April 2010 meeting of the Methodist Council

The Methodist Council met on 10-12 April at Royal HollowayCollege, University of London in Egham, Surrey. This is the thirdCouncil meeting of this Church year. A key theme running throughthe Council's discussions was the vision of Methodist heritage inits past, present and future forms.

A major issue addressed by Council was the 2009 MethodistConference commitment to establishing the Church's position on thesituation in Israel and Palestine. The Council approved a reportsubmitted by the Israel Palestine Working Group for presentation atthe 2010 Methodist Conference. The report gives guidance on how totake action to promote justice and peace. One of the report'sresolutions encourages Methodists to write to their MPs, MEPs andGovernment ministers and call for urgent help to be given to peoplewho are suffering as a result of the Occupation. It also encouragesMethodists to visit Israel and Palestine through the help ofagencies that convene meetings with Palestinian Christians engagingin respectful dialogue with Jews and Muslims. Another resolutionsupports the World Council of Churches 2009 call for aninternational boycott of Israeli goods from illegalsettlements.

The Church's carbon reduction project was also on the agenda. TheCouncil accepted a report identifying how established policy andpractice impacts on the carbon footprint of the Methodist Churchand how reductions could be made to reduce the Church's carbonfootprint in line with the Government's targets of 80 per centreduction by 2050. The report included recommendations thatMethodist Circuits be encouraged to fund Government sponsored smartdriver training among lay workers, ministers and preachers whereappropriate; that local churches sign up to Hope in God's Futurepledge and that changes are made to Standing Orders in order forenergy performance and energy efficiency requirements to becomemandatory for church buildings and manses.

Thaddeus Dell, Carbon Reduction Policy Officer for The MethodistChurch, said: "The risks and impacts of climate change and theresponses to tackle it are increasing. It presents the MethodistChurch with both a theological and practical challenge. Therecommendations seek to encourage an enabling framework to make iteasier to implement carbon reduction in the key areas that willmaximise benefits whilst tackling other significant impacts."

Methodist Heritage was also discussed. The Council backedresolutions to financially support four key heritage sites -Wesley's Chapel in London, John Wesley's Chapel in Bristol, The OldRectory in Epworth and the Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum ofPrimitive Methodism near Crewe - whose preservation, the reportstated, link heritage to mission.

Jo Hibbard, Methodist Heritage Officer, said: "I am grateful forthe huge support of our work over the past year which I and theMethodist Heritage Committee have received from the Council today,particularly the appreciative remarks referring to the newMethodist Heritage Handbook. I am delighted that we have been givensuch a strong and positive mandate today to develop opportunitiesfor mission offered by our historic sites and the use of ourcollections as fresh expressions of heritage."

Other topics discussed at Council included the audit committeeannual report, the Connexional budget, safeguarding, Equality andDiversity, Wesley College Bristol, the review of the ResourcingMission Office, fundraising, ministries learning and development,social media, Epworth press and the new Methodist hymncollection.

All the papers discussed by the Council can be found online here:www.methodist.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=opentogod.content&cmid=3050.