Webteam: May 2019
We share the same Methodist heritage and both John and Charles Wesley travelled freely and often between the two islands of Britain and Ireland. John Wesley chaired the first Irish Conference in Limerick and until recently the British Methodist President of Conference also presided at the Irish Methodist Conference.
Like England there is an equal representation of clergy and laity, but Ireland has no Diaconate order, and in Ireland the vice-president is called the Lay Leader and serves a three-year term rather than the year British vice-presidents serve.
Lay Leader of the Methodist Church in Ireland is Lynda Neilands.
"It is such a joy to be part of the Methodist family. My faith has been formed and nurtured within it and I have learnt from the many great examples of discipleship I have encountered along the way. I feel enormously privileged to be stepping into the role of Lay leader. My hope would be to encourage folk to walk with God and to share that walk with others in the days ahead."
It is great to have Lynda with us at the end of June for the circuit service, she brings so many gifts and graces, and I am sure will encourage us in our calling and our continued walk with God.
The circuit service at the end of June also marks Rev. John's twenty years in Methodist ministry, he was commissioned at the Methodist Conference in Cork twenty years ago in June 1999, and will return to that city to attend conference again this year. Before entering the ordained ministry, John was a youth and community worker for the church, and his first boss was Lynda's husband David. Lynda and David, when he was alive, took an interest in John's ministerial development and were an encouragement. Their twin boys that John, as part of a youth team, baby-sat are now grown up and John has used Chris's resources in worship on this circuit — continuing the link with the Neilands family. (Check out
The Irish Connexion is changing this year from eight districts to three but appointing separate chairs (District Superintendents in Ireland) for the first time. Please pray for the Irish Church as it goes through this period of change.
One of those new District Superintendents is Rev Dr Stephen Skuce, who has served like John here in Britain and is from Rev John's home church of Dungannon, as is the incoming Irish President Rev Sam McGuffin. It was a church that encouraged its young people and equipped them for ministry, it enabled people to hear God's call on their lives and have the courage to respond in faith. May we as a circuit in Bishop Auckland and Shildon encourage each other to also hear God's call, and to respond by following wherever Christ leads us.
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Bishop Auckland Methodist Church