Heritage, mission and inter faith work top Church’s agenda

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The Methodist Council met in Leamington Spa from 5 to 7 April toconsider some of the key issues that will be debated at this year'sMethodist Conference.

Council members discussed the development of work on inter faithrelations, including plans to strengthen the Church's network ofadvocates and practitioners who work in this field.

The Council also welcomed the presentation of a new policy on thepreservation of Methodist historical artefacts. A range of guidancedocuments will be produced to help people to identify, care for andshare such items in order to celebrate the depth and breadth ofMethodist Heritage.

How the Church might best release its buildings for mission was akey focus for discussion at the meeting. Council members spent timeconsidering how the challenge of having 'too many' church buildingsmight be translated into fresh opportunities to serve and ministerin local communities throughout Britain.

The Council also received a report on a review of the post of theSecretary of the Conference/General Secretary, and agreed torecommend a new model for the structure of the senior officers ofthe Conference. Under this new model, the Secretary of theConference would be the senior person in a three person team wherethe Assistant Secretary of the Conference and the ConnexionalSecretary will report to him or her.

"The Council's agenda demonstrates the wide variety of challengesand opportunities facing the Church today," said the Revd GarethPowell, Secretary of the Methodist Council. "Many of the itemswhich the Council has worked on this year will be considered at theMethodist Conference, which is always an opportunity for worship,debate and sharing with Methodists from across Britain and from ourpartner Churches around the world."

These and other matters will be debated at the 2014 MethodistConference which will take place in Birmingham from 26 to 3July.

The Methodist Council also approved a briefing on the arguments forand against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement inIsrael/ Palestine. The briefing does not make a judgement on thecall of the BDS Movement, but considers the arguments in favour andagainst it. It will be made available online after Easter.