19 September 2008

Methodist President and Vice President join Free Church delegation to major party conferences

UK poverty, the Millennium Development Goals and community action top the agenda

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference will be attending the three main party political conferences this autumn.

President Revd Stephen Poxon and Vice President Mr David Walton will visit the conferences as part of a Free Church delegation made up of representatives from the Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Salvation Army and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

The delegation will spend time with Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative politicians, learning more about their processes and decisions in order to better engage and debate with policy makers.

Stephen said; ''This will be a valuable opportunity to engage with some of the key decision makers in British politics about issues that matter to the churches, to those in our congregations and to those living in the communities we serve. We will be talking with MPs and party spokespeople on subjects such as UK and worldwide poverty, and how churches work to support the disadvantaged in their communities.'

Other issues the delegation hope to raise include business ethics, gun and knife crime, asylum and immigration, food and farming, and the role of churches in delivering public services.

'Politics is about so much more than Election Day or what goes on at Westminster,' said David. 'By having a presence at these conferences, offering support to our politicians but also challenging them on significant matters, we hope to understand the important and difficult choices they face, and the pressure under which they work. Only through real engagement can we work to make the changes that matter.'

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