A Change of Emphasis

MWM warmly congratulates Mike King on his appointment as Vice-President of the Methodist Conference for the year 2012-13.

It’s been an extraordinary year and a half in the King household! The birth of our first grandson, Barnabas, in January 2011 set the ball rolling, changed perspectives. Soon afterwards, Isabel and I heard that Mary and Luke (our son-in-law) would be moving to Banbury for his curate’s post. The general feeling all round was that it would be good to move closer to them! Then Tim (our son) and Hilary produced George in August. So as we looked for a new home, I wondered if a longer commute was a good idea, and realised that the objectives I had set myself as Team Leader of WCR in 2000 had largely been achieved.

Obviously things change over a decade, but I took over from Winston Graham with a number of intentions, namely: to see through the church autonomy of the last overseas District – The Gambia; to establish the place of ethnic fellowships within the Methodist Church in Britain on a more official footing; and to develop the sense of mature partnerships with Churches around the world, building on important foundations laid down by MCOD. There had been significant disruption during the Team Focus process, which resulted in staff cuts and re-ordering of responsibilities in 2007/08 and a reduced World Church Relationships ‘sub-cluster’; but during the early part of 2011 it also became clear that there was a renewed Connexional Team understanding of the importance of World Church work; we were in calmer waters, and the time was right for new leadership.

Knowing that I would be leaving the Connexional Team, and after much prayer, it seemed the right time to put my name forward as Vice-President; and just before Conference 2011 I saw a job in the Methodist Recorder for a layworker post in the Banbury Circuit. Within one week in July 2011 I was elected as VP, interviewed and appointed to the Banbury post. And we found a house!

I am still completely involved in mission. Instead of managing work with Churches worldwide, I am encouraging village churches to believe in the value of what they are doing for the Kingdom. Being ‘light and salt’ wherever we are in the world – personally, as small churches, as national Churches – to be Christ’s presence, and to make a difference. Moreover, as VP going around the Connexion, the message will be the same: we need to be faithful, we have much to learn from each other (globally and locally – or ‘Glocally’!). Together we have so much to offer to a needy world, but the main focus of mission activity is always the local group of Christians, albeit in very different geographical locations and contexts.

Yes, it’s been such an exciting 18 months. I hope to share with many of you as I travel around the Connexion as VP at week-ends. And I did manage to mention MWM in the Conference sermon in Plymouth!

Mike King

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