In early July representatives from all parts of The Methodist Church in Britain met in Southport for the annual Conference where discussion takes place and policy is agreed.
The Methodist Church is part of the lives of over half a million people in Britain and over 70 million worldwide.
The Rev’d. Dr. Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of The Methodist Church, spoke of Methodism as a discipleship movement shaped for mission. He talked about how Methodism does lots of things very well but that to continue to be shaped for mission is sometimes not a comfortable thing: sometimes it means stopping doing some things so we can do other things even better. He said:
‘Change is exciting and challenging, but also uncomfortable and unsettling and we need the gracious community of the Methodist family to explore the opportunities we, as a Church, face. I believe that because God is with us and guiding us we can go in this direction, and if we do, we will become a more vibrant, confident Methodist people playing a fuller part in God’s mission in Britain and with partners around the world.’
At Frodsham Methodist Church we are continually trying to do things better and look to the future. We are strengthening our existing worship and activities. After success last year we are hosting another Christmas Tree Festival from 9th to 11th December. We are starting new, exciting ways of being part of—and reaching out to—our community. In the past year we have started Messy Church and Messy Mice groups where there are lots of crafts and activities for young people as well as time to worship God and chill, eat & have fun together. As a response to the Alpha Group held earlier this year, a new Cell Group is beginning to meet. We have launched a newwebsite and we have completed an extension to our premises, ‘The Annexe’, to allow more community groups to meet and to give our own groups more space to flourish. We are beginning several more groups for young people and adults in the near future so watch this space for more details.
Setting out particular priorities for the future, Martyn Atkins called on all Churches to consider:
1. Worship—rediscovering our 'wonder, love and praise' at the heart of our longing to transform the Church & world
2. Evangelism & Outreach—putting a disproportionate amount of resources into this area of our Church’s life
3. Fruitful Field—ensuring excellence in leadership and expanding ministry by lay people in the local church
4. Governance—creating more flexible, more responsive & more permissive regulations & governance
5. Partnerships—with other churches and denominations, worldwide and within the Methodist family
The leadership of the Church has a clear sense of where God wants us to go and to be: a movement that is more dynamic, flexible, and responsive; a discipleship movement that longs for ‘whole life, lifelong and world transforming’ followers of Jesus; a discipleship movement shaped for mission that wants to reach out in grateful response to God’s grace and sharefaith through loving word and deed.
This is what we think the Church shouldbe about. And we believe—passionately, excitedly—that when we do all thiswe will start to see a healthier, more confident, more fruitful Methodist Church,more obedient to God and God’s mission.
The story of the Methodist Church is your story, and we want to help thesestories to be shared. Our confidence in the future is based in our knowledge ofGod’s grace revealed already in amazing accounts of what is happening acrossMethodism and our community, and we will see more.
There are lots of good things happening in our Church, but we want to do even more. We want to hear your stories and what you have to say as we begin to respond to Martyn Atkins’ call for us to be renewed in our calling to be a discipleship movement fundamentally led from the grassroots by our Church family.
A summary of this Report to Conference can be downloaded by following this link.
Alternatively, speak to Rev’d. Pat Christopher (firstname.lastname@example.org) or any of the Church Stewards for more information or to give your response to this document.
Written by the Minister & Members