Yorkshire Methodist leader takes top church post

Reverend Roger Walton, chairman of the West Yorkshire Methodist District.
Reverend Roger Walton, chairman of the West Yorkshire Methodist District.
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A West Yorkshire Methodist minister will be appointed to the highest post in the church on Saturday.

Reverend Roger Walton, who is the chairman of the West Yorkshire Methodist District, will be inducted as president of the Methodist Conference at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, London.

Rev Walton, a married father-of-two who lives in Brighouse and grew up in Pudsey, said: “I hope to encourage us to continue to be a learning, loving and outward-looking community for the transformation of the world.”

The Methodist Church is one of the largest Christian churches serving Great Britain, with nearly 195,000 members. It has 4,650 churches in Great Britain, and links with other Methodist churches totalling a worldwide membership of 80 million.

The Conference is the body that agrees policy for the Methodist Church and the induction of the new president is one of the first acts of this year’s gathering.

Rev Walton started attending a Methodist Sunday School at the age of seven and formally became a Christian aged 16. He became a local preacher two years later and ‘offered’ for ministry while he was studying at Newcastle University.

He trained for the ministry at the Queen’s College, Birmingham, and served circuits in the West Midlands, Liverpool and St Albans.

For 10 years, Rev Walton was director of the Open Learning Centre, and for 11 years as director of the Wesley Study Centre in Durham. He has been chairman of the West Yorkshire Methodist District since 2011.

Rev Walton added: “Becoming president of the Conference is a wonderful gift and I am deeply honoured.

“I owe so much to the Methodist people and have learned the way of Jesus in this Church.”

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