07 June 2021
The agenda of the 2021 Methodist Conference
The Methodist Conference will meet at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham, from Thursday 24 June to Thursday 1 July.
In an agenda covering crucial aspects of the mission and ministry of the Church, key decisions will be made in the areas of marriage and relationships, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and oversight and trusteeship.
The Conference will formally elect the Revd Sonia Hicks as President, who together with Barbara Easton as Vice-President, will begin a year of office when the Representative Session of the Methodist Conference opens on Saturday 26 June.
Marriage and Relationships
The Conference will vote on provisional resolutions brought following prayerful consideration by the whole Church at local Synod level of the 2019 report, God in Love Unites Us. www.methodist.org.uk/MandR19/
Provisional resolutions on the principles or qualities of good relating, understanding of cohabitation, and same sex marriages conducted on Methodist premises or by Methodist office-holders, have been approved by 29 out of the 30 local Synods. The Conference will receive a report on these Synods’ deliberations including voting patterns and feedback from the local Church and be asked for final consideration of the resolutions.
Justice, Dignity and Solidarity
The Conference will be asked to adopt the Strategy for Justice, Dignity, and Solidarity which aims for “a profound change in the culture, practices and attitudes of the Methodist Church so that all Methodists are able to be full participants in the Church’s life.” The Strategy includes various recommendations including comprehensive mandatory training for anyone in a leadership role (anti-racism, gender equality training and disability training) and mandatory actions for local churches, circuits, districts and the Methodist Council.
Oversight and Trusteeship
The Conference will receive an update on work which has happened over the past year to review its Oversight and Trusteeship. The Conference discussed last year whether we have structures of oversight and governance that are both affordable and effective considering the long-term numerical decline of the Church and current statutory requirements. Resolutions to go before the Conference include raising the minimum size of a local church to 12 members from six with churches being asked to examine creative ways of working with other local churches so they are not over-burdened with matters of trusteeship. Other resolutions include the creation of a Connexional Council to replace the Methodist Council and Strategy and Resources Committee and a review of the size of the Conference.
Notes for editors
The debate on God in Love Unites Us was delayed from the 2020 Conference as, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Synods were not able to vote on the resolutions in 2020.
Details of the debate and decisions of the 2019 Conference on this area are here - www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/methodist-conference-commends-marriage-and-relationships-report/
More detail about the life and work of the Revd Sonia Hicks and Barbara Easton is here: www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/new-president-and-vice-president-of-the-methodist-conference-elected-for-202122/