European Methodist Council
The European Methodist Council was formed in 1993. It replaced the former pan-European Methodist organisation, the Consultative Conference of European Methodist Churches, founded immediately after the 2nd World War, and the European Council of the United Methodist Church (UMC). This last was founded in 1968 with the union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
The purposes of the Council are:
- To enable member churches to consult together on matters of common concern;
- To develop a stronger Methodist witness in Europe;
- To enable member churches to share resources with one another, as needs arise;
- To enable member churches to be more adequately represented in ecumenical and secular bodies;
- To enable member churches to share with other ecumenical partners in Christian mission in Europe;
- To co-ordinate existing co-operative Methodist work in Europe
- To offer advice to member churches.
The Council is consultative only, and its decisions are not binding on member churches.
Fund for Mission in Europe
The Fund for Mission in Europe, is a voluntary fund of EMC. Its trustees meet once per year. It originated out of the need to support Methodist churches emerging out communism, therefore it is focussed in the eastern and southern parts of Europe. It is not normally advertised in British Methodism as this would potentially conflict with the Fund for World Mission, but occasionally churches ask to support projects of FMiE. It acts by designated and undesignated funding options. Designated funds are for those local churches throughout Europe indicated for certain projects. Undesignated funds are those funds contributed to themed priorities, and are designated by the trustees at the annual meeting to projects who have made formal application.
The fund has four priority categories:
a. Working Towards Sustainability
b. Education & Leadership Training
c. Being a Learning Church
d. Diaconal Work.
In the past few years EMC has developed a major mission initiative: the European Methodist Festival. The first met in Berlin in the summer of 2003, and the second during the summer of 2007 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The first attracted some 900 people and the 2nd well over 1000 from 30 European countries. At the Festival many members of the Connexional Team and other parts of the Methodist Church provided leaders for workshops, Bible studies, Wesley Groups, worship, administration and organisation.
Methodist Representative to the Holy See
The EMC pays €5,000 per annum towards the expenses of a minister at Pont St' Angelo Methodist Church, Rome. This minister is a member of the British Methodist Church Connexional Team, being responsible for British Methodist-Roman Catholic relationships with the Vatican. This minister can also represent Methodism across Europe to the Vatican.
The Revd Dr Tim Macquiban has been appointed by the British Methodist Conference and the European Methodist Council as their representative to the Holy See, in Rome. As well as being on the Methodist European Council and the UK RC/Methodist Committee, he travels around Rome and Europe trying to explain Methodist Catholic relations and to oil the wheels diplomatically. See The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome for more detail.
EMYC | European Methodist Youth and Children's Council
EMYC | European Methodist Youth and Children's Council's origin lies in 1970. It brought together the Youth Committee of the United Methodist Central Conferences of Europe and the representatives of the Methodist Youth Departments of Britain and Ireland to form the Methodist Joint Commission for European Youth Work. In 1975 it was renamed the European Methodist Youth Council. Subsequently, the work of the Council was widened by the inclusion of the work with children. EMYC aims to:
- Make links between those who work with children and young people in Methodist Churches in Europe
- Talks about matters of interest
- Work out how to bring young people together
- Represent the youth and children's work of the Methodist Churches in Europe
- Plan and evaluate action when required on an appropriate basis.
EMYC works in project groups covering areas such as: Youth Meeting, Youth Work Resources, Methodist Festival, Children's Work, EMYC Prayers, Communications.
Every three years a European Methodist Youth Conference is held and every three years the Children's Commission run Swopshop, an event for children's workers. The latest venture is the development of an International Mission Team.
Ecumenical Exchange between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Namur in Belgium and the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
Each year since 1983, the Ecumenical Commission of the Roman Catholic diocese of Namur, covering the south eastern portion of Belgium, has invited a church of a different confession from a neighbouring country to send it a small group to present their Christian witness to the diocese. It has also been the custom of the Commission to send a small group from its own membership to visit the church concerned beforehand. The aim has been to form as rounded an understanding as possible of the partner church and its style of mission and service.
The aims of the programme are to heighten the ecumenical awareness of the diocese in which relatively few Christians of other confessions are to be found, Belgium having the highest proportion of Roman Catholics in relation to other Christians of any north-west European country. A key aim is to promote spiritual ecumenism and mutually receptive learning, helping all to be aware of the way in which the 'local' church which, of course, in Catholic terminology means the diocese, can be enriched by the wider Universal Church as family of diverse local churches. Another key aim is to learn from the mission experience and practice of others, sharing problems and insights alike in order that, together the churches concerned may more effectively speak for Christ.
For the Week of Prayer of 2009, the Namur ecumenical commission chose the British Methodist Church as its partner, approaching David Carter, a Methodist local preacher with previous knowledge of and contacts with the Catholic Church in Belgium, as preacher for their diocesan unity service. From his end, he sought the blessing and support of his church through its World Church Office, responsible for relationships with overseas churches, both Methodist and of other confessions. This article is an account of the visit by a Belgian delegation to London and the return visit, during the Week of Prayer 2009, of a small group from British Methodism to the diocese of Namur.