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News from the Methodist Conference


Presidential address

The address of the new President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Michaela A Youngson, reflected on 'Radical Grace'.



Michaela is looking forward to helping the Methodist Church consider the radical nature of God’s grace and the ethic of hospitality and love-centred mission that flows from that grace. During her Presidential address, Michaela commented: “God’s grace is radical. It goes beyond what is only fair, to a prodigious reckless generosity. It is prevenient grace, which flows from the Lover’s desire to see the beloved flourish, to be whole and to live in delight.


“We need to let go of our tendency to ‘niceness’ and, prompted by just how uncomfortable God’s grace is, make a nuisance of ourselves again in the market place and in the public square, refusing to remain silent in the face of systems that reinforce injustice, and oppress vulnerable people.”

Mr Bala Ghanapragasm, the new Vice-President of the Methodist Conference reflected on 'Transforming hope'.



Bala shared emotive stories that looked at the importance of inspiring hope and challenging injustice. Reflecting on hope, he said: “Hope is vital, and it is right at the heart of our faith. I want to engage in the sort of listening and conversation that makes friendships, builds communities, and encourages hope.”


Bala spoke of his passion for social justice: “We face poverty and injustice at every point of our lives and in every place. So I ask myself constantly: 'Can this be what God wants for his people?' A church that abandons the poor is no longer the church of Jesus Christ and we do abandon the poor if we don’t challenge these ideas. But in the middle of this apparent hopelessness, I know that God must be doing something – changing things, calling us to new journeys so we have to be ready!”


Please pray for them and for outgoing President Revd Loraine N Mellor and Vice-President Jill Baker. You can catch up on their year in office in their blog: http://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/leadership-blogs/the-blog-of-the-president-and-vice-president-of-conference/ with the latest entry entitled ‘A year of laughter and lament’ reflecting on the highs and lows. Highly recommended…


Election of the designates

The Methodist Conference has elected the Revd Dr Barbara Glasson to serve as President and Professor Clive Marsh to serve as Vice-President, starting their year of office when the Representative Session of the Methodist Conference meets in Birmingham next year. Please pray for them as they make their preparations.



Mission and Ministry in Covenant

The Conference has welcomed the Mission and Ministry in Covenant joint report by the Methodist Church and the Church of England outlining proposals for closer communion.




Marriage and Relationships

The Marriage and Relationships Task Group has delivered an interim report to the Methodist Conference who has agreed a change to the way in which the Task Group will complete its work. http://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/report-on-marriage-and-relationships


After discussion of issues raised by the draft report in workshops and long and respectful debate on the floor of the Conference, the Task Group will now produce a further report containing a number of key theological arguments and recommendations for the 2019 Conference. This will be referred to the District Synods of the Church for a year-long process of consideration and approval. Local churches, circuits and individual members are being encouraged to feed in their opinions about this work through their Synods. A video from the Methodist Conference featuring members of the Task Group with different perspectives will shortly be available to help these discussions.


The Conference was also reminded about the Model Statement for Living with Contrary Convictions from the 2016 Conference. The report observes that: “As with all matters of policy, any recommendations should be based on prayerful discernment; careful reading, interpretation and application of the Scriptures; and rigorous thinking. We have come to see that the key aspect in all relationships is the Christ-like quality of the way in which people relate.”



The Methodist Youth President, Michael Pryke, told the Methodist Conference about the continued growth of the Church’s annual gathering for young people. http://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/methodist-young-people-grow-in-strength-and-confidence


In November, the event for young people in Southport is expected to attract more than 1,200 participants. The event has had six years of sustained growth since the first 3Generate event took place in 2012 when 220 young people attended. This year, 3Generate is encouraging the Church to work inter-generationally to tackle issues of faith and justice and for local churches to get to know their local MP.


Michael Pryke, the 2017-2018 Youth President, said: “Children and young people of the Methodist Church feel strongly about the issues of justice and social action, therefore support from the Church in resourcing, thinking and acting for justice is an essential part of our faith, our heritage and Our Calling.”

Conference catch up TV

If you weren't able to attend the Conference this year or wanted to catch up on a particular item of business, you can watch sessions from the Conference online. These will be available to stream through the website for one month only.


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