Image via WikipediaI don't know about you but I used to have an impression that the Methodist church in the UK was a denomination typified by being very, very nice people. The sort who wouldn't say boo to a goose yet would give you their last penny to the homeless if needed. In fact a church that I would have passed over if looking for a bit more get up and go, so to say. Looking a bit closer into their workings and teachings I see a much deeper Christian church which is highly concerned with the social gospel and a church that does speak and act louder than maybe their numbers would suggest. A church hidden from my view by my own ignorance I would suggest.
So I'm surprised to see signs of discord within the Methodist church over a resolution adopted by conference regarding the issue of the Occupied Territories and Illegal Settlements.
You can read the resolution over at the Connexions blog by Richard Hall, a Methodist minister. The resolution is hardly inflammatory stuff and concerns itself with goods emanating from illegal settlements.
But this resolution, adopted in a democratic style by the Methodist conference has rather annoyed one Methodist Preacher, David Hallam who is seeking to sue his own church for racism, anti-semitism and a breach of human rights. Although his initial blog post fails to mention that it is he who seeks to mount the legal challenge for some reason.
I have to say though that I'm mystified as to why and how David Hallam is seeking to involve the justice system. I can't for the life of me see any basis for a legal challenge. He is quoted in the Telegraph as saying:
What I object to is money which I am putting on the collection plate on a Sunday being used to fund a political campaign against the Jewish state. This is both discriminatory and a misuse of a charity's funds. The Methodist Church seems to think it has a God given right to tell Jews how to run their affairs. It is very disturbing we are getting involved in a territory where we don't have any members or churches.
I really cannot understand why he hasn't made full use of the Methodist church's internal grievance system, or at the end of the day accept that his church has made this resolution according to it's procedures and get over it!
Richard Hall is blogging about it here and elsewhere on his Connexions blog and is gathering quite a lot of responses.
It will be interesting to see where this goes, but God willing I hope it comes to a just and amicable end sooner rather than later. Things like this have a habit of turning nasty and unedifying.