This is the text of an appeal I made to the Circuit Meeting on Monday 16 June. Because our position is becoming serious, I have decided to reproduce it, for a wider audience:-
David will step down from being a Circuit Steward in August. That will reduce our team to three, when we started out with 6! We have been searching for replacements for Ann and Lynne for over a year, but so far, no-one we have asked has been willing to step up to the plate.
It may be that people are being put off by what they imagine the task to involve. And so the Leadership Team has asked me to outline the current role of circuit stewards in Bradford North. So here goes……
In past years, the circuit stewards would manage the finances of the circuit, look after the manses, invite new ministers to the circuit and deal with many administrative matters, necessary for the smooth running of the circuit, All this, in tandem with the ministers. Now, in Bradford North circuit, many of the tasks formerly carried out by the Circuit Stewards, are undertaken by other people. We have a Property Manager, in Ashley, who brings valuable professional expertise from the property world; we have a Circuit Treasurer, Clive, assisted by our Finance Officer, Nicola; we have a Circuit Administrator, Clair and a Lay Employment Officer, Lynne. All these helpful people are part of the Circuit Leadership Team.
The Circuit Stewards still hold the legal responsibility for all these aspects of circuit life, but we are happy for the associated labour to be done by these very capable helpers. It considerably lightens our load.
One thing to stress is that we are part of a team. A team of stewards, who meet together. And also part of the Circuit Leadership Team, comprising ministers, stewards, officers and Lay Employees. The circuit is managed corporately, but I have to say that, when the leadership team meets, the voice of the stewards is significant.
Each of the Circuit Stewards has a watching brief (a portfolio) to cover different areas of the circuit. Mine is Mission. The others are:
training and development, safeguarding, charities, ecumenical affairs and stationing, and we each report to the Circuit Meeting.
We also maintain links with individual churches, through attending and reporting to their Church Councils, thus providing two-way communication between churches and circuit.
Circuit Stewards have an important role to play in the policy and decision-making of the circuit and it is vital that they have enthusiasm for the mission of the circuit and a desire to see God’s kingdom grow in north Bradford. Might God be calling you to serve him in this way? There may be someone at your church with the right credentials and charisma to take on this role. If you identify someone, please let me know.
Please don’t be put off by the thought that being a circuit steward will leave you no time in your life for doing other things. I still manage to find time to preach frequently and be a church steward at St Andrew’s.
Senior Circuit Steward
Footnote: Since I made this appeal to the Circuit Meeting, Jennifer of St Andrew’s has accepted an invitation to become a steward. Praise God! So now we have two vacancies……