WMC: July 2017
"Membership figures don't tell the whole story"
The Methodist Church in Britain has revealed a3.5% year-on-year decline in membership over the past decade, with membership now at 188,000, but continues to reach over half-a-million people each week.
While local church membership has decreased, the triennial Statistics for Mission report presented to the Methodist Conference this week, also showed that general involvement in Methodist churches — through cafés, youth clubs and alternative forms of church — is continuing to be an important aspect of the Church, reaching an estimated half a million people each week.
Mr Doug Swanney, the Connexional Secretary, presenting the report said: "Like many others, I know the deep joy and profound impact that finding a home in the Methodist Church has had in my faith journey, and I know that I desperately want others to have that same experience.
"We continue to rejoice in the good news stories and shoots of growth in certain areas of the Methodist Church, but we cannot ignore the importance of these numbers.
"While it does make for a challenging read, it's important to remember that membership figures alone don't tell the whole story. Across the country, thousands of Methodist communities are impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every week in a wide variety of ways."
The Revd Loraine N Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference highlighted the issue in her Presidential Address on Saturday: "I know I am part, at present, of a declining Church, but I am not part of a declining gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is here to stay, but has the time not come of us to be radical? To take some risks in order that we can grow... Because, you see... I don't believe that God is done with us just yet."
The Revd Canon Gareth J Powell, Secretary of the Conference, said: "At the heart of this report is a challenge — not with the statistics, but with the very nature of our being. We must take seriously our responsibility for being an evangelistic community of love — a profound giving of attention to another person — which leads people to Christ."
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
In June our Community Cafe restarted the tables with puzzles, books etc which was appreciated by one pre-Covid regular in particular. Each Monday is different with regulars and complete strangers coming through the door. On one Monday we had more men sitting at tables than women, which was very unusual. We were very pleased to see a group from Charlton Centre return to the café too.The...
Wantage Methodist Church collections for Christian Aid week raised a total of £447 of which £402 was gift aided. The money has been sent to Christian Aid who should eventually receive £547.50 with their gift aid reclaim. This total does not include donations sent directly to Christian Aid by individual church...
From the Manse.....Celebratory events, both locally as well as nationally will form the backdrop to the special Bank Holiday weekend this month to honour the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.This jubilee celebrates an unprecedented and unparalleled achievement and one that is unlikely to be repeated, 70 years as a reigning monarch!Browsing in an independent book store the other day, my...
Wantage Methodist Chapel
Wantage Methodist Chapel