Logo: The Methodist Church
This is our governing body at the local (congregational) level, if you like, and consists of about 18-25 people, full communicant members of our congregation, who have either been voted on to the Council (or sometimes just appointed), or are there ex-officio e.g. the minister and any staff, the society steward, the circuit steward, the treasurer, and the secretary of the Council
These are the different areas in which we operate:
Christian Life and Witness
Youth and Children
Finance and Property
Communications & IT
Each Workgroup has a chairperson/leader, and a secretary (if they're lucky) and they meet no less than twice a year, or more often if required. Some decisions can be made at Workgroup level, but important decisions are normally referred back to the Council for full ratification
This group is really an amalgam of the two previous groups (Worship, Discipleship & Fellowship, and Mission & Outreach). I guess it's pretty obvious what is covered by this workgroup, but for the record, it looks at our worship services, the organisation of them, any special services, and following on from that (and indeed from the Mission and Outreach workgroup), how we meet with each other and grow in Christ, and in so doing, help others to grow. There are a couple of House Groups, ably co-ordinated by Barbara Todd, one of our Local Preachers, who meet usually bi-weekly in the home of a member of the group. These could be viewed either as Discipleship or Fellowship groups, depending on where you are on your spiritual path. We also have a weekly Bowling Fellowship (and you don't even have to be good at Bowls to join).
So how do you reach people for Jesus? I guess that's one of the key questions which this group also tries to answer, and of course, there are as many answers as there are types of people in society. Fundamentally, we are an outward-looking church (or should be), and our mission is to tell others about Jesus, much like John and Charles Wesley's credo in the 18th century. Ours is an all-embracing gospel, not just one for the old or young, but one for everyone. We have done a lot in the last 20 years with the Alpha and Christianity Explored courses, both very similar in nature, but with slightly different emphases. It could also be said that every worship service, coffee morning, church bowls match etc. is a form of outreach, because ours is a 24x7 God, not just one who turns up for an hour on Sunday morning.
Let's not forget that some of our people need help from time to time, and this is where our Pastoral Care workgroup comes in. There are those who visit members of our congregation who cannot get out to church (or anywhere else for that matter), or visit those who have been unfortunate enough to end up in hospital. Largely unsung, but nevertheless very important, as it's good to know that others care when you feel down. Joan Perry runs this operation.
The future of any organisation is its young people, and in today's society, this is one of our big challenges, since there are so many other attractions (and temptations) available for young people. We still run uniformed organisations like the Boys' Brigade and Girls Brigade, in addition to our Sunday Morning Childrens Ministry (which we call G-Force). Then there is Impact, our youth club, split into two sections, Senior and Junior, and Synergy, our youth fellowship with a difference. There's a lot happening with the young people in our church at the minute, and there is more info about this area on the Youth page - why don't you go and look at it?
The Co-ordinator of Youth activities at the minute is Deborah Green, who also happens to be the GB Captain.
Think of this group as the Treasury, or Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) if you work for the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS), with a bit of the Housing Executive thrown in for good measure. I guess that makes Lawrence Murphy the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This group (which was two at one stage) probably is the busiest, and that's not surprising, since a) they hold the purse strings, and b) they control our biggest asset, namely our buildings. They also maintain the Manse. If you want an easy time of it, then don't try and get on this workgroup.
It also encompasses the Communications and IT workgroup (see below), although both groups report back to the Church Council at the moment.
You know the catch-all i.e. that thing which gets everything else which hasn't been dealt with yet. Well, here we are, Communications & IT, who bring up the rear, although that doesn't make them any less important. The sort of things normally under their bailiwick are the weekly Announcement Sheets, which includes compilation, printing and photocopying (although for the past few years the incumbent minister has been producing the sheets), the co-ordination and operation of the Easyworship/Powerpoint Rota (for displaying choruses/sermon points/announcements on the screen during services), the manning of both the video facilities and audio desk during services,and the provision of AV resources for events such as concerts. The group also looks at some of the office-based functions such as computers / printers / photocopiers, and some of the spin-offs from that e.g. anti-virus software, internet security, firewalls, the church website etc.
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