Methodist Conference comes to Portsmouth

This year's Methodist Conference will meet in Portsmouth, from26 June to 1 July. The Conference is the governing body of theMethodist Church and is also a festival of celebration, worship andfriendship.

More than 300 representatives from British Methodism and partnerchurches across the world will gather at the Portsmouth Guildhall,and will be joined by hundreds of visitors over the openingweekend.

Revd Dr Andrew Wood, Chair of the regional Methodist district,said: "We're so pleased that this year's Conference will be held inPortsmouth. Methodism has a long history in Portsmouth we hope thatpeople who come to the Conference will I enjoy the fusion of oldand new in the city. The Conference is held in a different placeeach year and we've been waiting a long time to show off all thatthe area has to offer." The Conference was last held in Portsmouthin 1987. As part of the opening ceremonies Cllr Paula Riches, theLord Mayor of Portsmouth, will welcome the Conference to thecity.

The representative session of the Conference will open on Saturday26 June with the celebration and induction of the new President,the Revd Alison Tomlin, and the new Vice-President, Deacon EuniceAtwood, at the start of their year in office. New Methodistministers will be ordained in venues across Hampshire and WestSussex, including Winchester Cathedral.

Hot topics for debate this year include racism, nuclear weapons andIsrael-Palestine, and the Conference will also celebrate 150 yearsof the Methodist chaplaincy to the armed forces. On Tuesday 29June, the Conference will be addressed by the Most Reverend andRight Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury,following a discussion about the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

For those unable to attend the Conference, live video of theproceedings will be shown on the Internet throughout the event viathe Conference website - www.methodistconference.org.uk.As well being able to listen to the discussions online as inprevious years (in partnership with Premier Christian Radio),people will also be able to watch the debates as they unfold.

The audio and video files will also be available to download laterfrom the Conference website for those who aren't able to catch themlive. The Methodist media team will also offer regular updates onConference discussions and decisions through micro-blogging websiteTwitter. Follow the feed via @methodistmedia.