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.

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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.

Reviewing the Life of the Cymru Synod/Circuit – The Latest

You will remember that it was agreed at the Synod meeting in Aberystwyth in 2016 to conduct a review of the life of the Cymru Synod and Circuit under the leadership of the Synod/Circuit Executive Committee in order to seek God’s will for us for the future. Following the process of conducting the review, seeking the opinion of individuals, churches and Areas during 2016-17, it became clear in the interpretation process that six main themes were being outlined in the responses and that those were the themes God was calling us to focus on as we continue to seek his way forward as the Cymru Synod/Circuit. This was accepted in the Synod meeting in Wrexham in April 2017 and it was agreed to establish six small groups to work on the six themes in order to come back to the Synod meeting in 2018 with further recommendations as to how to develop the life of the Synod/Circuit under the themes. In the Synod and other meetings, in an article in The Gwyliedydd (June-July 2017) and on the Synod website, those who were interested in one (or more) of the themes, and who were willing to volunteer to join a group, were asked to get in touch with the relevant Contact Person by 10th July so these could be put before the July 2017 Policy Committee in order to move forward. The Synod/Circuit Executive Committee decided that each group should have a minimum membership of 3-4 and the Policy Committee would decide on the next steps in the case of groups where there were not sufficient names.

To remind you, here are the groups and the convenor of each one:

Spiritual life (Delyth Wyn Davies)
Work with children/families (Jon Miller)
Language – bilingualism/learners (Stephen Roe)
reaching out to the community (Maryl Rees)
Communication (Ffion Rowlinson)
Working together (ecumenically, in the Methodist Church and as the Synod/Circuit) (Ian Morris)

The outcome of the process was that only one name came forward in the case of each of these groups. Taking the point already made that a minimum of 3-4 was needed for each group, this means that it was not possible to establish the groups at that time, making it necessary for the Policy Committee to consider this carefully in its July meeting, seeking God’s will and leadership for the way forward.

The July Policy Committee spent time talking about the matter in groups, considering three questions:

1 How do you respond to what you have just heard? (feelings, reasons, implications)
2 What do you think God is saying to us about this, and about the six themes?
3 What is your opinion on how we should move forward? What are the next steps?

In a long and deep conversation, the members of the Policy Committee expressed a number of points, including their disappointment, their frustration with problems of communication, their concern about apathy and indifference, their questions about the furture of the Synod and the Circuit and whether there is the desire to move forward. In the end, it was not possible to come to a definite proposal about what to do next. It was suggested that the matter should go back to the Synod/Circuit Executive Committee meeting in September 2017 so that a proposal could be prepared on a way forward to be put before the next Policy Committee in November. This was agreed. May God give wisdom and courage to all as we consider the future of the Cymru Synod and Circuit.

Connexional Secretary at Cymru Synod Policy Committee

It was a pleasure to welcome Mr Doug Swanney, the Connexional Secretary, to the meeting of the Synod Cymru Policy Committee in Horeb Chapel, Colwyn Bay, on Tuesday 14 February 2017. Doug spoke about his role, and shared his observations on how Synod Cymru’s agenda echoes the priorities of the Connexion. Everyone was encouraged by his news about the worldwide Methodist family and by his commitment to respond to the special context of Synod Cymru, not least as a Welsh-speaking district. Thanks were expressed to Doug for travelling from London so early in the morning to meet with us.

Doug

Mr Doug Swanney with Revd Marty Presdee and Revd Ian Morris

Llywio/Navigate: a new resource for Bible study groups

A new Bible study resource for groups, Llywio/Navigate, is available on the Methodist Church website http://www.methodist.org.uk/navigate. It’s suitable for groups of all ages and especially for people without a lot of experience of discussing the Bible. It includes a PDF document with all the sessions and two PowerPoint presentations as part of session 1. Also on the website there are resources in English such as animations and videos that can be downloaded and used with the session. Cyhoeddiadau’r Gair will be producing the Welsh text as a book soon. Llywio is the Methodist Church in Wales’ contribution to the Bible Byw campaign that is currently taking place across all the Welsh language denominations.

Jamaica Exchange Trip Photo Gallery

Deacon Jonathan Miller’s pictures of the Synod Cymru and Wales Synod young people’s exchange trip to Jamaica 2016.

Gatwick compressed At Gatwick airport, Saturday 16.07.16 (On the right, Revd Cathy Gale)

Gatwick 2 compressedReady to go, Sunday 17.07.16

Wedi cyrraedd compressedArrived! Montego Bay airport

Ymlacio compressedAn opportunity to relax, Monday 18.0716 (Wearing his hat, Deacon Jonathan Miller)

Off to camp compressedAbout to go to work in the Jamaican Methodist Church’s youth camps, Tuesday 19.07.16

 

And in the camps…

Bus compressedTable compressedSea compressedGoing to church, Sunday 24.07.16

Capel 1 compressedCapel 2 compressedcapel 3Sunday night dinner

Cinio nos sul compressedLast morning at camp

bore olaf compressedOn next to Kingston, and the Holiday Club in Jamaica’s National Children’s Home.NCH 2 compressedNCH 1 compressed

 

The Methodist Conference 2016

The Methodist Conference was held this year at Methodist Central Hall Westminster in London between Saturday 2nd and Thursday 3rd July

Cymru reps 2016

Five representatives from Synod Cymru, including the Chair, joined hundreds of other people to pray, worship, discuss and decide about the life of our denomination

2016-SR

More information about the Conference is available on www.methodistconference.org.uk

Synod 2016

The Synod was held this year in Aberystwyth on 23 April. A warm welcome awaited representatives there, including our guest speaker, Revd Gareth Powell, Secretary of the Methodist Conference.

Among other decisions, the synod agreed to move to a third theme for our project “Developing Our Calling” for 2016-17, namely Service. The Synod also agreed to carry out a review of its life and mission as the Cymru Synod and Circuit during the coming connexional year.

Many thanks to the Ceredigion friends for all their preparations for the Synod, and to everyone for their willing work and contributions.

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Visit of the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

It was a privilege and a blessing to welcome the Revd Steve Wild and Dr Jill Barber, President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference 2015-16, to Synod Cymru and Wales Synod between Thursday 17 and Sunday 20 March 2016. They arrived in Shrewsbury on Thursday morning. After spending time with members of both Synods in a meeting of Y Cyngor, Revd Steve Wild went onto South Wales with Revd Dr Stephen Wigley, Chair of Wales Synod. Dr Jill Barber spent the afternoon visiting the Tanat Valley, Powys, with the Chair of Synod Cymru. Jill received a warm welcome with tea and a chat in Tabernacl chapel, Llanfyllin, before going onto be enchanted by the beauty of Pennant Melangell. The afternoon ended with a visit to Seion Chapel, Llanrhaeadr YM, and a warm welcome, tea and chat there once again. Many thanks to all.

On Friday afternoon, while the Vice-President was visiting Aberystwyth (where her husband, Peter, was a minister, some twenty years ago), the President joined members of Synod Cymru on a visit to Mary Jones World near Bala. The centre, which tells the story of Mary Jones and her Bible, made a big impression on Steve, and he was delighted to receive a copy of beibl.net, the new translation, as a gift from the Synod. It was a complete coincidence that Mary Jones’ Bible itself was visiting Bala at the same time, so everyone had the chance to see the Bible at Barclays Bank in the town at the end of the afternoon.

Following a meal in the manse of Revd Sue Lawler (formerly of Synod Cymru but now Superintendent of the Welshpool and Bro Hafren Circuit) on Friday evening, Revd Steve Wild and Dr Jill Barber were together on Saturday morning in St Paul’s, Abergele. The theme of the meeting was their theme for this year, namely “Heritage and Mission”. In the evening, the President joined members of the Buckley and Deeside Circuit for tea, before spending the night with Revd Phil and Mrs Catherine Barnett. On Sunday morning, Revd Steve Wild preached in St John’s Church, Llandudno, in the presence of several members of Synod Cymru, before flying the Isle of Man for Holy Week. The Vice-President’s responsibility on Sunday was to lead a service to remember Conscientious Objectors at Englesea Brook, the Methodist Church’s museum in Staffordshire where she is director. The year is very busy for both of them, so we pray every blessing on Steve and Jill as they travel on in the name of the Connexion and of our Lord.