Church leader's 'shame' over Christians who may have voted for BNP

A Methodist Church leader has expressed "shame" that Christiansmay have voted for the BNP.

The Rev Stephen Poxon, Chairman of the North LancashireMethodist District, made the admission in proposing a motion at theMethodist Conference, calling for more support for churches seekingto fight racial tension.

Mr Poxon said that, after recent electoral success for the BNP,he held concerned meetings with fellow church leaders: "We had toadmit with shame that we could not say for sure that none of ourchurch members had not voted for the BNP." The Conference supportedhis concerns about the "racist" policies of the BNP and recommendedefforts to work alongside other faiths to combat racialtension.

Meanwhile, the Methodist Conference, meeting in Llandudno, hascalled on the Government to revise its procedures for processingasylum applications "so that justice prevails and sustainablesupport is given".

Proposing the motion, the Rev Terry Young, from Darwen,Lancashire, denounced the asylum system as "evil". He said that"decisions taken by the Home Office, often seem arbitrary andprocedures very slow".

The full text of the motions unanimously approved by theMethodist Conference follows:

Notice of Motion 31: Ministry in Areas of RacialTension

The Conference

  1. expresses concern at the recent high profile election victoriesof the BNP in Burnley;
  2. encourages churches and circuits in all areas of racial tensionto minister across faith and cultural divides;
  3. directs the Connexional Team to be more pro-active in offeringavailable resources to circuits and districts, engaged in thisministry.

Proposed: The Revd Stephen J Poxon. Seconded: Mrs BeverleyJones

Notice of Motion 32: Treatment of Asylum Seekers andRefugees

The Conference notes that many Asylum Seekers and Refugees arecoming to our churches in search of support. There is evidence fromthose coming to us that decisions taken by the Home Office, oftenseem arbitrary and procedures very slow. Communication with theHome Office is extremely difficult and financial support appearsinefficient resulting in much delay and considerate hardship. ThisConference declares its deepest concern about the treatment ofAsylum Seekers and Refugees and urges its Government to revise itsprocedures so that justice prevails and sustainable supportgiven.

Proposed: The Revd Terence J Young. Seconded: The Revd GeoffreyPeddie