Church announces major reconfiguration of training structures

The Methodist Conference today agreed plans for a majoroverhaul of its learning and training networks.

Meeting today in Plymouth, the Conference receivedthe FruitfulField report, and agreed wide-ranging proposals for thefuture of the Church's learning resources.

"For too long we have narrowly focussed our training onthose who are to be ordained," said Ken Jackson, Chair of theMinistries Committee. "Although this is an essential part of thepicture, the time has come for a much broader understanding of whatthe Methodist people have to offer both the Church and the world.This is a fresh opportunity to re-affirm the importance of a hugerange of lay ministries and to celebrate the diversity of giftswithin our Church."

The Conference agreed to establish two Connexionaltraining centres: Cliff College in Derbyshire and the Queen'sFoundation in Birmingham. Additionally, a national network oftraining staff will be established to nurture learning,development, scholarship and innovation in regionalcontexts.

"As Christians, we're not just called to be transformed byGod, but in turn to transform the world around us," added MrJackson. "We hope that this will prove to be a shared vision for anexcellent and sustainable future for Methodist learning anddevelopment."

Conference members also expressed their deep gratitude to allthose across the Church who dedicate themselves to the fieldsof formation, learning, training, theological education,scholarship, research and development, and gave thanks to God fortheir faithful service and witness.

A hi-res photo of Mr Jackson presenting the report is availableto download  here.