The Methodist Church welcome, affirm and celebrate the contribution of single people

The Methodist Conference, currently meeting in Leeds, has overwhelmingly voted to welcome, affirm and celebrate the contribution of single people to the Methodist Church.

01 July 2024

The report received by the Conference hopes to encourage more Methodists to acknowledge that the terms ‘single’, ‘family’, and ‘household’ encompass a vast array of situations and life experiences and that everyone should feel welcome in the church.

The topic of singleness and how the Church approaches it was raised in the debates about God in Love Unites Us (2021) with a request for more reflections on the matter. Research and a report were then requested from the Faith and Order Committee.

A sampling of quantitative research supports anecdotal evidence that single people may not find church a positive place to be and that both communal assumptions and some liturgical language may reinforce this negative experience.

The Faith and Order Committee recommended exploring the synergy between welcoming, affirming and celebrating the presence and contribution of single people in the church’s life and emphasises the Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity (JDS), adopted by the Conference in 2021. Improving single people’s experience in church is a test of the JDS strategy’s ability to implement ‘transformational change’.

Amongst the recommendations are an encouragement for local churches to reflect on the different forms of singleness and differing needs, the extent to which they are welcomed into the congregations and their social lives and what language (and the underlying messages) is used in sermons and on social media.

“I am delighted that the Conference, in receiving this report, has committed to continue to work in valuing, affirming, and celebrating the contribution of single people across the life of the Church. In asking for this report on singleness, the hope was to highlight the experience of many within the Church who find themselves single for whatever reason, whether by choice, or circumstance. I hope that this report will be a significant resource in the ongoing conversations around the welcome and inclusion of all God’s people within the Methodist Church.”

The Revd Miriam Moul, Superintendent Minister of the Oxford Methodist Circuit and member of the working group.