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Probationers Committee


Reflections from Rev Angy Long, Chair of District

Over 2 days this past week I and others have been meeting with some Methodist ministers in their first 2 years of ministry in what's known as the Probationer's Committee. It forms part of the discernment and training process that probationary ministers go through prior to ordination at the Methodist Conference, which takes place annually at the end of June. The new minsters come to have a conversation with the committee about how things are going and where things might go next. We receive reports from college and circuit to help those conversations along. Alongside the new minster are also usually their Circuit Superintendent and a Circuit Steward who get the opportunity to confirm that the person the committee has seen in that moment of conversation is the person who has been ministering in the Circuit for the past however many months.

It can be a time of great joy, hearing the inspiring stories of where these new minsters really feel like they are fulfilling their role in the great tapestry of God's kingdom. It is also a time of great responsibility for all involved knowing that this is one of those moments where important decisions need to be made which can, for good or ill, have significant consequences. It is, therefore, a very good thing that so many people are involved, even though that does mean that when the new minister enters the committee's room they are faced with a dozen or more faces, which they may or may not know. But the discernment is not just done by a small few, the committee, the report writers, the Circuit leadership all have a part to play.

During this time we also have a Chaplain who is appointed to the meeting. Before the new minister comes into the room and when they leave, so the committee to deliberate, the Chaplain is on hand to pray, to chat, to find them tea or coffee. Our wonderful Chaplain, Rev Kim, also found time to make these beautiful, embroidered hearts which she gave to the District Chairs as a gift. It captures something of the way that so many of us are involved in the life and potential ministry of the probationer in that time together. And that the probationary minister is a unique individual known and loved by God, answering the call to a vocation, not simply a job, a whole-person commitment which often is far from 9-5, far from predictable, and far from easy.

I am sure that all the probationary minsters, whether you actually know any of them in person or not, would appreciate your prayers as they discern their place within the whole people of God.

9th March 2024

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