The 214th Annual Meeting took place at The Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick over the weekend of 3-4 August. Many people gathered at Swanwick on Friday evening for an informal time of fellowship, with the business of Annual Meeting taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
The first item of business was the election of Dorothy Kendrick from Roman Road church, Failsworth, who then took the chair for the weekend. She had already assisted in planning the order of business and the spiritual aspects of the meeting, which featured a service of lament and repentance on Saturday evening, with the usual communion service moved to be the final event on Sunday, to put a seal on the proceedings.
The major piece of business was the proposed changes to the Constitution, which were agreed. These need to be ratified by Annual Meeting 2020 before they can take effect. However, the meeting encouraged the IM Association to submit the proposed new Articles of Association to the Charity Commission for their approval. The Articles were last revised in 1927 and are out of step with current charity legislation. While there was some concern that churches had not had enough time to review the changes, it was pointed out that the proposals had been reviewed by a small group that was conversant with Independent Methodist theology and practice. Also, if there are any difficulties with the new Articles, changes can easily be made – we do not have to wait another 90 years before a major review!
There are just a few personnel changes to note. Graham O’Nions has had to step down from Connexional work for health reasons, and Brian Rowney is now combining the roles of General Secretary and Association Secretary.
Annual Meeting ended on an optimistic note. Some discussion on the governance review had, at times, been emotional, but there is a genuine desire to move on, which was sealed both with the service of lament and the communion service on Sunday afternoon. Let us all seek to extend God’s Kingdom in the places where he has put us.
A fuller report of Annual Meeting will be produced, as usual, in the next edition of the “Connexion” magazine.