Rev Inderjit Bhogal's speech to the Methodist Conference in Huddersfield immediately after his induction as President

After his induction as President of the Methodist Conference at3pm on Saturday 24 June 2000 at the Town Hall in Huddersfield, RevInderjit Bhogal addressed the representatives.

Mr Bhogal spoke of what he valued in Methodism: its scripturalholiness; the tradition of giving priority to the poor; its musicand singing; prevenient grace in that Christ died for all; theMethodist Class System; its focus on food and sharinghospitality.

He spoke of what he finds compelling in Jesus Christ: how Jesusexpresses a God who is with us all, who respects people of otherfaiths and who eats with whoever will eat with him; a man who diesabandoned by his friends. "The genius of Jesus was to put food, ameal, at the centre of his community."

Three words Respect, Embrace, Life should be integralto Church life and theology. "Respect is the deepestexpression of life in relationships between adults, young peopleand children and especially for older people." Respect is essentialin our relationship with our environment and natural world and inour relationship with God. "To embrace each other is toaccept each other without requiring everyone to think and speak andappear the same To embrace is to be prepared to sit at Tabletogether and share bread with others." "Life abundant" he says"is the life God desires for all, whole life on earth, life that isnot extinguished by death, life that in union with God know nobounds or bondage." Church life, politics and national life mustall be judged by their results. Where life is not enhanced, weshould protest.

The nation and the Church can be judged by how we treat theelderly, children and strangers. "What, for example, is our nationstreatment of those who seek refuge and asylum here todaysstrangers?" Mr Bhogal goes on: "The situation is now scandalousTheabusive ways in which asylum seekers are treated mocks the image ofGod in their human beingTheology begins where we ask Why is it likethis? Spirituality begins with an honesty about reality."

He concludes by asking how Methodism measures up and then quotesfrom Maya Angelou: "The question is not how to survive but how tothrive with passion, compassion, humour and style."