Statement on Racism by Methodist Conference
The 2016 Annual Conference of the Methodist Church passed a resolution containing the following text:
The United Kingdom, as a result of the referendum on 23 June 2016, has voted to leave the European Union. In this time of very significant change and uncertainty there is a need for leadership which seeks the common good and encourages people to work together, to respect one another and to uphold the dignity of all
The Methodist Conference believes that the British Isles are enriched by diversity and celebrates the contribution made by those who have come from other parts of the world.
The Christian tradition calls for respect, tolerance, love of neighbour and hospitality to the stranger. All bear the responsibility of speaking and acting for healing, reconciliation, and mutual respect.
The Methodist Conference abhors and deeply regrets those actions and words which incite hatred and lead to the victimisation of groups within society and notes with concern that such actions and words have been normalised in recent public discourse. Believing that racism is a denial of the gospel and that to stay silent when others are abused is to collude with those who seek to promote hatred and division, the Methodist Conference calls:
The statement is also shared on our website www.methodist.org.uk/nationallife where it can be turned into an email which will be automatically sent to your local Member of Parliament. The Conference also encourages the Methodist people to send this letter to their MP.
The Conference also encouraged the Methodist people to join the campaign to wear an empty safety pin as a badge symbolising solidarity against racism (please see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36661097 for details).
In this note, we try to outline our faith in ordinary words, which we are hoping will encourage people to ask questions beyond what they see written here, or to develop their own form of words which in their view would be meaningful to others.
We believe that the universe, and everything that was, is, or will be within it, exists not by chance, but through the action of one God.
* that this one God exists outside the realm of time and space in a way which is entirely outside our ability to understand, and that the workings and purpose of God is, and always will be, mysterious to those alive on this earth. We believe, but cannot explain, that part of the mystery of creation is that people are not like puppets, moved at the will of God, but have been given the freedom to make moral choices.
* that Jesus is made real now in a Spirtual way, showing us that His death and ongoing life symbolise the evil in the world and the ultimate triumph of love over evil, and remind us that when we accept for ourselves our human weaknesses, we are able to become members of the Kingdom which Jesus proclaimed.
We recognise, of course, that others may express their Christian beliefs in different words, which is not at all surprising when we remember that we are seeking in words to express an eternal truth which is outside the scope of human words.
The calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission.
It does this through:
Worship: the church exists to increase awareness of God’s presence and to celebrate God’s love
Learning and Caring: the Church exists to help people grow and learn as Christians, through mutual support and care
Service: the Church exists to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice
Evangelism: the Church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ
Across the Circuit, we have identified a number of priorites, consistent with the above, and each church in the Circuit has been, and is, developing approaches relevant to their own situation.
Worship and Preaching
Worship and Proclamation of the Gospel message are at the heart of what we are, and we encourage a variety of forms of worship to meet different needs.
Services are led by Ordained and Lay Preachers, assisted in some case by locally based worship leaders.
Worship in the various churches can be in traditional or less formal styles, with ‘the Electric Church’ rock services monthly, and ‘Worship on Weekdays’
Preachers are allocated to Churches on a quarterly preaching plan
Working with Others
The Methodist tradition of evangelism and service has played, and continues to play, an important role in the ongoing work of the Kingdom of God, but we recognise that there is and must be an increasing emphasis on collaboration with those of other denominations.
Central Methodist Church was one of the founding members of Christians Together in Chesterfield (weblink), which leads the Chesterfield Street Pastors scheme and which is also developing links with local schools and worked with the local conucil in running a play scheme during the summer holiday.
There are also ecumenical links in local neighbourhoods, and at Loundsley Green we are joined with the Anglican Church to form a ‘Local Ecumenical Partnership’
The Methodist Church