Methodists are being encouraged to share their faith with others

Methodist ConferenceAddressing the Methodist Conference in Plymouth at the weekend, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, Rev Dr Martyn Atkins set out his vision for a "discipleship movement shaped for mission" that would impact on all aspects of the Church. Dr Atkins presented his 2012 report to the annual Conference in which he encouraged Methodists to "keep faithful and carry on". “The crucial thing is not to permit our commitment to discipleship and mission to falter,” said Dr Atkins. “We are seeking, under God, to alter the default settings on the local church, circuit, district, and the whole wider Connexion."

Dr Atkins said it would be "critical" to encourage evangelism in the next few years "so that an even larger number of Methodist churches and people engage in and inhabit it". He said that the strengthening of evangelism would require a combination of local vision and initiatives, partnership with others, and new resources.

In a similar vein, Chair of the Mission Working Group, Daleep Mukarji told the Conference that mission was the "lifeblood of Methodism". He announced the integration of the work of the Methodist Missionary Society into the world church relationships staff team. “This one mission is local and global, wherever it is located. Instead of having a separate missionary society, we want to ensure that mission and evangelism become even more embedded in every aspect of the life and work of the Methodist Church," he said. "As we learn and grow as disciples of Jesus, I believe that mission will move closer to the centre of everything we do.”

A special bicentenary celebration of the Methodist Missionary Society will be held in October 2013 to recognise the outstanding work of the Society over the last 200 years. The Methodist Conference was opened last Friday by the new President the Rev Dr Mark Wakelin, who spoke of the importance of giving people a sense of belonging in the Church.

"We need, all need, the same thing. I recognise the older I get that I am needy and it is the Church that has that has met that need and for that I am very grateful. "One of my needs is a profound need to belong; to feel that somebody, somewhere knows who I am and cares. At different times through the Methodist Church I have experienced belonging."

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