Methodist President and Vice President join Free Church delegation to major party conferences

UK poverty, the Millennium Development Goals and communityaction top the agenda

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference willbe attending the three main party political conferences thisautumn.

President Revd Stephen Poxon and Vice President Mr David Waltonwill visit the conferences as part of a Free Church delegation madeup of representatives from the Methodist Church, United ReformedChurch, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Salvation Army and theReligious Society of Friends (Quakers).

The delegation will spend time with Liberal Democrat, Labour andConservative politicians, learning more about their processes anddecisions in order to better engage and debate with policymakers.

Stephen said; ''This will be a valuable opportunity to engage withsome of the key decision makers in British politics about issuesthat matter to the churches, to those in our congregations and tothose living in the communities we serve. We will be talking withMPs and party spokespeople on subjects such as UK and worldwidepoverty, and how churches work to support the disadvantaged intheir communities.'

Other issues the delegation hope to raise include business ethics,gun and knife crime, asylum and immigration, food and farming, andthe role of churches in delivering public services.

'Politics is about so much more than Election Day or what goes onat Westminster,' said David. 'By having a presence at theseconferences, offering support to our politicians but alsochallenging them on significant matters, we hope to understand theimportant and difficult choices they face, and the pressure underwhich they work. Only through real engagement can we work to makethe changes that matter.'