The Methodist Council met in Leamington Spa from 5 to 7 April to consider some of the key issues that will be debated at this year's Methodist Conference.
Council members discussed the development of work on inter faith relations, including plans to strengthen the Church's network of advocates and practitioners who work in this field.
The Council also welcomed the presentation of a new policy on the preservation of Methodist historical artefacts. A range of guidance documents will be produced to help people to identify, care for and share such items in order to celebrate the depth and breadth of Methodist Heritage.
How the Church might best release its buildings for mission was a key focus for discussion at the meeting. Council members spent time considering how the challenge of having 'too many' church buildings might be translated into fresh opportunities to serve and minister in local communities throughout Britain.
The Council also received a report on a review of the post of the Secretary of the Conference/General Secretary, and agreed to recommend a new model for the structure of the senior officers of the Conference. Under this new model, the Secretary of the Conference would be the senior person in a three person team where the Assistant Secretary of the Conference and the Connexional Secretary will report to him or her.
"The Council's agenda demonstrates the wide variety of challenges and opportunities facing the Church today," said the Rev Gareth Powell, Secretary of the Methodist Council. "Many of the items which the Council has worked on this year will be considered at the Methodist Conference, which is always an opportunity for worship, debate and sharing with Methodists from across Britain and from our partner Churches around the world."
These and other matters will be debated at the 2014 Methodist Conference which will take place in Birmingham from 26 June to 3 July.
The Methodist Council also approved a briefing on the arguments for and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement in Israel/ Palestine. The briefing does not make a judgement on the call of the BDS Movement, but considers the arguments in favour and against it. It will be made available online after Easter.