Media Highlights - The Methodist Conference 2017

The Methodist Conference 2017 is meeting in Birminghamto discuss matters affecting the life of the Church, the nation andthe world.

Media are invited to attend the Conference or to arrangeinterviews with key people on the issues being discussed.

Media Contacts:
Email mediaoffice@methodistchurch.org.uk 

Lead Media Officer: Michael Ivatt
Tel 020 7467 5191

Media Officer: Toby Fairclough
Tel 020 7467 5208

Director of Publishing and Communications: AndyJackson
Tel 020 7467 5111

Press releases on featured topics will be posted on theMethodist Church website during the Conference.

Highlights will include:
Timings indicate in which session the item of businesses isexpected to be discussed.

The Induction of the new President and Vice-Presidentand the opening of Conference
Saturday 24 June, 14:15

The Gift of Connexionalism in the 21stCentury
Monday 26 June, 09:15 - 11:00
One of Wesley's most enduring gifts to the Methodist Church,Connexionalism and its relevance in the 21st century.

Past Case Review Implementation 
Monday 26 June, 14:15 to 16:15
The Methodist Conference will announce the significant progressthat has been made following the 2015 report into non-recent abusewithin the Church.

Tuesday 27 June, 16:45 - 18:30
The on-going success and growth of the Methodist Church's3Generaete children and youth events.

Wednesday 28, June 16:45 - 18:30
The introduction of "social worker style" supervision for ordainedministers and the first of its kind within a UK Christiandenomination.

Statistics for Mission
Thursday 29 June, 9:15 to 11:00
Responding to a report that membership of the Methodist Church isundergoing a 3.5% decline year on year but shows growth ininner-city churches and youth participation.

The Beckly Lecture 'Religious Freedom:
A God-given right, not a privilege
Tuesday 27 June, 20:00 to 21:45
His Grace Bishop Angelos, General Bishop of the Coptic OrthodoxChurch in the United Kingdom, considers religious freedom andjustice.

The Methodist Conference is the body that agrees policy for theMethodist Church. Gathering lay and ordained members, along with anumber of associate and ecumenical members, the Conference is splitinto two sessions. Beginning with the Presbyteral Session,exclusively for ministers of the Methodist Church, from Thursday 22June - Friday 23 June, with the Representative session fromSaturday 24 - Thursday 27 June, which is also open to thepublic.

The Representative Session will open at 14.15 onSaturday 25 June with the induction of the President of theConference, the Revd Loraine N Mellor, and the Vice-President, MrsJill Baker. 

Biographies of Loraine and Jill are available herein the Methodist Church press pack 2017/2018.

A provisional timetable for the representative session of theConference is available online here, but may be subject to change. 

Further details on selected topics being discuss at theConference this year are:

The Gift of Connexionalism in the 21st Century
The Conference will be hearing of the importance of oneof Wesley's most enduring gifts to the Methodist Church,Connexionalism and its relevance in the 21st century. Defined as"belonging, mutuality and interdependence", and still using itseighteenth century spelling, Connexionalism remains fundamental indefining a Methodist's way of being Christian. The three hundredyear-old concept of "being connected" where no individual or localchurch is autonomous can speak powerfully and fruitfully in the21st century with social media and the internet.

Safeguarding and Past Case Review
The Methodist Conference will announce that significantprogress has been made following the 2015 report into abuse withinthe Church. The 23 recommendations of the Past Cases Review are nowall underway with a change in culture within the Church having apositive impact on safeguarding. Almost 80% of the 1,885 cases thatcame to light as part of the review have now been completed andthose remaining are hoped to be completed later this summer. Withits work now underway, the Past Cases Review Implementation Group,has handed over responsibility for on-going safeguarding work tothe Safeguarding Committee.

The independent Past Cases Review considered all safeguardingcases for which there were written records and those recalled frommemory by ministers and members of the Church going back to 1950.The review was described as modelling best practice in its opennessand honesty regarding past failures in safeguarding. Animplementation group was established in 2015 to ensure that the 23recommendations made in the report were actioned.

3Generate success 
The ongoing success of the Methodist Church's 3Generaeteyouth events will be discussed with requests from young Methodistpeople to help them understand an increasingly confusing, andsometimes, worrying world. The Conference will be responding to thecalls from young people themselves for guidance and debate aroundissues of social justice and relationships. The growth of 3Geneatewill see its annual event move to larger premises this year atPontins, Southport. 

The Methodist Conference will consider the introductionof "social worker style" supervision for its ordained ministers.Such a programme of one-on-one support would be the first of itskind within a UK Christian denomination.

Supervision was recommended within the Methodist Church's PastCase Review (2015) as a way to increase support and accountabilityfor safe. The supervision will also provide vital, planned pastoralcare to value and nurture ministers by providing them withappropriate support, guidance and training.

Statistics for Mission
As highlighted by the Revd Loraine N Mellor in herPresidential address, the Methodist Conference will be consideringhow to respond to a report that membership of the Methodist Churchis undergoing a 3.5% decline year-on-year with headline membershipnow standing at 188,000. 

The report also highlights areas of growth within the Churchwith many inner-city churches having seen membership numbers grow.The number of events and activities other than worship at churchescontinues to grow, with participation at around half a millionpeople each week. Growth is also reported in the Methodist Church'syouth movement, 3Generate.

Beckley Lecture
Religious Freedom: A God-given right, not aprivilege
Tuesday 27 June 8pm - 9.45pm
As part of the fringe events taking place at the same time as theConference, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the CopticOrthodox Church in the United Kingdom discusses religious freedomand justice. Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christiancommunity in the Middle East, as well as one of the oldest, andhave experienced violence and persecution including the recent busattack in which 26 people were killed.


The timetable, agendas, live stream of the event and moreinformation is available on the Methodist Conference website www.methodist.org.uk/conference

You can follow the Conference conversation on Twitter via#methodistconf and by following @MethodistGB. Please note that thecomments and opinions do not necessarily represent the MethodistChurch's views or position.

Photos of the President-Designate and Vice-President Designateare available on the Methodist Media Flickr Stream here.