APC Summary and Report to Conference

Reimagining-Future-Mission-Together

Monday 21 - Thursday 24 June 2010
The Britannia Hotel, Canary Wharf, London E14

This consultation was arranged as part of Methodist Church in Britain's celebration of the centenary of the mission conference Edinburgh 1910; and in recognition that all the former overseas districts of the MCB are now autonomous Churches.

200 men and women from 60 countries and representing 44 conferences of Wesleyan and Methodist traditions, also including those from United and Uniting Churches and ecumenical organisations, were invited to an All Partners Consultation in London June 2010 by the Methodist Church in Britain. We celebrated the journey travelled in the century since Edinburgh 1910, the period that expected to bring people and churches together as friends. The four day gathering worked and worshipped together through prayer, Bible study, presentations, group discussions, conversation and fellowship.

Participants sought to discern the will of God in so far as it concerns the theory and practice of God's mission through the instrument of the Church. Insights were shared as to how, in a world context that includes wealth, poverty, wars, inequalities of all descriptions, as well as ecological damage, the Church might help to bring about transformation into a world of justice in which the way of God might be discernable. To achieve the vision, all are to be involved; the local congregation, the Church regional, connexional and global - all witnessing and acting together in a spirit marked by togetherness, interdependence and partnership.

In the second half of the consultation the representatives looked at practical ways of realising this vision of God's mission by working together, notably our use of resources. We recognised that in our interdependence we intentionally choose to be responsive in Church to Church relationships through the sharing of people, insights and money. It was also recognised that all Churches need to learn that self-sustainability is also spiritually healthy. While the invitation from the Methodist Church in Britain to her partners was 'come over and help us', it is clear that the participants gathered at the APC believe that 'we' are definitely re-imagining future mission together.

We believe that God's Spirit is calling us to respond to this mission in the following ways:

A. To enrich Church to Church Relationships:

1.By bringing together various theological approaches and methods to reflect the Church's unity which expresses itself in diversity; in particular rediscovering the emphases of Methodism in today's context as a gift for all.

2. By valuing each Church's gifts, experience, theological perspectives, programmes, resources and people; and where we can to share them in practical ways.

3. By working together on informed responses related to global issues such as justice and peace, migration, economy and climate change.

4. By sharing joys and pains, successes and failures, through the establishment of an effective Methodist and Uniting Church communication network.

5. By putting on the appropriate agendas of our national Churches, regional Church groupings and the World Methodist Council, the need to develop a world-wide family of Methodists and Uniting Churches engaged in effective action together.

B. To engage in people to people exchange:

1. By recognising the incarnational mission imperative of people crossing boundaries and learning to live alongside others.

2. By building exchanges of personnel based on deep respect, establishing good protocols and in a spirit of mutual partnership.

3. By enabling and facilitating encounters of many kinds that enrich our churches and our faith; and by committing ourselves to short, medium and longer-term exchanges of people.

4. By committing ourselves to the training and preparation for all personnel sharing, to be done in collaboration to ensure mutual accountability.

5. By promoting initiatives that build capacity such as scholarships and skills based training, notably south to south.

C. To use financial resources in the following ways:

1. By using them in responsive and responsible ways that include shared decision-making and clearly defined objectives; and could include a variety of methods such as investment, long-term loans and credit union facilities.

2. By enhancing the building of the Church globally through education, leadership development, personnel exchange and releasing local resources towards self sustainability.

3. By encouraging the use of technology more effectively to improve church to church communications, feedback and story-telling;

4. By encouraging and, possibly, developing imaginative trading consortia to promote fair-trade between partner churches, and other organisations, with the aim of helping congregations and communities to benefit from each other's resources.

5. By developing a code of good practice for using money throughout Methodism and ecumenically, that embodies transparency and accountability, including mutual agreements in writing.

x/1 Conference receives the report.

x/2 Conference directs the Secretary for External Relationships to set up a working party to:
i. Explore how best to take forward and build upon the conversations initiated at the Consultation (at local, national, and international levels of the Church).

ii. Make specific recommendations regarding the future of the Methodist Missionary Society in the light of those conversations.

iii. Consider how the Methodist Church in Britain might explore with partners the best structure through which our ongoing and future mission partnerships might develop.

The working party will report to the Conference no later than 2012.
x/3 Conference directs its representatives to the World Methodist Council to inform the WMC of the Consultation and invite the WMC to engage with the issues raised by the Consultation in Durban in 2011.

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