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Restructuring

Since Methodist Union, there have been two major periods of organizational change, in the early 1970s and the early 1990s.

With regard to local and circuit structure, a committee reported to the 1970 Conference with proposals for replacing the 'dual control' of the local church through the trustees and leaders\' meetings with a single Church Council having oversight over the church's life and working usually through various defined committees. Provision was made for lay persons to chair such committees. The replacement, in official usage, of the term 'society' by 'local church' was also a significant change. The committee further recommended a considerable reduction in the size and minimum number of meetings of the Circuit Quarterly Meeting, re-naming it Circuit Meeting, again with specified circuit committees to be appointed.

These changes came into effect in 1974, except that it was not until the 'appointed day' under the Methodist Church Act 1976, i.e. April 16 1977, that model trust property became vested in custodian trustees and the Church Council and Circuit Meeting assumed responsibility as managing trustees. Since then, particularly in 1992-3, the Conference has approved considerable 'de-regulation' with regard to local and circuit structures and constitution of meetings.Connexional re-organization resulted from the Report on Departmental Structure and Function to the Conference of 1969. From 1973, various connexional bodies, committees and boards were formed into new groupings, comprising (in addition to the General Purposes Committee and President\'s Council) seven Divisions, responsible respectively for: Education and Youth, Finance, Home Mission, Ministries, Overseas Mission, Property and Social Responsibility. Each was headed by a General Secretary and oversight exercised by an elected Divisional Board.

The President's Council's Report on Divisional Structure and Function in 1992 recommended that to achieve more effective and flexible use of resources a more unified structure was required. The Methodist Council assumed responsibility for the oversight of the work formerly under the Divisional Boards, and also took over the functions of the General Purposes Committee and President\'s Council, all these bodies being abolished. From 1996 the work carried out in the Divisions became the responsibility of a single Connexional Team, led by four Co-ordinating Secretaries. From 2003 that leadership has been exercised by the General Secretary of the Methodist Church, who is also the Secretary of the Conference, and by six Co-ordinating Secretaries.

Sources

  • Conference Agendas: 1969, pp.538-58; 1970, pp.39-88; 1992, pp.605-30; 1993, pp.650-96; 1995, pp.766-827
  • Report on the Restructuring of the Church: To be referred to the May 1973 Synods
  • Thomas Shaw in WHS Proceedings 41 pp.129-132
  • G. Thompson Brake, Policy and Politics in British Methodism 1932-1982 (1984) pp.77-87

Entry written by: SRH
Category: Subject

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