Great speeches from the new President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference at Wolverhampton's Civic Hall today.
Here is a taste from Dr Richard Vautrey, newly elected Vice President:
"Let’s just for a moment focus on sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Sex sells; it also has a habit of waking up a hot congregation. Any mention of sex triggers a Pavlovian response in the media and the related story is sure to get coverage. Mix sex and the church and you’ll hit the headlines.
"Now I don’t know what the after service conversation is like in your church, but talk about sex over the coffee and biscuits after the service is not commonly heard in the churches I’ve attended. Maybe I am going to the wrong churches. And yet according to the media, all churches are obsessed and divided by it. Now clearly we must challenge those that use sex in an exploitative way, in a degrading or dehumanising way. The excellent work done by Network highlighting the appalling situation of sex trafficking is exactly what we should be doing.
"However the Church is stereotyped as being riddled with homophobia. We’re also seen as hostile to sex, yet this is something that is one of the most natural and beautiful of God’s gifts. An image is created of the Church being almost less Christian and charitable than our largely secular society. Where society has made great strides to challenge discrimination and encourage equality and diversity, the Church is stereotyped as being bigoted, backward and blatantly obstructive to change. Yes these issues are important, yes they need to be sensitively and carefully handled, and yes, were the stereotype has evidence of some foundation it should be challenged, but my experience is that when Christians meet and get to know their neighbour, they reach out in love towards them. Their sexuality counts for little. Love breaks down the barriers that may have been there in theory but in the reality of a real relationship they melt away.
"So much for sex, let’s turn to drugs..."(it continues here: http://tinyurl.com/mvu8fk)
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