The Rev Lionel Osborn has been elected President Designate of the Methodist Conference for 2010-2011 and Ms Ruth Pickles has been elected Vice-President Designate. The elections were announced this week at the annual Methodist Conference in Portsmouth.
Mr Osborn – called Leo by his many friends - has been Chair of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne District for the past nine years and recently been nominated to serve on The World Methodist Council. He also serves as Convenor of The Stationing Action Group, chairs the Ecumenical Committee for North East Christian Churches Together and the Oversight Committee at The Wesley Study Centre in Durham.
“It is a great honour as well as a great shock to be elected as President Designate,” declared Mr Osborn. “But I am looking forward to all that lies ahead. In my year of presidency, it will be a delight and a privilege to encourage signs of the kingdom and Christians in their discipleship, especially in their care for others. I am excited about being a Methodist today as I see all that God is still doing among us.”
The new President will seek to enable both Fresh and Refreshed Expressions of Church from a personal faith rooted in worship, word and sacrament.
Ms Pickles has been a teacher, residential social worker, alcohol counsellor and District Training and Development officer. As a local preacher in the Mow Cop, Biddulph and Congleton Circuit she enjoys leading participatory worship. She has served on the Methodist Council and as a former Memorials Secretary to the Conference. She is currently Synod Secretary of the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District.
She commented. “This is very exciting to have this opportunity to play a part in the life of a changing Church. I would hope to be able to build on the work of the current Vice-President. I am passionate about there being a learning Church and the difference that new insights can bring.”
The two new leaders will be inducted as President and Vice-President as the first items of business at the 2011 Methodist Conference in Southport.