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


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



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.


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.

The Methodist Conference 2017

News about the Methodist Conference 2017 is available on the Methodist Church website:

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.


Mr Doug Swanney with Revd Marty Presdee and Revd Ian Morris