Act of Repentance at Methodist Conference

28 June 2022

On Wednesday 29th June, an Act of Repentance was held at this year’s Methodist Conference, currently taking place in Telford.

The service was a response to last year’s adoption of the Justice, Dignity and Solidarity strategy by the Conference and a Notice of Motion which offered ‘an unreserved apology’ to those current and former Church members, ministers and others who have suffered abuse and victimisation at the hand of the Church. 

The Act of Repentance took place during the morning service of Holy Communion at the Conference. The liturgy will be offered to Methodist districts and circuits for use at their Synods during the latter part of 2022.

At the end of the service the congregation were asked to stand and share in a communal act of commitment to “do better”, reflecting on Micah, 6.8 -

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

We commit ourselves by your grace
and in the power of your Holy Spirit
to act justly
to love mercy
and to walk humbly with you.

The Revd Michaela Youngson, Assistant Secretary of the Methodist Conference, commented; “At the Conference of 2021 we committed ourselves to celebrate God who made each person in God’s own image; to being disciples of Jesus who treat each person with dignity and to rejoice in the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to all people.

“We know that as a Church and as individual disciples of Jesus, we have failed to love as we should love and that people have been hurt by our actions and inactions. The Act of Repentance is a public acknowledgment of these failings and asks God to help us to become the loving, inclusive Church that we aspire to be.”

Bevan Powell, Equalities and Diversity Adviser for the Church, commented, “This Act of Repentance is led by our theology, we are not responding to any legal or political pressure. The Church is on a journey and now the strategy has reached the implementation stage, this service, with its Act of Commitment, is a foundation to help us consolidate and build upon the issues to be addressed.”

“This is about our fullness in Christ as human beings, made in the image of God and recognition that we have caused harm in the past with our prejudices, whatever they may be, and that we are committed, under God, to do better.”

The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Graham Thompson, commented;  “This was a seminal moment during this year's Conference, as we strive further with the good work we’ve already undertaken to be an inclusive Church. “

Vice-President of the Methodist Conference,  Anthony Boateng, said; “We recognise our past failings and the hurt we have caused and trust that the words and actions, during and after the Conference, will begin to make up for some of the injustices that our Church has inflicted on God's people.”

The service will be made available on the Methodist Church website later this year.