Talk:Governance of the British Methodist Church

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I have tentatively assessed this as Start class (which is probably right) and High Importance (which might well be wrong). My reason for the latter is that for non-Methodists to understand how our church works, articles like these are important. David_FLXD (Talk) 20:35, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

This page draws largely upon my personal experience growing up in English Methodism, as well as my more recent studies in Methodist history.

Please treat this as a draft rather than a completed work. I have taken this title because the Circuit has such a significant place in Methodism as organised by John Wesley, and therefore is the subject of frequent references. It is perhaps the easiest starting point to discuss Methodist structures, analogous to using the human size as a starting point, with telescopes and microscopes to view larger and smaller objects.

It may be more logical, however, to have the Circuit as a sub-section of an article on Methodist Structures (organisation).

Robert of Ramsor (talk) 23:01, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Diagrams[edit]

I have added 3 diagrams. The one for the Circuits in 1746 is only illustrative. It is not accurate in terms of exact borders, nor for East Anglia.

The diagrams used in the Case Study - Wetton and Longnor are ones I drew for the Rewlach Methodist history web site. I know of nothing else as informative for this case study. The map, however, could be updated with information to hand since my original drawing. Certainly it would look diferent if drawn for Primitive Methodism. Robert of Ramsor (talk) 17:47, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Comment[edit]

This page seems to provide information on a significant aspect of the Methodist organizational structure, and is very welcome for doing such. Content regarding various dioceses and the like of other churches exist, and there is no reason to assume that such shouldn't exist for Methodist structure as well. I acknowledge a personal lack of information on the subject, so am not qualified to make any comments regarding the content. However, it might be a good idea, if sufficient sourcing can be found to seperate out at least some of the Wetton and Longnor content into a separate article, placing the specific details there and keeping the less specific information on the general structure of the circuit here. John Carter (talk) 19:07, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Word of thanks[edit]

In no special order, firstly thanks to those who have come along and made corrections to bring my information up to date. Having not been in Methodist membership since 1982, I am drawing very much on my upbringing as a "son of the manse" and a Local Preacher (including Secretary to a Local Preacher's Meeting). Even though things changed in the 1970s, the old names are still engraved in my thinking. Perhaps we can edit this to give both the old and the new names?

Thanks to John Carter for your kind comments. The Wetton and Longnor Circuit is a special interest of mine, not least having lived there as the son of the penultimate Minister. But I'm not sure that it is any more suitable to be taken out of this Methodist Circuit article than the history of any other single Circuit. I am reluctant to add to the information here, but thought that by presenting it as a case study, it would illustrate some of the general principles, a bit like in another context a photo can illustrate or verify encyclopaedic content. I am open to suggestions on this at a later date, when the Methodism project has been worked on a bit more. Robert of Ramsor (talk) 23:27, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Southern Africa[edit]

I think you have a very good idea here. I would suggest that we offer the structure articles as a set of individual articles (otherwise they might, in time, become too cumbersome). So, one article on what is a Connexion / Conference, one on a District, a Circuit (where used), a Society, a Class - and an umbrella article showing how they all fit together.

For input, I can supply the Southern African Connexion's Laws and Discipline in .pdf format. In the meantime, we have kept the structures we inherited from the British / Wesleyan Methodist tradition. We have one Conference which includes most of the countries in Southern Africa: South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. I might have missed one or two. We have changed the office titles of "President" to "Presiding Bishop" and "Chairman" ("Chairperson"?) to "Bishop" or "District Bishop" (same thing), but not the way those office bearers are elected, nor are those titles permanent. I believe our terms of office might be a little longer than yours now. A South African District typically would include twenty-something Circuits (depending on the population density, urban vs. rural etc.), and each Circuit would typically have from three to six Societies. The size of Societies (congregations, to any non-Methodists reading this) varies very widely, from around 1 500 down to a couple of dozen members.

Something that I believe is probably quite different in Southern Africa is the strength and visibility of the church organizations: the Women's Manyano (Women's Guild), the Young Men's Guild (usually includes some members of over 70 years old!), the Wesley Guild (youth). All of these have defined uniforms, which members wear proudly to church on Sundays and on special occasions. Our Local Preachers' Association is also very strong, if not always (my personal opinion) as disciplined as it should be.

How Classes function also varies widely. In the traditionally black Societies they are often, but by no means always, used as the main means of receiving pledges and other funds. In the traditionally white Societies they mostly function as casual Bible study / fellowship groups. However, the lines are beginning to blur. My home church is "traditionally white", but membership is now about divided (or united!) 50:50 on race/colour lines. So the way classes are run, and their role in the Society, is also beginning to change.

I do think that the structures articles should try to take a "world" approach, noting the variations and peculiarities of each Connexion or global area at the level of each structural unit. I noted you very clearly saying that your article is a draft, so please don't think I'm criticizing its British focus. Where else could you have started? It will nevertheless help all of us a great deal to have this starting point to build on.

David_FLXD (Talk) 20:31, 21 July 2012 (UTC)