The Methodist Church in Britain met at Southport for their 2015 Conference from 25 June-2 July. Several news story highlights follow:
“Bring one person to faith this year,” Methodist President urges churches
The newly elected President of the Methodist Conference has urged the Church to ‘take God seriously’ and put evangelism back on the agenda.
In his inaugural address at the Conference in Southport, the Revd Steve Wild challenged each Methodist church in Britain to aim to bring just one person to faith in the coming year, saying: “Let’s take God seriously. I want to help us in the task of evangelism, to put mission on the agenda and give our churches an aim to win a person for Christ.”
“We cannot sit back in complacency,” he added. “We have a massive Kingdom of God task. I’m wanting this year to challenge each church to bring one person to faith – to make one new member this next year, let’s make bringing people to faith the main point, we don’t do it alone. The unconditional love of Jesus is our motivation.”
He told those gathered at the Conference that John Wesley only had ten guineas to his name when he died. Wesley’s will directed that four of these guineas should pay four unemployed men to carry his coffin and the remainder be distributed among his poorest preachers.
“What else did he leave behind?” Steve asked. “Changed lives hundreds of them, Christian communities dotted all over this country and in other parts of the world, fellowships seeking to take God seriously. Oh that we may all draw to the foot of the cross and experience this powerful love and make this our legacy one of transformed lives and communities!”
We must find our voice, urges new Methodist Vice-President
The newly appointed Vice-President of the Methodist Conference has called for the Church to find its distinctive voice in her inaugural address.
Speaking to the Conference gathered at Southport today, Dr Jill Barber questioned ‘Where is the Methodist voice?’ Jill suggested that through a renewed focus on the four ‘P’s of Prophesy, Prayer, Passion and Protest Methodism can find its voice, speak out to make a difference and speak more effectively whilst embracing its distinctiveness and diversity. Introducing the address Jill said, “Part of the problem of course is that we don’t and can’t speak with one voice. The strength of Methodism is that it is a democratic movement of people, with many different views about how we should work out our Christian discipleship. But we can’t stay silent. God calls us to speak out. It is not easy grappling with how to live with contradictory convictions, but that is our calling.”
“Have we lost that passion for living out the gospel through social and political action? Is there a danger that we have privatised our faith, so that it makes us feel better as individuals, but we fail to relate it to wider community and global issues? I want to call on Methodists to get involved in local and national politics. To become a voice for change, challenging the politics of self-interest and upholding the politics of the common good.” Ending her address, Jill told the inspiring story of Dorothy Ripley whose prophecy, prayer, passion and protest saw her become the first woman to speak to Congress in Washington, speaking up for those who had no voice.
New leaders Elected for 2016-17 Term
The Methodist Conference has elected the Revd Dr Roger Walton to be President of the Conference in 2016/17, and Ms Rachel Lampard to be Vice-President. Both will start their year of office when the Conference meets in London on 2 July 2016. They will succeed the current President and Vice-President, the Revd Steve Wild and Dr Jill Barber, as the first item of the Conference’s business.
These stories and more were originally published at http://www.methodist.org.uk/conference/conference-2015/news.