Methodists Working With New Frontiers

My friend Dave Faulkner (also a Methodist Minister) has written a great blog post: Methodists Working With New Frontiers.

I am very happy with the decisions the Church Council at Addlestone Methodist Church.

It is maybe worth pointing out that I have never refused to work with another Church.

Once, after consulting with my Superintendent minister of the time, I did have to ask a Church not to use Methodist Premises for their Alpha courses as they were telling everyone in those meetings that only adult baptism was valid (given that the Alpha course originates in the Church of England it does not teach re-baptism itself). The same Church regularly approached active Methodist members to tell them they needed to get "properly" baptised. Yet despite these issues I continued to work with that Church in every area they were willing to do.

I have also had (and continue to have) excellent working relationships with the local Catholic Priests (here in Syston I have preached in the Catholic Church, taken part in Churches Together socials there and led an ecumenical lent group there. I have also acted as authorised person for a wedding there).

I have not yet served as a minister where there has been a New Frontiers Church. If/when I do then I will be willing to work with them, but with the same restrictions as with other Churches:

  • My understanding is that Methodist CPD (Constitution, Practice and Discipline) does now allow me to let people use Methodist premises if they are going to teach against Methodist Doctrine on those premises (and that is never a decision I would make on my own).
  • CPD makes it clear I cannot agree to marry someone if they are asking me to avoid being married by another minister (due to gender, race or anything else). While the Equalities and Diversities policies are not yet complete I apply this to the whole of ministry. If anyone comes to me and wants me to do something because I am a man and my colleague is a woman then I will not do it.
  • I will not participate in anything which would deny the gifts and callings of members of the Methodist Church. So if a Church won't work with our Senior Steward because she is a woman then I will not support anything that tries to sideline her from her position of authority within our Church.
  • I will not hide my views on issues such as gender, but I will not force them on others. I have thought long and hard about how this relates to the internet and am comfortable that it is entirely appropriate to challenge views such as male headship on the public internet while not always doing so face to face. 

Hopefully, this support's David's excellent post and clarifies my position.

One thought on “Methodists Working With New Frontiers

  1. Blue, with a hint of amber

    I think how you allow your building to be used says a lot about you as a Church.
    I also think there is a difference between using a premises for teaching / doctrinal stuff and kingdom ministry / socials.
    As an exmaple: we let the main town Catholic Church use our premises for their annual Church social. We are a fairly conservative evangelical non-conformist Church; not exactly natural bedfellows.
    Once the meeting / event / project is presenting an overt message then that is when there may well be stuff to disagree on and you want to avoid the confusion of a particular message coming from Christians in your building.
    While the project / meeting etc is kingdom focussed: helping the poor, socials etc then that is stuff we should just about all agree on anyway.


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