01 July 2005

Statement made to the Methodist Conference on 30th June 2005 on Press Coverage of the 'Pilgrimage of Faith' debate

Following a most sensitive and helpful debate responding to the 'Pilgrimage of Faith Report' at the Methodist Conference yesterday the Conference decided to ask the working party which had produced the report to continue their work as they pursue the various issues which the report identified. This includes how the church should respond to government legislation and how Methodist Ministers should respond when asked by gay couples for a blessing on their union. The Conference agreed that guidance on all these issues was required, but made no commitment at this stage as to what this guidance ought to be.

Some of the national and local newspapers which have reported on the Conference debate have interpreted this in a way which suggests that the Church has gone further than is actually the case. Some of the reports have also attributed statements to Methodist Church spokespersons which misrepresent what they actually said to reporters or are based on alleged statements which were not actually made. This is deeply regrettable and the Conference is assured that no statement or commitment has been made which goes beyond what the Conference has actually agreed.

David Deeks General Secretary/Secretary of Conference

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