Mission, political extremism and connexional budget discussed at Methodist Council
27 January 2015
The Methodist Council discussed political extremism, releasing
money for mission and the connexional budget when it met at the
High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon on 26-27 January.
The Countering Political Extremism Resources Group was
originally set up to run until the summer of 2014, but Council
members argued that the changing political landscape in Britain
meant that the group faced fresh challenges. The group has provided
local churches with
web resources and has emphasised the importance of voting as a
way of preventing political extremists from gaining power.
The Methodist Council voted that the group should continue as an
ecumenical group, ready to advise the Connexional Team or the wider
Church, in support of the Methodist Church's belief that racism is
a denial of the Gospel.
Rachel Lampard, Team Leader for the Joint Public Issues Team,
said: "The political landscape has changed since 2010. However, it
should not be imagined that the pernicious threat of political
extremism has gone away. Racist groups are still present on the
fringes of political activity and on social media."
The Methodist Council engaged in some discussion about the use
of the Church's reserves and made some recommendations to the
Strategy and Resources Committee in their preparation of the draft
connexional budget. The Council also received a
paper outlining matters to consider ahead of the 2015/16
budget. Pension valuations, the impact of the reserves policy and
the costs of the Conference were some of the matters highlighted in
the report. The process of compiling the draft Connexional Central
Services Budget for the three years commencing 2015/16 is now under
way. The initial assumptions for income streams have been agreed by
the Senior Leadership Group based on advice from the Finance
The Council spent some time in groups considering a number of
issues. The latest 'Larger than Circuit' report was discussed and
the Council reflected on several possible models that might shape a
report to the Conference later this year. Co-chairs of the working
party, Sam Taylor and John Bell, invited the Council to reflect on
"accessibility to the Conference", particularly on how to prepare
for attendance at the annual Conference and how participation at
the Conference can be made as effective and fruitful for as many
representatives as possible.
The Council nominated the Revd Ruth Gee, a former President of
the Conference, as its Chair designate. Subject to the decisions of
the Conference, she will take up the role for three years beginning
on 1 September 2015.
As the Council met, the Church of England was consecrating the
Revd Libby Lane as its first woman Bishop. The Council sent its
congratulations to her and assurances of prayer. The Revd Ken
Howcroft, President of the Conference, and Ms Gill Dascombe,
Vice-President of the Conference, were present at York Minster for
the service of consecration.
1) The Methodist Council papers are available online
2) The next Methodist Council will be held on 11-13 April