September meeting of the Methodist Council

The Methodist Council met on 21-22 September at Methodist ChurchHouse in London. This is the first Council meeting of the newChurch year.

Discipleship was high on the agenda for this Council meeting.General Secretary the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, introduced thediscussion by asking Council members to consider the challengesthat Christian discipleship presents to the contemporary church.Presenting a vision for discipleship, John Ellis, Secretary forTeam Operations, said; "Christian discipleship isn't just aboutself improvement and it's certainly not about self promotion. Wewant to encourage people to grow in faith and action as their ownlives change and grow. As the life of John Wesley has taught us,Christian discipleship can change the world."

The Council also discussed a new fundraising strategy for theChurch, which will now be developed in consultation with Methodistsaround Britain. Fundraising Coordinator David Bennett, said, "Atthe heart of this strategy is better communication with all thosewho give so generously to the Methodist funds. We want them to seethe enormous difference their money makes to the lives of peopleall over the world. We couldn't do any of this work without theirsupport."

The Council spent time in discussions about the progress of theAnglican-Methodist Covenant, which was signed in 2003. Groupsdiscussed how the covenant might be further progressed in practicalways, including different models of episcopacy and how the churchesmight consult and make decisions together.

The Council also welcomed the Revd Kirsty Thorpe, Moderator Electof the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), as aparticipant observer. The Revd Alison Tomlin, President Designateof the Methodist Conference, will attend the URC Mission Council inNovember.

Other topics discussed at the Council included a new communicationsstrategy for the Church and plans to lease Southlands College toRoehampton University, with continued Methodist involvement in thelife of the College. The papers of the Methodist Council areavailable online at www.methodist.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=opentogod.content&cmid=1325.