01 June 2010

Methodist Conference comes to Portsmouth

This year's Methodist Conference will meet in Portsmouth, from 26 June to 1 July. The Conference is the governing body of the Methodist Church and is also a festival of celebration, worship and friendship.

More than 300 representatives from British Methodism and partner churches across the world will gather at the Portsmouth Guildhall, and will be joined by hundreds of visitors over the opening weekend.

Revd Dr Andrew Wood, Chair of the regional Methodist district, said: "We're so pleased that this year's Conference will be held in Portsmouth. Methodism has a long history in Portsmouth we hope that people who come to the Conference will I enjoy the fusion of old and new in the city. The Conference is held in a different place each year and we've been waiting a long time to show off all that the area has to offer." The Conference was last held in Portsmouth in 1987. As part of the opening ceremonies Cllr Paula Riches, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, will welcome the Conference to the city.

The representative session of the Conference will open on Saturday 26 June with the celebration and induction of the new President, the Revd Alison Tomlin, and the new Vice-President, Deacon Eunice Atwood, at the start of their year in office. New Methodist ministers will be ordained in venues across Hampshire and West Sussex, including Winchester Cathedral.

Hot topics for debate this year include racism, nuclear weapons and Israel-Palestine, and the Conference will also celebrate 150 years of the Methodist chaplaincy to the armed forces. On Tuesday 29 June, the Conference will be addressed by the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, following a discussion about the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

For those unable to attend the Conference, live video of the proceedings will be shown on the Internet throughout the event via the Conference website - www.methodistconference.org.uk. As well being able to listen to the discussions online as in previous years (in partnership with Premier Christian Radio), people will also be able to watch the debates as they unfold.

The audio and video files will also be available to download later from the Conference website for those who aren't able to catch them live. The Methodist media team will also offer regular updates on Conference discussions and decisions through micro-blogging website Twitter. Follow the feed via @methodistmedia.

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