Methodist Conference comes to Southport

The Methodist Conference will meet at the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre from 30 June to 7 July 2011, for the first time in more than 10 years.

The Conference is the Church's governing body, which meets once a year to discuss matters affecting the Church and wider society. Around 1,400 people are expected to attend the opening weekend of the Conference, which will see the induction of the new President and Vice President. Up to 3,000 people are expected to attend ordination services for new Methodist ministers, which will take place in venues throughout the region, including Liverpool and Chester cathedrals.

Revd James Booth, Chair of the Liverpool Methodist District, said: "I am delighted to be able to welcome this year's Methodist Conference to the splendidly refurbished Theatre and Convention Centre in Southport. Our presence in Conference in the town and region will visibly affirm our continuing commitment to serve the communities of which we are part - and we will be making important decisions about our future life as the Methodist Church."

The Conference was last held in Southport in 1999. Hot topics on this year's agenda include debates on the 'Big Society', poverty and inequality , climate change and the Church's involvement in the 2012 Olympic Games. All of the Conference reports are available online. Those unable to attend the Conference will be able to watch the debates live online via the Methodist Conference website: www.methodistconference.org.uk.

The Conference will also celebrate the Church's new hymn collection, Singing the Faith, due to be published this September. The collection was the subject of special editions of BBC1's Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 4's Sunday Service on 26 June. More information about Singing the Faith can be found at www.singingthefaithplus.org.uk.

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