Government and Politics
The Methodist Church seeks to make its voice heard on issues of
social concern and justice.
Why does the Methodist Church think that politics is
The Methodist Church has long associations with political life.
John Wesley was much concerned with the poor and marginalised in
18th Century Britain, many of whom were excluded from participation
in the established Church as well suffering from economic
Many of the early trade unionists, including the Tolpuddle
Martyrs, were members of Methodist churches. The Methodist
Parliamentary Fellowship has met for many years and holds an annual
Parliamentary Methodist Covenant service in the chapel at the
Palace of Westminster.
The Methodist Church has stated that 'the commitment of individual
Christians to work for social and political change should be
recognised as a fully legitimate form of Christian discipleship'.
In a society where self interest, acquisitiveness and individual
happiness are often seen as the over-riding interests, the Church,
and Christians within it, are called to witness meanings, values
and purposes beyond ourselves, whilst recognising our own
self-interest and hypocrisy.
People sometimes argue that involvement in political life involves
getting our hands dirty, so is something Christians should avoid.
But we believe in a God who is present in everything, including
political institutions; a God who is heard throughout the Bible
calling for justice for the widows, orphans and aliens who were
oppressed by the powers of the day; and a God who seeks to
transform relationship with and between people. If politics is
about how we choose to live together and to treat one another,
there is surely a place for discerning the activity of God in
How does the Methodist Church engage with
Since 2007, the Methodist Church has pursued its social justice
work ecumenically with the United Reformed Church and the Baptist
Union of Great Britain, operating together as the
Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT). In March 2015, JPIT was joined
by the Church of
Scotland on a trial basis.
The Methodist Church believes that working in partnership allows
Methodists to influence public policy more effectively and to share
strengths with different denominations, without losing the
distinctively Methodist approach.
You can see the range of issues in which the Methodist Church
has been active in recent years - including
poverty and inequality, the
environment and climate change,
nuclear weapons and the harm caused by
problem drinking. The ways in which the Joint Public Issues
Team aims to achieve these goals include:
- building bridges between the Church and political institutions
- eg through organising the annual ecumenical delegations to the
- helping the Methodist Church to engage with public policy
debates - eg through taking part in Government consultations over
- supporting and resourcing members of Methodist churches to
reflect on political issues in the light of their faith and to take
action - eg through resources provided for the European and general
If you have further queries, please email JPIT or
here for more ways to get in touch.
When the Methodist Church as a body engages with political
issues, it tries to follow certain principles:
- the Church must be self-critical before it presumes to be
critical of others
- Church statements must demonstrate a competence which will be
- when seeking to address a context in which people are
victimised and marginalized, the Church must engage with them and
give serious attention to their views
- consideration should be given to the diversity of insight in
the Church, and open debate made possible within the Church
Further guidelines for the Methodist Church can be found in
the Methodist Conference Report
'Speaking for the Methodist Church'
How can I get involved with issues that I care
There are many ways to get involved in issues that you care
Subscribe to the Joint Public Issues Team's
Keep up to date with our website
- join the campaign network of an organisationthat works on an
issue where you want to make a difference - eg Christian Aid the Trade Justice Movement , Housing Justice, or Church Action on
Poverty. These will provide you with material to write to your
MP, organise local campaigns or arrange lobbies.
- if you have expertise on a particular issue - eg addictions,
genetics, employment, asylum - please write to the Joint Public
Issues Team[email address]. The Methodist Church often needs to
call on people with particular expertise when responding on a new
- write to your MP. You can find out your MP's name through the
Government's website parliament.uk. Then
write to them at the House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A
0AA. Keep your letter fairly short, and ensure that the language is
temperate and polite. Avoid writing in capitals, underlining or
quoting from the Bible. Where possible draw on your personal
experience and refer to how it relates to their constituency. Ask
them to raise it with the appropriate Government minister and to
reply to you. When they write back to you, feel free to continue
the correspondence - turn it into a conversation!
- organise a hustings meeting for candidates for the next General
Election through your local churches together group. More
information can be found from the Churches Together in Britain and
- join a Christian grouping within one of the political parties.
Christians in Politics is an initiative of the Christian Socialist
Movement, the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Liberal
Democrat Christian Forum. www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk
A Methodist Statement on Political
Responsibility, adopted by the Methodist Conference of
1995; in Methodist Church Statements on Social Responsibility
1946-1995, 1995. ISBN 1 873838 06 9
The Art of the Possible - JPIT's study resource for individuals
and groups getting involved in politics
Methodist Conference Report
on Church, State and Establishment
on behalf of the Methodist Church