The Methodist Church adopted the Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity in 2021. The aim of the Strategy is to help churches to become as fully inclusive as possible and address matters of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), recognising this to be a crucial witness to the Gospel of God’s love for all in Christ.
The South-East District, in order to support and implement various strands of the Strategy, has appointed Dr Deeptima Massey and Daniela Warr Schori in joint voluntary roles. They will help churches, circuits and the district to uphold EDI values of dignity, respect, inclusion and love for all, and promote good relations and practices in the life of the church. Through this role, the District will also shape the culture of the churches to become a place of belonging and inclusion for everyone and celebrate diversity.
Deeptima is based in the Brighton and Hove Methodist Circuit. In February 2020, she was accredited as a local preacher. She is passionate about EDI values as besides its theological underpinning, it challenges her to step outside her comfort zone and accept and embrace everyone just as they are creating a sense of belonging for one and all.
Daniela (Dan) is based at Trinity Methodist Church, Woking in the Wey Valley Circuit. She is the church administrator, and coordinator for the Foundry project, supporting community development activities. The project is part funded by the District.
Dan has an interest in the language of Gender, and has worked in EDI roles for many years.
If you’d like to get involved with our work please contact Deeptima or Dan on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to engage with and embed EDI in church life and the communities we serve:
Celebrate diversity and become a church of acceptance and welcome
Participate in EDI forums led by District EDI Officers or by your church/circuit to deepen your knowledge and understanding of this topic
Take part in the mandatory EDI training if you are within Methodist Leadership
Become part of the District EDI Steering Group
Pray for the work of Justice, Dignity and Solidarity
Put EDI on the agenda of Church Council and Circuit meetings
Familiarise yourself with the key resources (see box below)
Mandatory EDI Training :
Training in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is now mandatory for many Methodist roles, including all ministers, lay employees and stewards.
Details can be found at Mandatory EDI Training (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion). (methodist.org.uk).
This training includes a Foundation Module on MCBX, the Methodist Church's new online learning platform MCBX (theology.com). The training can be completed individually. However, it is most powerful when people have an opportunity to discuss their reflections and the implications for their church roles. The training takes approximately 2-4 hours to complete on MCBX.
‘COME AS YOU ARE’
Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023 at 7.30pm until 8.45pm via Zoom.
Led by: Revd. Ian Couchman, West Sussex (Coast and Downs) Circuit, South East District, via Zoom
“Come as you are” - is an invitation to do just that because God has accepted us just as we are. In this session we will be exploring how do we as Church ‘Come as we are’ and how we can journey with those who feel they are or have been excluded. During a time of sharing, we will explore how we can best reflect the likeness of Christ to those we encounter and explore what we need to do to value each person for who they really are, being made in the image of God.
If you would like to register for the above event(s) then please email email@example.com
Neurodiversity - Bendy Bodies; Bendy Brains
Date: Tuesday 23 May from 7.30-8.30pm
We are delighted to share that Dr Jess Eccles will be delivering an online talk via Zoom. Dr Eccles will talk about her work on how common differences in the body are related to neurodiversity. She will explore research findings with implications for wider recognition amongst the public and scientists alike. Dr Eccles is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex.
Registration link is: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUoduChqD0pH9DBVy2Y3NKpKn9K8E4_0pdS
Empowering People with Sight Loss
Date: Wednesday 12 July, 7.30 to 8.45pm
Being sight loss friendly is a state of mind. But if you’ve never encountered a blind or partially sighted person in your church, you may have questions around how to make them feel welcome and include them in all aspects of their church visit. Among other things, we will be talking about: Lived experiences of visual impairment and how it affects people differently; What churches can do to be inclusive and welcoming and how Torch Trust can help. Do join us for this online talk. It is open to all presbyters, local preachers, those in leadership roles and members of congregation.
Registration link is: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUlc-urrzMtHNJo9ipkNm-lwxozg5GnZJ2K
Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity User Guide: The User Guide offers ways to pray about the work of the strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity; gives an overview of what is in the report adopted by Conference 2021 and helps you use the guide individually, in worship, in small groups and in conversation.
You may access the User Guide here: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/the-methodist-church/the-inclusive-methodist-church/strategy-for-justice-dignity-and-solidarity/user-guide/
The Methodist Church Inclusive Language Guide: This Guide has been put together to help with conversations and with learning and understanding people from different communities than your own. It offers some general principles and examples on trying to avoid negative language, be open to corrections and be aware of varied expressions. It also provides guidance on using language more consciously in our spoken and written communications.
You may access the Guide here: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/the-methodist-church/the-inclusive-methodist-church/resources-events-and-support/resources/the-methodist-inclusive-language-guide/
Dedicated Inclusive Methodist Church webpage: There is a dedicated webpage on all aspects of the Justice, Dignity and Solidarity strategy including resources, events and support, personal responsibility commitment and helpful training available.
You may access the webpage here: https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/the-methodist-church/the-inclusive-methodist-church/
Click here to be taken to the powerpoint presentation that was delivered at the Representative Synod which was held on Saturday, 30th April 2022: