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