Download statement in PDF here: District Statement – in response to the lockdown for England announced on 4th January 2021
As the new, faster spreading Covid variant seems to be so much more easily transmissible, the government has decided that people in England must, except for a few permitted reasons, stay at home. The government guidance summarises the position as follows: “You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.” This decision has come after the UK reported a record 58,784 cases on Monday 4th January 2021, as well as a further 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Professor Andrew Hayward – a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the lockdown measures, “will save tens of thousands of lives”.
But he also said “the virus is different” and “it may be that the lockdown measures that we have are not enough.”
“This lockdown period we need to do more than just stay at home, wait for the vaccine, we need to be actively bearing down on it,” he said.
It is clear that there are significant risks in every encounter that we have with other people and in every place that we visit, and we must make every effort to minimise those risks for our own sakes, and for the sake of others, particularly the elderly and more vulnerable members of our communities. Consequently, we must avoid face-to-face encounters as much as possible, and restrict visits to different places to the absolute minimum.
Of course, the opportunity to gather with others for worship is valued, but we must do everything in our power to reduce the spread of the virus, a virus that will disproportionately and fatally affect the poorest and most vulnerable people in our midst.
Therefore, following consultation with the Resourcing Mission Group (the DPC) and the District Superintendents, the Liverpool District believes that it would be most sensible not to gather for communal worship or private prayer in our buildings at the moment.
The District particularly wishes to encourage, support, and affirm all Managing Trustees who are making brave and painful decisions not to gather in person for communal worship at this time; recognising that, while communal worship is legally permitted, that does not mean it is the right thing to do.
The Revd Dr Sheryl Anderson, Chair of District
7th January 2020
Click on this link to read and/or download a copy of the letter sent from faith leaders to Boris Johnson on 28th October 2020 regarding the the need to tackle child poverty:
Please pray for one another, and for our church in this process of discernment and decision making. The Methodist website provides some prayer resources for each day of the week here.
2. Provisional Legislation
The Methodist Conference 2019 voted for provisional legislation which would change our approach to marriage and relationships. This was through a report called: God in Love Unites Us. As a result we are now consulting across the District in preparation for a vote at our Synod on 25th April 2020.
The vote will be on five resolutions as set out in this document.
Our votes and responses will then go forward to Methodist Conference 2020 for a final decision.
Our conversations will seek to achieve two things:
- a full open conversation between people coming from different perspectives;
- to inform the District Synod of the range of views within the District.
We have trained a number of people to facilitate these conversations. You can access various documents and study guides below.
- Find the full report here: God in Love Unites Us
- Or in large print here: God in Love Unites Us (Large Print)
- And here is the official Methodist Church study guide: God in Love Unites Us Study Guide
- Cumbria District have produced an extended study guide which includes some helpful resources for looking at what Biblical sources about marriage and relationships have to say. Find their study guide here.
- Methodist Evangelicals Together provide resources from a traditional perspective. Find their website here.
- Dignity and Worth provide resources from a perspective which looks for change in our current practice. Find their website here.
- Other resources are available from the Methodist Church in Britain website here: Marriage and Relationships resources