal was as follows:

Option 1: In light of the response that came out of the review of the life of the Cymru Synod and Circuit, the Synod Cymru Policy Committee proposes that we give serious consideration to bringing the Synod to an end, and that we discuss with the Wales Synod the possibility of creating one Synod, the Synod of the Methodist Church in Wales, making arrangements for the Cymru Circuit to continue as a Welsh-language Circuit within the Synod.

If this proposal is not acceptable to the Policy Committee, the Executive Committee proposes a second option, namely:

Option 2: Accepting the importance of the six themes that came out of the process of reviewing the life of the Cymru Synod/Circuit, and regretting the insufficiency of volunteers for the groups that were to be formed to work on the themes following the Synod of 2017, the Synod Cymru Policy Committee agrees:
(i) to extend the opportunity for people to volunteer for the groups until the end of the calendar year 2017;
(ii) to commit as members of the Policy Committee to encourage members of the chapels and Areas to volunteer, and to volunteer ourselves;
(iii) to support and to encourage the small groups in their task of preparing recommendations for the Synod meeting in 2018 for how to develop the life of the Synod and the Circuit under the six themes;
(iv) to accept that if there are not at least 3-4 volunteers for the six groups by 31 December 2017, the review process will have come to an end.

A vote was held on the proposal in the Policy Committee meeting in Ruthin on 16 November 2017. 18 people were present, with 16 voting. 9 voted in favour of Option 1 and 7 against. Recognising the closeness of the vote, it is important to understand the initial nature of the decision: the intention at present is to contact the officers of the Wales Synod and to ask for conversations to consider the possibilities, and nothing more. The Executive Committee will report back to the Policy Committee in its meeting in February 2018, and then to the Synod in April, whatever the outcome. In the meantime, the Synod Executive will be happy to receive comments and questions from members of Synod Cymru to feed into the conversation with representatives of the Wales Synod.

 

 

 

Visitors from the Wales-Jamaica Exchange at the 2017 Eisteddfod

It was lovely to welcome 11 visitors from the Methodist Church of Jamaica to Wales during the summer as part of the Wales-Jamaica Youth Exchange. After spending time at Amelia Farm in the south, and working in children’s summer clubs, the group spent a weekend at a camp for young people from Synod Cymru and Wales Synod in the Abernant Centre, then a few days in Aberystwyth before coming to Anglesey and the National Eisteddfod.

photo

The group was welcomed in the Churches’ Tent on the Eisteddfod field by Owain Morgan and Gruffydd Davies of Synod Cymru. Next, the group went on to spend a little time in Bangor before going to London to visit some of the historic sites of John Wesley and the Methodist Church, before flying home. Thanks be to God for an exchange visit that has enriched the life of the Wales Synod and Synod Cymru, and especially the lives of the young people who took part.