The Revd Sonia Hicks has been elected and inducted as President of the Methodist Conference. The induction took place on Saturday 26 June at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, during the Methodist Conference which is taking place in hybrid form this year.
Sonia Hicks, who comes from a long line of Methodists as far back as her great-grandfather who was a Local Preacher in Jamaica, 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). She is currently Superintendent Minister in Wembley, north London.
In her Conference address Mrs Hicks focused on her theme for the year, "God's Table: An Invitation for All", reflecting on the racism and marginalisation she and her family have experienced and how the Church can respond to injustice and division in society today. She recalled the experience of her Great Aunt Lize, who had arrived from Jamaica with her Methodist membership card only to be rejected from her local Methodist Church because she was black. Sonia and her family eventually found a Methodist home at Walworth Methodist Church in South London.
Sonia, who is the first black woman to be elected as President of the Methodist Conference, speaking about her theme, said:
"In a world where people are excluded because of their ethnic background, their sexual orientation, their gender or simply because, like me, they were brought up on a council estate, I believe that we are called to show God's love for all people. It is a calling that Christian people have always struggled with, but we can and should be better at making God's love a reality in the British Methodist Church, overcoming the systemic discrimination that exists."
Sonia's commitment to oppose all forms of injustice began when she 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.