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Methodist Conference gets underway in Birmingham

Thu 22 Jun 2017
By Alex Williams

A meeting of the governing body of the Methodist Church in Britain gets underway at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham on Thursday.

A policy to help safeguard children and vulnerable adults - by ensuring all ordained ministers undergo a supervision process - is among items on the agenda.

The latest figures concerning church membership and attendance will be presented. Statistics released last year revealed a drop of members from 600,000 in 1980 to 195,000 in 2016.

Speaking with Premier, President designate Rev Loraine Mellor said she did not want to be distracted by a declining membership.

The Methodist Church

 

She explained: "I want to think about all the good things that the Methodist Church does and also encourage people to be disciples and to talk about God and to talk about their faith, so that actually the church will grow.

"I believe the Methodist church has got an invaluable contribution to make to our society today."

Last year's figures reveal the Methodist Church is the fourth largest church in Britain. The global Methodist Church hosts more than 60 million committed members.

Referring to membership growth, Rev Mellor - who will be officially welcomed into her new role during the conference - said: "we could make that the priority this year for these conversations - which we will because it's a very important part of what we're going to be looking at.

"We have dipped under 200,000 - but that's one part of a huge range of things we'll be looking at."

Meeting at the NEC's Hilton Birmingham Metropole for eight days, leaders will also discuss what it means for the Methodist Church to be "connectional".

Click here to listen to Premier's Jon Pantry and Rosie Wright speaking with Rev Mellor:

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