21 August 2008

Churches challenged to tackle discrimination and inequality

The Equally different? Campaign is designed to support churches and Christian communities as they seek to be more open and inclusive. It flows from the Church's first major report on equality and diversity issues, presented to the Methodist Conference in July this year.

The report challenged the Church to eliminate discrimination in an increasingly diverse Christian community. In particular, it highlighted the need for proper theological reflection on the issues and practical action to counter discrimination, both within and outside the Church. The Conference commended the Equally different? Campaign as a practical way to uphold and resource churches in this work.

Materials to support the campaign include housegroup and workshop materials and a challenge to churches to embark on a month of reflection on equalities and diversity issues. These are all available to download free of charge at www.methodist.org.uk/equallydifferent. More resources will be added as they become available, such as worship material and youth and children's work guides, as well as additions to the existing categories. There is also a downloadable introduction to guide churches on how best to use the resources to encourage inclusivity.

Alison Parker, Equalities and Diversity Project Worker, says; 'Issues of equality are the business of all Christians; this is about you and me as much as about 'others'. This campaign is not a shortcut to an inclusive Church, but should help to support Christians as they explore their calling to seek equality for all. The website is a growing resource - there's plenty of material already there for people to get their teeth into but there's also much more to come.'

The website will also feature an interactive forum where people can leave comments and share their own resources and thoughts. The campaign resources are designed to be flexible and accessible so that they can be tailored to the needs of different church groups and communities.

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