Since 2000, the Methodist Church in Britain has described our calling under four themes, namely service, learning and caring, evangelism and worship: the ” Our Calling” scheme. The four themes appear on every membership ticket, and they are behind every policy and activity of the church.
In Synod Cymru, we have recently been discussing our calling once again in the Policy Committee and the Circuit Meeting, among other places. It’s good to talk, but action is needed as well. With the support of the Executive Committee and the Policy Committee, the Synod has adopted a process for us to follow as we look towards developing our calling.
“Our Calling” has four themes. Over the next four years from September 2014, the Synod has decided to choose one of these themes for each church year as a focus for the lives of our chapels and Areas, giving a framework to help us develop our calling. The theme will be chosen in the Synod meeting during the previous year. Following this, in the months leading up to September, the chapels and Areas will be invited to discuss and consider their choice of relevant activity/activities to develop in their lives as Christian communities in the coming twelve months. It will completely possible to do this ecumenically, across denominations or languages, as a group of chapels within an Area, or in any way which is appropriate to the context. There is no need for the activities to be complex – very often, something simple works best. There is not even any need for any chapel or Area to take part: this is completely up to them. Flexibility is the key word – every chapel and Area is free to choose to do whatever is appropriate to their particular context. Following a launch event, with the opportunity to come together to explore possible activities, Delyth Wyn Davies, our Learning and Development Officer, and Rev Jennie Hurd, as Chair, will be available to help and support.
At the start of the new church year in September, we come together (for example, in the Circuit Meeting). This gives the opportunity for us to tell each other, as Areas, what activities have been chosen for the coming twelve months. During the year, other opportunities arise in meetings of the Synod and the Circuit to share stories about how things are going and to encourage each other. Then, towards the end of the year, the process will begin again with a new theme. There will be no need to give up any activity that is already taking place – if the activity from the previous year is working, it will be completely possible for the new activity under the new theme to work alongside it.
Towards the end of the four year period, the process will be reviewed and we will think about what to do next in order to move forward and continue to develop our calling in the future.
For the year 2014-2015, the Synod chose the theme of Learning and Caring, so that we could focus on growing in our faith and preparing for the activities of the other themes. For the year 2015-2016, the Synod has chosen the theme of Worship, and for 2016-17, Service is the theme. The invitation is extended to every chapel and Area as we seek to develop our calling and to look towards the future.