03 July 2012

Church announces major reconfiguration of training structures

The Methodist Conference today agreed plans for a major overhaul of its learning and training networks.

Meeting today in Plymouth, the Conference received the Fruitful Field report, and agreed wide-ranging proposals for the future of the Church's learning resources.

"For too long we have narrowly focussed our training on those who are to be ordained," said Ken Jackson, Chair of the Ministries Committee. "Although this is an essential part of the picture, the time has come for a much broader understanding of what the Methodist people have to offer both the Church and the world. This is a fresh opportunity to re-affirm the importance of a huge range of lay ministries and to celebrate the diversity of gifts within our Church."

The Conference agreed to establish two Connexional training centres: Cliff College in Derbyshire and the Queen's Foundation in Birmingham. Additionally, a national network of training staff will be established to nurture learning, development, scholarship and innovation in regional contexts.

"As Christians, we're not just called to be transformed by God, but in turn to transform the world around us," added Mr Jackson. "We hope that this will prove to be a shared vision for an excellent and sustainable future for Methodist learning and development."

Conference members also expressed their deep gratitude to all those across the Church who dedicate themselves to the fields of formation, learning, training, theological education, scholarship, research and development, and gave thanks to God for their faithful service and witness.

A hi-res photo of Mr Jackson presenting the report is available to download   here.

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