Thursday, December 22, 2005
Methodist Council Two - Part 1!
Good afternoon all Well I have survived Methodist Council last Monday easily enough and then my computer went into permanent restart for a particularly jovial reason - must be the seasonal spirit. Anyway this Methodist Council meeting was held at Methodist Church House (located opposite Madam Tussades, Baker Street, London) on Monday 16th December 2005. I was in attendance and spoke to a variety of items etc. As per before the general murmur or grunt was all that was required to pass an item, therefore to spare your eyes glazing over I shall only indicate if any other action was taken to pass/dismiss something.... so then, on with the show! 11am and time enough for coffee and banter, tis a fine way to start the day and catch up with friends and folks from all round the connexion prior to business starting. Then we went to item 1 - A welcome to a representative of the state Agency for religious affairs from the "peoples republic" of china. This was fascinating for two reasons - one was the ruling body of the Methodist church (in-between conferences) welcoming a representative from a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world (albeit one that is improving from disgraceful). The second was why she was here, to investigate the relationship between church and state, an area that I find fascinating myself in particular how much should the state and church be truly linked or one regulating the other, but unfortunately I didn't get to speak with here though may try and find an email to her. 2 - Opening prayers and reflections aided by an amazing picture from the methodist art collection. For all its name may betray it is in reality an amazingly robust and varied collection and I now wait with anticipation for the next piece we are shown. When discussing this with the curator bod who was at this meeting he was getting most animated about the expansion of the collection, in particular through new commissioning of works. 3 – Letters, apologies etc. I must say, beaurocratic it may seem, that the idea of sending out letters of congratulations and commisorations are infact a great idea and again it provides an interesting insight into what is viewed as important in whom it can be 4 – ethnic Monitering. Something the Methodist Church does well is produce stats, this is something it has done since it’s very start (see early membership returns prior to most other churches considering having such things) and in conference and council it has ethnic Monitering ones. These are infact more than background they cover age, gender etc and are always there to shock. Being a large majority male make-up needed to be made a point of discussion with the end result that these stats are to be circulated to all districts so that when they elect their synod representatives that the overall gender balance on the council is taken into consideration. I would stroll into this issue but it would be a post within it’self but feel free to comment on this outcome! More to come later as I am now only ten minutes into the meeting in reality! Take Care Y'All John