MAUA Methodist Hospital newsletter, AUGUST 2023

Dear friends,

I am aware that I have not written to you all for some time. I came back to England from Kenya at the beginning of April. Claire also came to have a 2 month period of furlough. We travelled around together taking Church services after she recovered from a bout of Covid infection, but she still had a lingering cough.

Claire went back to Kenya in June. It was during this time that Claire was informed officially that she was probably going to be made redundant after August 2024.

The annual Methodist Conference met in June and made a decision regarding the future of Mission Partners. As from August 2024 lay mission partners will be made redundant, although ordained ministers will continue to be supported. Many mission partners came together by the wonder of Zoom technology. This is an extract of some of the conversation we had.

We sought to find any theological, rational or teaching, given for such proposals and knew very soon, that we had been offered none. How, we wondered, does this decision fit with the missiology that we have been taught and that we live by? The way ahead seemed not to be governed by Biblical principles or moral responsibility.

Families are unsettled, anxiety is rife and the question ‘What are we going to do?’ hangs over us like Damocles’ sword every moment of day and night. The nagging in the mind is persistent as it would be for anyone threatened with job loss. If this sort of decision was being made in industry, people in threat of job loss would be offered counsellors*, lawyers and practical help as soon as they were informed. Instead, we are expected to live with it until the process starts in September (2023), which from May feels a very long time.

We have been presented with a fait accompli…. there has been no consultation with us even though we have years of experience of handling sensitive situations, crisis of finance threatening to jeopardize jobs and programmes, and management of personnel in our work as Mission Partners.

We likened the policy decision to being like a juggernaut, and questioned who was driving it and were they still at the wheel or was it running wild?

Thank you to Rev Malcolm Oliver (Zambia) for allowing me to quote this from his letter.

(*recently an email address for a counsellor has been given to Mission Partners)

If you feel moved to write to the Methodist Church Head of Mission Jude Levermore, or Secretary of the Conference Jonathan Hustler, please read the attached standard letter that has been sent to some friends who have already written. Feel free to address (or challenge) the statements they write. We think that the decision will not be reversed, but we believe that the decision is wrong for the Methodist Church and its future role in the world. The more people who express their concerns the more our church leadership will hear the voice of ordinary people in churches who have raised money for mission for many years in many different ways, and in annual giving to the Easter Offering.

I joined Claire in Kenya for three weeks in July with our Circuit Superintendent minister Rev Stuart, who went as part of his 3 months sabbatical. He had been challenged to come to see the work of Maua Methodist Hospital by Claire, and in particular the Palliative programme that Claire and her team run

We are so pleased that in July Rev Deye was elected as Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church in Kenya after 18 months of turmoil. His main focus will be reconciliation between the various parts of the MCK. Also rebuilding confidence in the three main institutions of the MCK, the Methodist University, Maua Methodist Hospital, and the Methodist Resort and Conference Centre.

My plan is to be in the UK till the late part of October. I heard on 1st of August that my work permit has been approved. I applied for it at the beginning of March. I should get it into my new passport when I arrive back in Kenya. Meanwhile, here in the North West Durham circuit, I am doing a lot more preaching as our circuit now only has one minister. Rev Anne has moved to a different circuit as of 1st August leaving Rev Stuart as the only minister. I also have planned visits with friends, and a trip to Norfolk to visit family in September

Thank you so much for your prayers,

with much love,