01 July 2015

Church must celebrate and learn from diversity, says report

The Methodist Fellowship Groups, congregations of Methodists united by a shared ethnicity or language, announced their intention to grow in deeper relationships, mutual partnerships and genuine integration in a report to the Methodist Conference.

The report, presented by the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Conference, highlighted the importance of being one family with one mission.

About the report, Martyn said, "We are committed to find continuing and healthy ways to harvest the richness brought into our Church by international communities of Methodists. Indeed, every part of the life of the Church is made better because of our life together, and there is much that we can learn from each other. 

Following on from the report, the Conference has agreed to set up a connexional advisory and support group to share good practice and encourage integration with local churches.

The Revd Dr Claire Potter, deputy convener of the working group said of the recommendations, "Fellowship groups are a growing area of the Methodist Church in Britain. It is important that we not only understand and welcome the variety and diversity of Fellowship Groups, but that we deepen our current relationships, develop mutual partnerships and genuinely integrate with each other. Let us celebrate diversity by learning, accepting and growing together, without enforcing assimilation."

The Revd William Davis, Fellowship Coordinator of the London District and chaplain to the Ghanaian Fellowship Group, added: "British Methodism for many immigrants can be quite a foreign experience and Fellowship Groups can help provide stability and familiarity in an otherwise strange land. There are many things we can learn from each others' experiences of Methodism and we hope that this new support group will help us all to develop and grow in our faith further."

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