Methodism has been closely associated in many people's minds
with total abstinence from alcohol.
So are all Methodists teetotalers?
No. The Church has always highlighted the dangers of dependency
on alcohol and the damage it causes to personal well-being and
social relationships. The judgement of the Methodist Church,
however, is that total abstinence is a matter for individual
choice. It is not a condition of membership. Methodists are
recommended to make a personal commitment either to total
abstinence or to responsible drinking.
Is there an official statement?
The 1987 Methodist Conference Report on Alcohol, Through a Glass
Darkly , made the following recommendations -
That all Methodists:
- consider seriously the claims of total abstinence.
- make a personal commitment either to total abstinence or to
- give support wherever possible and by appropriate means to
those who suffer directly or indirectly from alcohol misuse
- unite to support pressure on government and public opinion for
a programme designed to control consumption and reduce harm
- recognise the importance of example and education in family
- where they practise total abstinence take special care to avoid
authoritarian attitudes which may be counter-productive
- where they practise responsible drinking take special care to
demonstrate that this also involves self-controls
- That the Methodist Church actively engages in the promotion of
responsible attitudes to alcohol and in the support (whether
directly or indirectly) of those suffering the harmful consequences
of their own alcohol misuse, or that of others.
The Methodist Church's Standing Orders state that alcohol cannot
be supplied, sold or used on Methodist premises, nor may Methodist
premises be used to promote the use or sale of intoxicants. (This
does not apply to domestic occasions in private homes - alcohol can
be consumed by ministers in their own homes)
What about the Communion wine?
At Holy Communion in Methodist Churches non-alcoholic wine is
used. The only exception to this is where a non-Methodist
congregation worshipping on Methodist premises uses alcoholic
communion wine within its own rules, if this is allowed by the
local sharing agreement.
Does the Church help those with alcohol
The Methodist Church has a long tradition of direct contact with
and ministry to women and men who are alcohol dependent. Many
churches host meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and others run
social care projects to help people with alcohol addictions.
about the Methodist Church's public policy work relating to alcohol
1999 Methodist Conference report: 'Methodist Attitudes to
Alcohol' - available on the Methodist Church website www.methodist.org.uk
For further information The first point of
contact for help is your local church.
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