The Methodist Conference has elected the Rev Steve Wild to be President of the Conference in 2015/16, and Dr Jill Barber to be Vice-President. Both will start their year of office when the Conference meets in Southport on 27 June 2015. They will succeed the current President and Vice-President, the Rev Kenneth Howcroft and Mrs Gill Dascombe, as the first item of the Conference's business.
Steve Wild has served fifteen years in circuit ministry. In 1998, he became Cornwall District Evangelism Enabler and the Connexional Evangelism Enabler Co-ordinator, as well as working part time with West Country TV presenting programmes about Christianity in the South West. From 2004 he worked at Cliff College as Director of Evangelism and tutor. He returned to Cornwall in 2008 to become Chair of the Cornwall District.
He said: "I am overwhelmed by this news. It will be a privilege to be President of the Conference, and a deep honour. I hope and pray that I can give something worthwhile to the Church during my year in office."
Jill Barber, a local preacher in the Cheshire South Circuit, is currently Director of the Heritage for Mission Project at Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum of Primitive Methodism. As a trained teacher and librarian, with a PhD in Archives, she has worked in Cambridge, Aberystwyth and London. Until taking up her present role in 2011, she was Head of Heritage Services for Hertfordshire County Council. She is passionate about the potential of using our heritage to challenge and inspire as we explore what it means to be the church today.
She said: "I feel both humbled and excited as I look forward to sharing experiences and working with Methodist people across the Connexion, and face the huge responsibilities that come with this role."
The role of President of the Conference is reserved for Presbyters, and Vice-President for lay people or Deacons.