New Methodist president wants church to be a 'safe space'

By staff writers
July 4, 2009

In his inaugural presidential address to the annual British Methodist Conference, the Rev David Gamble has spoken of the need for the Church to be a ‘safer space’ for people from every walk of life.

Gamble stressed particularly the importance of supporting survivors of abuse, affirming his commitment to making the Church and the world a safer place.

He declared: “When I’m talking about creating safer space I’m talking about places, situations, moments, relationships, occasions where and when people feel accepted as they are, able to tell their story, not judged and not put at unnecessary risk.”

Gamble was inducted as the President of the Methodist Conference as the first order of business at opening of the annual decision-making and debate event in Wolverhampton. He will serve for twelve months, representing the Church publicly and meeting people across Britain.

Speaking of climate change as "the biggest issue facing our world today", the new President said: “In the face of what is happening to this planet as the direct result of how we live, do we just give up, or is there a word of hope and are there possibilities to turn the tide and make this planet a safer space? Christians and churches need to be fully involved and have things to offer in making our world a safer space.”

Gamble also called for greater openness and understanding between people of different perspectives, traditions and faiths.

“If we really listen to people’s different perspectives we may come to a fuller and richer understanding ourselves," he said. "We can challenge and be challenged if there is respect between us. Not to seek to cast out those who think differently, but to listen, to understand and to grow.”

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