23 January 2013

Methodist Mission re-envisaged at Methodist Council

The Methodist Council laid down the foundations for new visions of mission when it met at Methodist Church House in London on 21-22 January.

Council members voted to continue the process of closer integration of the Methodist Missionary Society into the Methodist Church in Britain in order to let the Church move forward in mission in today's world. 

David Friswell, Leader of World Church Relationships, said: "With fresh expressions of church growing, changes in children and youth work, existing in an ever growing multi-cultural community, there are many exciting challenges facing the development of mission work both in the UK and abroad. Our vision is clear: that mission is core to the very heart and soul of the Methodist Church in Britain and will continue to be so for many years to come."

The Council also discussed the Church's engagement with the education sector. There are schools in 22 of the 31 Districts of British Methodism: five have independent but no maintained schools, five have both kinds and 12 have maintained but no independent schools. 

David Gamble, Education Project Officer, said: "The Conference encouraged Districts to look at possibilities of increasing the number of Methodist schools and there are various conversations going in relating to this. The Conference directed both Trusts to work more closely together and we are beginning to work on this. This is an exciting time for the Methodist Church as it responds to the challenge set before it by last year's Conference and explores ways to develop its commitment to and involvement in education."

Representatives also heard the latest developments in the formation of the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network. The Council, whilst acknowledging the amount of work already done, also expressed concern at some aspects of the work being undertaken to implement the new Learning Network.  Following discussion, during which the hard work being undertaken by Team staff and members of a number of committees was acknowledged, the Council requested a greater sharing of information relating to all aspects of the implementation with the Strategic Resources Committee, the Council and the wider Connexion in the most appropriate ways. 

Other business included a report on Methodism's interfaith engagement. The report highlighted the history of Methodist interfaith relations dating back to 1972. There will be a future report to the Council outlining proposals for the Church's continued work in this area.  

The Council papers can be viewed online here.

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