22 September 2009

September meeting of the Methodist Council

The Methodist Council met on 21-22 September at Methodist Church House in London. This is the first Council meeting of the new Church year.

Discipleship was high on the agenda for this Council meeting. General Secretary the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, introduced the discussion by asking Council members to consider the challenges that Christian discipleship presents to the contemporary church. Presenting a vision for discipleship, John Ellis, Secretary for Team Operations, said; "Christian discipleship isn't just about self improvement and it's certainly not about self promotion. We want to encourage people to grow in faith and action as their own lives change and grow. As the life of John Wesley has taught us, Christian discipleship can change the world."

The Council also discussed a new fundraising strategy for the Church, which will now be developed in consultation with Methodists around Britain. Fundraising Coordinator David Bennett, said, "At the heart of this strategy is better communication with all those who give so generously to the Methodist funds. We want them to see the enormous difference their money makes to the lives of people all over the world. We couldn't do any of this work without their support."

The Council spent time in discussions about the progress of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant, which was signed in 2003. Groups discussed how the covenant might be further progressed in practical ways, including different models of episcopacy and how the churches might consult and make decisions together.

The Council also welcomed the Revd Kirsty Thorpe, Moderator Elect of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), as a participant observer. The Revd Alison Tomlin, President Designate of the Methodist Conference, will attend the URC Mission Council in November.

Other topics discussed at the Council included a new communications strategy for the Church and plans to lease Southlands College to Roehampton University, with continued Methodist involvement in the life of the College. The papers of the Methodist Council are available online at www.methodist.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=opentogod.content&cmid=1325.

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