Statement made to the Methodist Conference on 30th June 2005 on Press Coverage of the 'Pilgrimage of Faith' debate

Following a most sensitive and helpful debate responding to the'Pilgrimage of Faith Report' at the Methodist Conference yesterdaythe Conference decided to ask the working party which had producedthe report to continue their work as they pursue the various issueswhich the report identified. This includes how the church shouldrespond to government legislation and how Methodist Ministersshould respond when asked by gay couples for a blessing on theirunion. The Conference agreed that guidance on all these issues wasrequired, but made no commitment at this stage as to what thisguidance ought to be.

Some of the national and local newspapers which have reported onthe Conference debate have interpreted this in a way which suggeststhat the Church has gone further than is actually the case. Some ofthe reports have also attributed statements to Methodist Churchspokespersons which misrepresent what they actually said toreporters or are based on alleged statements which were notactually made. This is deeply regrettable and the Conference isassured that no statement or commitment has been made which goesbeyond what the Conference has actually agreed.

David Deeks General Secretary/Secretary of Conference