Reception into Full Connexion
The Methodist Conference receives into Full Connexion with itself those who are called to exercise an Ordained ministry specifically through the Methodist Church. When they are received into Full Connexion ministers (both presbyters and deacons) enter a covenant relationship with the Conference.
At the heart of this mutual relationship, made possible through God's grace, both the ministers and the Conference have appropriate privileges and responsibilities.
After Reception into Full Connexion, ordinands usually go to their venues to be Ordained. I was going to be received into Full Connexion in Telford and Ordained in Wellington.
At first, I was sad not to be Received into Full Connexion and Ordained physically. I was sad not to be standing with my good friends. Instead, we were received into Full Connexion on Zoom. But let's be honest so many people have lost a loved one or had to cancel things due to Covid-19, so why should we (The Methodist Church) be any different.
I would like to thank the Methodist Church for making it a meaningful service.
Sisters and brothers, we are ready to admit you into Full Connexion with this Conference.
Being in Full Connexion means that a presbyter is entitled to the full status and privileges, and is subject to all the obligations of a presbyter of the Methodist Church.
Do you accept these obligations and you confirm that you believe and will preach our doctrines and that you will faithfully observe and administer our discipline as determined by the Conference?
I was able to say 'I do' with pride.
I had tears when hearing 'we receive you into Full Connexion' because I am truly humbled to minister to wonderful people.
How many people can say they were Received into Full Connexion from their manse with colleagues and friends from locations across the nations watching?
Reception into Full Connexion was the engagement party and the Ordination will be the wedding. I have met some wonderful friends on this journey and it was great celebrating with them virtually.
At the conference, we may disagree on certain business items, but what we can come together and agree on is celebrating ordinations because we are a connexion.
But what does connexion mean?
This is what Paul says...
John Wesley on Connexion...
"Do not allow yourself one thought of separating from your brothers and sisters, whether their opinions agree with yours or not."
Wesley also says...
Wesley is basically saying you can attend church every Sunday or know everything about scripture, but you need each other as the body of Christ.
The circuit I minister is connected with different cultures and traditions coming together and learning from each other. This is needed in the world today and we can be the ones who show the world how to learn from all cultures and traditions.
I want to thank the New River Circuit for welcoming me and Helen with open arms and allowing me to grow during my probation period. Thank you to the churches I minister (Holly Park, Middle Lane and Muswell Hill) for all the messages of support I have received. I am truly blessed to have supportive colleagues and I have learnt so much from their ministry. As circuit staff and circuit, we are connected as the body of Christ. I pray this will be the circuit that shows the rest of Connexion of what celebrating diversity looks like. I pray this will be the circuit where lay ministry is celebrated. We are blessed to keep having people called to local preaching and the youngest of those is 16 years old. This can be the circuit that can live with different opinions and respect each other because we are the Body of Christ. We can live in unity.
Thank you to family and friends for joining me from all over the UK especially in Hull, Harrogate and London. Helen and I have met some wonderful people and you have made this journey special. Helen and I have not seen some of our family members since November, but we are connected thanks to Zoom.
Finally, my final thanks must go to my Helen who is my rock. Helen has supported me throughout this journey. She's moved with me to Harrogate and now London. Helen has moved jobs and given so much up so she can move with me. We are a team and we do things together. Marriage is a connection and should always be celebrated and acknowledged within the Methodist Church especially to ministers and their spouses. Helen and I do ministry together.
Friends, I celebrate that we are all part of the Body of Christ.