The April meeting of the Methodist Council

The Methodist Council met on 15-16 April at High Leigh Conference Centre in Hertfordshire. As this was the Council's last meeting before the Methodist Conference in July, it had a busy agenda.

It is a number of years since the Methodist Conference addressed issues relating to early human life, and in that time medical advances have opened up many new possibilities but also raised new ethical questions. The Council considered a major report on early human life that will now go to the Conference. The Revd Ken Howcroft, Coordinating Secretary for Conference and Communication, said: "This is a complex area that many people have strong feelings about. This report offers a detailed look at the medical issues and the theological responses to them." Although the report does not reach a conclusion about the legal time limit for abortion, it will recommend to the Conference that this area needs further work.

The Council passed a resolution deploring the situation in Darfur, and asked Methodists to keep this situation and those seeking peace in their prayers.

Council also gave its approval to the large-scale pilot scheme for the Youth Participation Strategy. This will see the Church spend about £4 million over the next five years, encouraging and enabling young people aged 16-23 to take a full part in the governance and leadership of the Church. Ken Howcroft said "this is an innovative piece of work that places the Methodist Church at the cutting edge, involving young people at the heart of church life."

Notes:

The papers for the Conference are available online at: www.methodist.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=opentogod.content&cmid=2115

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