What we believe

At the September Synod in 2014 the District agreed the following Positive Working Together policy:

No one in the District should experience bullying or harassment. Anyone who does have this experience can engage the person exhibiting this behaviour, using the Shared Commitment Document which we have all agreed shall be the basis for our relating and working together.

This was taken up by the whole Church and the Conference of 2015 issued guidelines, including the following definition:

Any behaviour, always involving a misuse of power, which an individual or group knows, or ought reasonably to know, could have the potential effect of offending, humiliating, intimidating or isolating an individual or group should be regarded as unacceptable. ‘Unacceptable behaviour’ changes its label to ‘bullying’ or ‘harassing behaviour’ when it causes actual harm or distress to the target(s), normally, but not exclusively, after a series of incidents over a prolonged period of time.

The full guidelines and a short guide to them can be found on the Methodist Church website.

The District Reconciliation Group is here to help with advice and support:

  • by offering assistance to achieve reconciliation between people who are in dispute with each other, and
  • by fulfilling the requirement of Standing Order 1111 (4): To respond to requests for assistance when a formal complaint has been made and in such additional circumstances as the District may decide.                                                                                   
  • by making training in PWT known and accessible
  • Funding from the District Group for Learning and Discipleship is available for people taking training. GLAD will pay half the cost for Ministers with the Circuit expected to pay the other half; for lay people the funding is one third with a third expected from the circuit and a third expected from the individual.  Grants can also be made to churches or circuits organising their own course.  Email Gill Lawson, the GLAD secretary.
  • Please contact us – you’ll find our names below.
The members of the District Reconciliation Group are:

*Rev Jenny Ellis

Mrs Angela Fisher

*Rev Steph Jenner

*Deacon Brian Purchase

*Rev Andrew de Ville

Convenor of the District Complaints Support Group:

Rev Lesley Martin

*have completed Bridge Builders training

What you can do to combat bullying and harassment and build healthy relationships

  1. Discuss the guidelines in your Church Council using the handy credit-card size card which states our belief and our commitment. Copies are available free from Rev. David Read
  2. Use the Shared Commitments Half-Day Training session in your Church. You can find this on the Methodist website.  This is based on the document and training session originally agreed in this district and is designed to be led by you for your Church. If you would like further guidance or help in using it please contact David Read or any of the District Reconciliation Group.
  3. Arrange for Place for Hope’s Growing through Conflict day course to be run in your Church or Circuit. Revs Jenny Ellis and Lesley Martin from our District have been trained to deliver this day for you. Contact them direct.  For more information about Place for Hope see http://www.placeforhope.org.uk/training (note that you don’t need to contact them – Jenny and Lesley will bring their course to you):
  4. Set up a group of about 12 to 15 people to use the Growing Bridge Builders course – 8 lively interactive sessions of 100 minutes each. This course focuses on building bridges, and how to embrace and transform differences, tensions and conflicts as a way to grow a healthy Christian community. The course can be run by anyone who has already been on a Bridge Builders course or who goes on a day training such as the one in this link. Jenny Ellis and David Read have experience of running the course. Some of the DRG members have also done Bridge Builders training.