The Methodist Conference has elected the Revd Sonia Hicks to serve as President and Barbara Easton to serve as Vice-President, starting their year of office when the Representative Session of the Methodist Conference opens in Birmingham in June 2021.
Sonia Hicks, who has served as a Circuit Superintendent in three connexions: Britain, the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas and the Methodist Church in Ireland (MCI), said:
"As a Black person born in the UK, it is a great privilege to serve the church family I love in this new way. I will do all I can to honour this choice of the Methodist Conference and enable British Methodism to celebrate our God-given diversity."
Sonia's commitment to oppose all forms of injustice began was a member of the Youth Exchange to Zimbabwe. She has since been Convenor of the World Relief and Development Committee for MCI, and has served as a Trustee for both All We Can and Christian Aid Ireland.
Sonia Hicks has also served on the South East District Synod Planning Group, on the Methodist Diaconal Order Leadership Group and on the Ministerial Candidates and Probationers Oversight Committee.
Barbara Easton's vocation has been the world of education. Before becoming Connexional Director of Education in 2014 she was an RE teacher, inclusion and interfaith specialist and secondary headteacher in the West Midlands. She now leads the Methodist Academies and Schools Trust, committed to shaping our schools as diverse communities of empowerment and transformation in their work at the margins of the church.
On hearing of her election Barbara said: "I am delighted and deeply honoured to have been called to serve the Methodist people as Vice-President of the Conference. Thank you to all those who have walked with me on the journey – I am grateful for your prayers. I am aware that I will take on the vice-presidency at a time which is both challenging and exciting for our church, and I promise to work faithfully and thoughtfully as we move into this new future."
Barbara is a local preacher and has regularly volunteered at 3Generate and Greenbelt. Through international Methodist education and her upcoming role for global Methodist Women, she seeks for Methodism to have an impact greater than the sum of its parts.
The role of President of the Methodist Conference is reserved for presbyters and that of Vice-President for lay people or deacons.