Our initial discussions were dominated by financial matters. We received the draft annual report and accounts for the year ended
Proposals were brought which outlined a review of ministerial committees and further development of the Church’s learning infrastructure and learning programmes and support offered to local preachers. In partnership with a range of partners across the Connexion it is planned to embark on “The Fruitful Field Project: Nurturing the Learning Church” which will map the current learning infrastructure, assess Methodist controlled learning institutions and value for money and setting some key actions such as consolidating resources and initiatives, and establishing new initiatives such as a comprehensive superintendency learning programme.
Two major papers related to safeguarding were presented to Council. One was an updated policy and guidance for good practice and procedures with respect to safeguarding children and young people. The second was a new policy for good practice in the care of adults when they are vulnerable.
In 2007 Conference decided that full-time pre-ordination training would be concentrated at three institutions but did not include
Another difficult debate centred on the review of the Resourcing Mission Office in
At the last Council meeting we had received an early draft of the Israel Palestine Working Group report and suggestions where made then about revisions that should be made. A revised report was brought to this meeting and it was agreed that it should be taken to Conference.
We spent some time in groups in order to look at 5 areas in more detail including a discussion about the carbon reduction report, personnel files for ministers, support for Local Preachers and fundraising strategy.
The way forward for work relating to Equalities and Diversity took some time at the Council and eventually some amended resolutions were agreed for report to the Conference (along with a proposed standing order change). The amount of time taken to discussing this demonstrated a desire on the part of Council members to take the important issues covered by Equalities and Diversity seriously and to respond appropriately.
Our final morning covered a variety of themes - exciting plans for the Methodist International Centre; final agreement regarding Southlands College in the Roehampton University; a redrafted paper on ‘Social Media, revised in the light of a previous Council discussion and an open consultation (much of it online); a report from the Epworth Press Interim Reference Group.
We also discussed the Methodist Heritage Committee’s draft report for the Conference and had a chance to see and discuss the new-look, illustrated Methodist Heritage Handbook 2010 – well worth getting a copy! And we considered the work done on ‘Singing the Faith’, the new Methodist Hymn Collection, that will no doubt create a lot of interest and discussion at and around Conference.
Finally we spent some time considering the shape and pattern of future Council meetings. We thanked staff and others whose hard work had made our meeting possible, Gill Dascombe for being our chaplain for the year, and those for whom this had been their last meeting as members of the Council.