Report of the October meeting of the Methodist Council

The Methodist Council met online on 19 and 20 October. It opened with worship led by the Chair of the Council, the Revd Sonia Hicks, and included prayers for those affected by the situation in Israel and Palestine.

The Connexional Secretary updated the Council on the work being undertaken by the Connexional Team. Professor David Matthews from the Strategy & Resources Committee informed Council that building work at Tavistock Place is progressing as planned and updated the Council on the new Wesley Hotel at Camden.

Medical Committee

The Conference Officer for Legal and Constitutional Practice, Mrs Joanne Anderton, presented proposals to disband the Medical Committee of the Methodist Council. Members heard that the Committee’s role in assessing the health of candidates and ministers is no longer appropriate and has been replaced by an external occupational health advisory body. After members had a chance to discuss the proposals and its impact in groups, they voted in favour of the recommendation.

Districts in the West Midlands

Council members heard proposals to amalgamate the Birmingham District and the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District to form a single district from 1 September 2025. Members heard that the proposal had come about as a result of the increased joint working of the two districts, recognition of the changing circumstances of their worship and mission and shared concerns to ensure that they are best able to praise and serve God in the future. The Council voted in favour of the resolutions and formal consultation will now take place with the expectation that a proposal will be submitted to the 2024 Conference.

Review of the Complaints and Discipline Process

The Conference Officer for Legal and Constitutional Practice, Mrs Joanne Anderton, presented an update on the review of the complaints and discipline process (the Part 11 review). Mrs Anderton told members that Mr Dave Orford has been appointed as the Church’s independent Complaints and Standards Consultant and started his work in August. Mr Orford is a retired senior police officer with considerable experience of dealing with all aspects of conduct matters. A Task Group has also been appointed to work with Mr Orford. The Council received the report.

The next Council meeting will be held on 29 and 30 January 2024.