Synod Spring 2016

Synod was welcomed to Penrith Methodist Church by the Circuit Superintendent, Rev Dave Milner, with worship led by Rev Tom Cooke and members of the circuit. Letters of care and concern included those to be sent relating to the unexpected decision to close Westerley Care Home in Grange over Sands and also to the United Methodist Church in Canada following the devastating fires. Special appreciation was expressed for financial support received from the Connexion to support flood relief in Cumbria.

The District’s commitment to ecumenical relationships was affirmed by:

·         the approval of two LEPs

·         the inclusion of the Salvation Army in the covenanted partnership with the Methodist, Anglican and United Reformed Churches

·         the passing of a resolution to progress towards a Covenanted Partnership in an Extended Area in Cumbria

·         the presentation of the ecumenical REACH team supporting the ‘God for All’ strategy across the county.

Exciting new initiatives included Deacon Melanie Beaven’s work centring on the use of a YURT, offering new opportunities for developing spirituality and outreach.  A focus on spirituality included the special impact on individuals of the programme ‘Nourishing the Soul’ led by Rev Jeff Thomas and new church fresh expressions ‘Journey to Christmas’ and ‘Experiencing Easter’, introduced by Revs Jo Rand and Phil Jackson. Synod was enriched by the inter faith experience of lay worker Katrina McKewan.

Five workshops offered valuable resources and special insights into:

·         ‘Is Methodist History Relevant Today’

·         ‘Dementia Friendly Church’

·         ‘Everyone Welcome’

·         ‘Eco-Church’

·         ‘Christian Aid’. 

Further resources available included ‘Our Daily Bread Ministries Resources’ managed by David Piggott, ‘Lasting Legacy’ and ‘Word on Wood’ sculptures.

Rev Rachel Williams reported on the ‘Marriage and Relationships’ conversations which have proved valuable in helping to prepare for further journeying together with this important area in the life of the church.

The Chair paid tribute to ministers leaving the District and also expressed special appreciation of the outstanding contribution given to the District by Martyn Evans, the outgoing Methodist Council representative.

Following a time of thanksgiving for ministers and preachers who have died, Rev Dave Milner led the closing worship. This special day of fellowship was enhanced by the generous hospitality received from Penrith Circuit.

Irene McKay – Cumbria District Synod Secretary