Connexional News

The Methodist Church
July 2013

 

E-News
The Methodist Church

Glimpsing the glory of God

This was the thrust of President of the Methodist Conference, Ruth Gee’s inaugural address to the Methodist Conference earlier this month.

"I am convinced that if we are to be a discipleship movement shaped for mission, a fundamental part of that shaping is to grow to know God so well that we recognise the glory of God passing by and we can help others to see it too,” she said.

She developed her theme by offering three ways we can grow to know God:
• through other people
• through Scripture
• through our traditions.

 

You can read her address here and can also watch it online.

Glimpses of glory is a small booklet, which explores what it means to recognise God in the expected and unexpected places, and what it is to be attuned to and expectant of glimpsing glory. It unpacks John 1:14 through prayers, relefections, poetry and images. The booklet is avaiable from Methodist Publishing in packs of 50, priced £5 (plus p&p).

The presidential prayer card 2013/2014 makes use of an itinerary to pray for the president and vice-president as they represent the Methodist Church during their term in office. To order this free* item, visit Methodist Publishing. (*£2.50 postage and packing will be charged.)

In Brief

Archbishop of Canterbury addresses the Methodist Conference

The Rt Hon and Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, urged the Church to become a "footwashing Church" in his today on resourcing the common good.

 

Before taking questions from members of the Methodist Conference, the Archbishop said that Churches should unlock the wealth that God offers through God's spirit. "The common good is resourced in the generosity of God and nowhere else," he said.

Watch the Archbishop of Canterbury's address here.

 

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Truth and lies study guide

Responding to requests for Bible study materials linked to the Truth and Lies campaign, there is now a introductory study guide for small groups available.

It makes links between some of the main ideas in the report and biblical themes, with questions, group activities and Bible reflection.

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What in the world is happening?

Click here to read about:
- tensions in Sri Lanka
- upgrading nursing skills in the Solomon Islands
- generosity in Zambia.

 

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Latest Methodist podcast

Discover what Methodism means in Nigeria with His Eminence Doctor Sunday Ola Makinde, and hear from Sarah Friswell how Methodists and Anglicans in the UK are working together ecumenically.

Listen here.

 

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Looking for the next Methodist youth president

Applications for next year's Methodist youth president are now available.

If you are aged between 18 and 23-years-old, or know someone who is, you may want to consider this opportunity.

You can download and share the information by clicking here.

 

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MRDF harvest appeal

Soil. Most of us don’t place any value on it. It’s just there, under our feet. But people in Togo know that fertile land is a priceless commodity. Good quality soil means higher crop yields – providing farming families with nutritious food for everyone and money for basics like clothing and school equipment.

 

By supporting MRDF’s Harvest Appeal, your church can help our partners provide more farmers with the tools and training that they need to ensure everyone in their family has enough to eat.

Click here to download free harvest resources.

 

 

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JMA 2013

JMA is a fun way of encouraging children and young people to engage with God’s mission in Britain and throughout the world.

This year’s resources will be available to download here. To order printed items, click here (and search for JMA). (A postage and packing charge of £2.50 will apply to all orders.)

 

 

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From carpet to heaven - Holy Biscuit exhibition

Newcastle-upon-Tyne's Holy Biscuit gallery's upcoming community exhibition - From Carpet to Heaven - by Holy Biscuit artist in residence Julia Tryon ends on 1 August.

Inspired by the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region, this is an exhibition of work showcasing the artist's exploration of the contemporary relevance of the Gospels for an inner city community.

Click here for more details.

 

 

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World Mission Fund Review 2013

The World Mission Fund supports communities around the world bringing hope and healing through our partner churches. Some of their inspiring stories can be found in the latest edition of the annual review.

 

 

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Mission and Ministry in Britain review 2013

The Mission in Britain Fund helps Methodists around the country to deliver effective mission in their local communities and supports work that is of national significance. Read about some of these projects in this latest edition of the annual review. Download for free from here.

 

 

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President and vice-president chosen for 2014/2015

The Methodist Conference has elected the Revd Kenneth Howcroft to be President of the Conference in 2014/2015, and Mrs Gill Dascombe to be Vice-President. Both will start their year of office when the Conference meets in Birmingham on 28 June 2014.

 

Ken Howcroft was ordained in 1980, and has since served the Church as a circuit minister, a tutor in a theological college, a coordinating Secretary and assistant secretary of the Conference. He is currently serving as a mission partner in Rome and developing links there on behalf of global Methodism.

Gill Dascombe has been a local preacher since 1987, and was a finalist in The Times' Preacher of the Year competition. She has been a member of and chaplain to the Methodist Council, and works as a hospital pharmacist. She is a member of her local NHS Trust council of governors.
 

New vice-president urges Methodists to fight poverty

The newly inaugurated vice-president of the Methodist Conference, Dr Daleep Mukarji, called on the Methodist people to “speak out, take sides", and “stand up for justice” in his inaugural address to the Methodist Conference this afternoon.

 

Urging Methodists to become “agents of change”, Dr Mukarji told the packed Methodist Central Hall in London that the UK had not seen higher levels of poverty and inequality since World War Two. One out of five people in the UK live in relative poverty (13.5 million people), including around 3.5 million children who are more likely to live in a low income household than the population as a whole.

“We cannot give up,” Dr Mukarji said. “We are people of hope and we know that God is still in charge. God loves this world and wants all people to have abundant life, life in all its fullness. In the context of so much despair, inequality, injustice, death and shocking treatment of our fellow human beings we must never give up."

Read his address here or watch it online.

 

Conference business

The work of the Methodist Conference was large and varied. You can watch videos of the debates here.

Some highlights include:

The future for Methodist mission in the UK and overseas
The Methodist Missionary Society (MMS) is to be fully integrated into the Methodist Church in Britain, recognising that now is the time to re-envisage mission for the future.

A report accepted by the Conference laid out the case for seizing the opportunity to bring strands of overseas and home missions closer together. “We have a unique opportunity to assert the understanding that the mission of the Church is one in which work at home and overseas is essentially the same mission,” the report stated. “Now is the time to move those thoughts into action as we continue to grow as a worldwide family transformed by God’s love.”

To read more, click here.

Working party to consider Church's position on marriage
The Methodist Conference has voted to appoint a working group to consider whether the Methodist Church’s position on marriage needs revising in light of changes in society and legislation. It also agreed that the membership of the working group should take account of the Methodist Church’s breadth of theology, age, ethnicity, gender and experience.

A report submitted to the Conference by the Methodist Council asked for a working group to undertake this consideration with reference to “scripture, tradition, reason and experience”. The working group will be tasked with considering the implications of any change in legislation with reference to the Church as a consequence of the Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Recommendations for any changes in the Church's practice or polity will also be made by the working party.

Click here to discover more.

Discipleship and Ministries learning network to be launched on
1 September 2013

The new Discipleship and Ministries learning network will draw together all of the Church's learning training and development activities in a new structure.

The creation of the network was agreed by the Conference in 2012. And this year the Conference heard how that decision has been implemented, including how the plans have changed over the year.

The network will be supported by two centres: Cliff College in Derbyshire and the Queen's Foundation in Birmingham, an ecumenical venture with the Church of England. Most of the 55 new staff posts will be based in regions to be able to better serve local church needs. They will work with national staff and with the staff at both Queen's and Cliff.

Click here for more information.

Making £1 billion count
The Methodist Church's ethical investment advisory body has revised its position on alcohol, among other issues. The Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment (JACEI) advises the Church's Central Finance Board, which has about £1 billion invested on behalf of Methodist churches and other bodies.

In its report to the Methodist Conference, JACEI said it agreed a new position paper on investment in alcohol-related companies, which "reflects changes in the way alcohol is bought and consumed, [and] recognises that concern has grown in respect of the impact on children." The CFB will, for example, continue to avoid investment in companies whose commercial success is mainly linked to excessive ‘volume’ drinking.

The CFB has a policy of active ethical investment, engaging with the companies in which it invests. As well as considering alcohol it is also concerned with Israel/Palestine, gambling, greenhouse gases and the living wage.

The CFB recently adopted a new voting strategy at company AGMs to address executive remuneration, encourage companies to have more women to on boards, greater transparency on carbon footprint, and for employers to pay the living wage.

For more details, click here.

Methodist Conference hears call for exam stress relief
Following an enthusiastic debate, the Methodist Conference has voted for resolutions calling for better understanding of exam stress faced by young people. The resolutions, brought by the Children and Youth Assembly, asked the whole Church to be aware of the pressures faced during exam periods; and also that key events for children and young people in the church are not scheduled in the run up to exams.

Other resolutions also called for the whole Church to recognise the value in having a space for children and young people raise, discuss and explore important questions without fear of being judged. They also made sure that the voices of young people will be heard as the Church discusses human sexuality and understandings of chastity.

To read more, click here.

New Singing the Faith resources

Singing the Faith hymnbook coverPiano Accompaniment is a complete set of ‘as live’ piano accompaniments for every hymn and song in the hymn book. Priced £132 (inc VAT) plus £6 postage and packing, the set comprises 32 CDs suitable for any CD player, as well as an extra CD containing midi files. For more details and to listen to sample tracks visit Singing the Faith Plus. To place an order, visit Methodist Publishing.

Braille - Published in eight volumes, this edition is being produced and sold by the Torch Trust. It will be a print-on-demand item so you will need to allow up to three weeks for this when placing your order. It is priced at £10 plus postage and packing. To order, please contact the Trust on 01858 438260 or info@torchtrust.org.

Torch Trust can also enable you to produce individual hymns and songs as electronic Braille-coded files for embossing locally. (The files will also work on portable Braille devices.) There is no charge from the Trust for accessing these electronic files, but your local embosser may charge for production of service sheets etc.

Kindle and ePub (words only)
The Kindle edition is now available and the ePub edition will be available very soon from here.


 

Churches condemn government u-turn on alcohol pricing

 

 

(c) photos.com 2013The government has broken its pledge to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol. The Methodist Church, along with other denominations, is deeply disappointed that the government has abandoned this vital policy. Jeremy Browne, the minister for crime prevention, has said minimum unit pricing will remain ‘under consideration’. But his claim that there is not enough ‘concrete evidence’ to implement it flies in the face of five years of medical research.

James North, policy advisor for the Methodist Church, said: “The Government’s failure to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol will cost lives. As Churches we are deeply concerned at the effect of alcohol misuse on problem drinkers, families and communities. With nearly 9000 deaths directly related to alcohol in 2011, this is no time for inaction. We look forward to the government rectifying this decision and putting public health back at the top of its agenda.”

To read more, click here.

 

Wesleyan Methodist missions bicentenary celebrations - 6 October 2013

Missionary societies within Methodism date back to 1813 when a framework to support workers in the overseas mission field was finally established by Thomas Coke. The jubilee was celebrated in 1863 and the centenary in 1913. The Leeds District is organising a commemoration of these events on Sunday 6 October 2013.

A ceremony on the site of the Old Chapel in Leeds (including an unveiling of a ‘blue plaque’ memorial) at 2.00pm will be followed by a service of celebration and thanksgiving in nearby Leeds Minster with the president and vice-president of the Conference at 3.00pm.

For more details, click here.

Gift Aid update (July 2013)

By 8 July, 2,700 claim forms had been received and processed, which is about 75% of Gift Aid claims for the year ending 5 April 2013. We have submitted to HMRC a tax reclaim of £6.6M and repaid £5.5M to churches, which is now, a very similar pattern to last year. You may have noticed that the earlier repayments were slower than last year, which was as a result of HMRC being slower in their repayments. This was caused by them being overwhelmed during the introduction of their new 'Charities online' process.

 

Remember for Gift Aid each donor must be able to "confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the Methodist Church will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give on or after the 6 April 2008."

If it is a long time since you completed a declaration, you are advised to complete the simple revised form (April 2012) to ensure that we continue to be compliant. Remember, in the case of a husband and wife who both contribute, and only one is a taxpayer, then only the taxpayer can complete a gift aid declaration. Donations from the non taxpayer are eligible for a claim under GASDS, and the Church will reclaim 25p on every £1 given.

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