Ahead of the May local elections, The Methodist Church has launched guidelines for churches that find themselves represented by a councillor from an extremist party.
The guidelines address a series of questions, such as whether councillors from parties whose policies promote racism should be allowed to rent church rooms for surgeries and how churches should respond to requests for co-operation from extremist parties.
With 47 BNP councillors, they also address what to do if church schools find themselves with representatives from extremist parties appointed to their governing bodies by Local Authorities.
The guidelines are available free of charge from the Methodist Church web site in an easy to print form.
Anthea Cox, Methodist Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, says “The Methodist Church continues to oppose all forms of political extremism and racism. The existence of councillors from extremist parties that support racist policies in Britain raises difficult questions for churches that are active in their local communities. These guidelines will help churches and individuals to make the right decisions. The guidelines recommend that churches resist putting themselves in positions which could be seen as giving tacit support to parties or policies which promote racism.”
The guidelines were approved by the Methodist Council at its meeting on 30-31 March.