Do we really need to change?

As the District Development journey continues, the One Circuit group is saying “Yes” – and here’s why.

See the One Circuit proposal

Yes, our membership is continuing to fall and our structures are out of date.

Our current ways of working are not bringing new people into the Methodist Community in Scotland . In the past 5 years our membership has fallen from 2,893 to 2,403 – a decline of 17%. We need to do things differently if we are to extend our call to discipleship and mission and grow the Methodist Community in Scotland. We need to look beyond the ways we have always done things and find new ways of engaging with, and ministering to, people. Our current structures have been designed for the ‘traditional church’: we need to find new ways to continue to support the traditional and also minister to the new.

Yes, there is a trend towards fewer presbyteral ministers and more diaconal ministers.

The numbers of people candidating for the presbyteral ministry of ‘word and sacrament’ has been falling in recent years. Conversely the numbers of people candidating for the diaconal ministry of ‘witness and service’ has been rising. This change in patterns of ministry, reflected across the connexion, will bring new possibilities in the future and we need to ensure we are ready to take advantage of these changes.

Yes, we want to bring back more partnership between lay and ordained.

The Methodist Community in Scotland has not always been successful in achieving shared leadership between lay and ordained people. In some places, for various reasons, leadership has been exercised almost exclusively by ordained ministers. At our roots, however, Methodism is about shared leadership between lay and ordained – evident and embedded in our structures of church councils, circuit meetings and synod. We have a wide variety of people involved in lay ministries, paid and voluntary, including: lay pastors; local preachers; treasurers; secretaries; worship leaders; youth workers and other lay role. We want to ensure these gifts and talents are placed firmly at the heart of our structures.

Yes, people are offering to do more – let’s say yes!

One key way we can achieve what our vision sets out is to do is to accept and build on people’s willingness to do more. Some people are ready and willing to consider taking on new responsibilities to take forward the Methodist Community. Some are interested in exploring the idea of what it means to be a ‘Pastor’ in a local church. Others are expressing interest in leading small groups, running Holiness and Risk locally, and being supported in building partnerships with others around social justice, discipleship, and ecumenical relationships. If we are to grow the Methodist Community we need to find better ways to support these people in their calling and walk alongside them on their journey.

On the 15 September, the Scotland Synod will discuss the recommendations from the ‘One Circuit Group’ (OCG) and the ways we move ahead. Following this the OCG, in partnership with the circuits, will be creating spaces for people to come together to help to share and discuss the emerging ideas and structures. These include an open gathering in Perth which everyone is warmly invited to attend:

Gathering in Perth on Saturday 20 October
Meet in fellowship to talk about our future.
People with a Mission Centre, Riggs Road, Perth
11am and 3pm – lunch provided
If you would like to be kept informed about the meetings around Scotland in the autumn, including the meeting in Perth on the 20 October, please contact the district office –


OCG Report to Synod (Opens in new window)
Autumn 2012 Synod Resolution regarding OCG (Opens in new window)

Summer 2012

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