Anvil journal of theology and mission
“Does not wisdom call?”: faith learning in Methodist practice
by Stan Brown, Graham Jones and Sue Miller
The mission of the Methodist Church
In its foundational documents, the Methodist Church in Britain “ever remembers that in the providence of God Methodism was raised up to spread scriptural holiness through the land by the proclamation of the evangelical faith and declares its unfaltering resolve to be true to its divinely appointed mission”.1 Contemporary Methodism would hold to this calling, though the word “holiness” may not feature quite so prominently as it once did, the Church having shifted its favoured language over time – more recently from the word “discipleship”, which was very much to the fore when this research was initiated, to an emphasis on a “Methodist Way of Life.” The notions of holiness, and wisdom, however, remain fundamental to the Church’s calling and mission, and are fundamental in this project about learning for discipleship and mission, where the term “faith learning” came to encapsulate what was being uncovered in different learning contexts throughout the Methodist Church.
“Faith learning” emerged from the project as a term that conjured up the virtues of wisdom and holiness while also highlighting the processes involved in becoming faithful disciples, holy and wise. Exploring this process of reaching out for wisdom and holiness involves various questions. Can the process be facilitated? Does it need a teacher? Is it enabled by a carefully designed, structured course or does it require a particular and distinctive approach? This paper explores some of these questions in the light of the findings from the research – research that looked at collaborative learning in a wide range of places and projects within Methodism and her ecumenical partners. It reflects on how some of the answers chime with Methodist tradition and Wesleyan spirituality and considers the implications for contemporary practices and initiatives. It also explores how theological action research as a methodology has not only enabled the discernment of these findings but also, through its methods and informing framework, elucidated some of the tensions and insights about the place and nature of learning in Methodist polity and in the fulfilment of Methodism’s mission and calling.
What was uncovered in the research
A broader understanding of learning
Learning has long been recognised within the Methodist Church as “a means of growth in grace and holiness”,2 and the research unearthed the need for a broad and rich understanding of learning, in terms of its source, nature and consequences. Various research participants expressed that learning involved moving beyond information and knowledge. Colin notes that:
There’s a difference between learning something so you can recite it, or you know what it is, and understanding it.
The recognition of the complexity of learning and its elements featured alongside other conversations about a perceived resistance to learning within Methodist churches, particularly among older members, with an association between learning and the classroom, with “right” and “wrong” answers, and a fear about anything too “academic” or “theological”:
One of the ladies in particular was very reluctant to join in anything that she thought was too academic. She used the word theological but I think she really meant academic. And therefore, the word “study” was off-putting so we called it Bible chat. And we said that it was going to be easy enough for everyone to take part in. (Anne)
The association between learning and change also came to the fore in much of the data:
With the learning that’s taking place around local preachers, it’s not just about learning stuff. It’s about how it changes them as people and changes the people around them… You see these folks grow… (Sarah)
Learning is the sort of thing that, if we are open to it, will change us and help us to develop. Learning is something that is an integral part of life, whether we want to do it or not. (Kate)
This notion of growth through learning, this moving towards holiness and wisdom, loving and living well, was visible in much of the data, regardless of location or grouping. The term “faith learning” seems to encapsulate the process and its impact, and to be recognised by many participants even if they do not, or cannot, name or explain what is going on. Also evident was the fact that learning often takes place outside (or alongside) the formal courses and the opportunities – in the informal, the everyday, in unexpected moments and encounters, in real-life situations. Much learning was incidental, incognito or disguised, occurring while other things were happening or the focus was elsewhere. We were challenged, too, to acknowledge that individuals and communities were often more developed in their learning than had been thought. What appeared to be constraining was the lack of confidence, particularly in being able to articulate the profound wisdom and deep understanding that was clearly evident.
Learning through conversation and in community
While a degree of reticence, resistance and a lack of confidence were detected when it came to learning, especially in formal situations or when the focus was on attending courses, barriers to learning were overcome when relationships, community and conversation helped to create a more propitious environment. When shared with those tasked with facilitating learning and development within the Methodist Church, there was considerable recognition of the validity of these findings. An extract from a research interview in part of the project looking at learning in rural communities illustrates this:
Oh we’ve looked at a very good initiative, Holy Habits. We’re using some of that material to develop… But out of that, you see, really what is essentially a community activity comes enrichment, but you don’t have to force it. (Terry)
The Holy Habits material is concerned with formation into discipleship and a distinctive way of life. The resource material is very flexible and has generally been well received in the Methodist Church, which produced it. Here Terry acknowledges the value of the resource, but the learning conversations in which he took part were “essentially a community activity.”
In a very different and urban context, here is another example of a response to the Holy Habits material:
Can anybody remember any of the headings we worked under? You see, I can’t. (Helen)
The structured content of the material is not what had an impact on Helen, yet her overall experience was a positive one. Indeed the “holy habit” of effective learning that seems to recur in the study is one of conversation, which is, as Terry says, “essentially a community activity.”
Meanwhile our research among Methodists in Wales revealed an interest in the relationship between learning in worship through the traditional means of the sermon, and the learning in the conversations to which it might give rise. Here we see the interplay of a traditional and formal style of learning with the conversational culture of the Methodist people:
And it was… I learned more from getting to know someone in depth through the fellowship. So, how shall I say that, if we’re open… that suggests I’m just talking about the social networking afterwards but I think it’s more than that. It’s realising that learning in the context of the church means learning about the people as well as the sermon so to speak, which this church is pretty good at, I think. (Jen)
The preaching is acknowledged to be of a good standard, but only in the depth of relationship found through the meaningful fellowship of disciples does the real learning from the resource of preaching take place.
Learning through being involved in serving the church with others was also a significant theme. Ian had originally attended an Alpha course but did not subsequently attend any other courses that were being offered:
I was vaguely aware of them; I found that I’ve become involved in the church and I’ve taken the role of being the steward and now I’m treasurer as well. So, I found that my church work and community support have [me]… quite fully occupied in terms of property committee and being a steward. And the people I’m surrounded by keep my faith together, shall we say, and I haven’t really looked in detail at anything wider than that. (Ian)
Ian’s relationships are his source of learning, and, similarly, it is conversation in community that was often found among our research participants to be fundamental in “build[ing] them up in that holiness without which they cannot see the Lord”.3 Conversation and faith learning would seem to be inextricably linked.
Resonance with Methodist tradition and Wesleyan spirituality
Conversation as formation and learning lies deep within the Methodist tradition and Wesleyan spirituality, and thus this finding should come as no surprise. The brothers John and Charles Wesley, along with their numerous siblings, had their primary education from their extraordinary mother, Susanna, whose impact was so significant that she has often been dubbed the “Mother of Methodism”. Susanna’s main pedagogy was one of strict routine and discipline, but alongside this stood another strand – that of conversation with her children:
I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly; on Tuesday with Hetty; Wednesday, with Nancy; Thursday, with Jacky; Friday, with Patty; Saturday, with Charles; and with Emily and Suky together on Sunday.4
An education for discipleship and mission in which careful attention is paid to speaking and listening. This Godly conversation was at the heart of John Wesley’s pastoral practice as a mature minister. A few examples from consecutive days in his journalling notes reveal just how significant this practice was:
- Monday 30… 8.45[a.m.] at Bro. Waldron’s, conversed, tea, visited… 7.30[p.m.]… conversed to some…
- Tuesday 31… 10[a.m.] at Dr. Rawdon’s, tea, conversed; 11[a.m.] at home,
conversed to many…
- Wednesday 1… 10[a.m.] at home, conversed to many… 5[p.m.]… tea, conversed…
Thursday 2… 10[a.m] conversed to Bro. Hum[phreys], conversed to many…5
In between the many conversations on these same days Wesley frequently continues the conversations with “the bands” – small confidential groups meeting for faith sharing and mutual support. Small groups have historically been at the very heart of conversation-based learning and discipleship formation in Methodism.
In a study of discipleship formation in small groups, Roger Walton (a Methodist presbyter) argues that discipleship formation takes places around three centres of energy: mission, worship and community.6 He also identifies the basis of “Christian education” as enabling people to be at home in the language of faith.7 Learning to speak Christian is an essential part of learning to do Christian. Within this, Walton sees small groups as offering a space that is relatively free from the official doctrine or practice of the Church and allows a freedom of expression, exploration and growth,8 which is often lacking elsewhere.9
Methodist practice and different voices – the interface between the formal and informal
While the findings of this research are recognised by those involved in learning in the Methodist Church, with an acknowledgement of the efficacy and importance of learning through conversation, there is arguably some disconnect between this and actual practice, with a pressure to “deliver training” and run highly structured courses, particularly in areas requiring legislative compliance. There would seem, then, to be some inconsistency between (to borrow from the language of theological action research and the four voices) “espoused” beliefs about learning and “operant” practice, although even within the constraints of statutory courses, there is some recognition of the value of conversation, as in the example of the mandatory training around equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the Methodist Church described below.10
The EDI training is currently only available through an online learning platform designed for individual study and in a format that requires learners to complete every part of the course. The covering letter commending the roll out to superintendent ministers, however, explicitly states that although the course must be done individually and online, the most important learning will surely take place when this becomes part of the conversation of church committees and groups. We see the complexity and interrelation of the voices of theology identified by theological action research – the normative voice of the roll-out letter sent on behalf of the governing Conference recognising the relative place of the mandatory formal training in shaping the expressed belief and lived practice of local conversations.
Similarly, in responding to another mandatory training initiative, this time for safeguarding, research participant Julian demonstrates the complex interrelationships between different and differing voices, including the formal and normative voice of learning through courses and programmes sent down from the church structure intersecting with the conversational and community-based formation we have seen at work in their reception.
And what we try to do through the group work is open up those sorts of conversations. Recognising people may have their own personal experiences, and they will, and some people have an issue like a very dogmatic view of the world and Christian teaching. And we have to balance that with some of the statutory requirements and also the very clear Methodist policies and procedures.
The need for people to meet particular objectives, to comply, is more to the fore in these safeguarding and EDI courses than other learning activities run by the Church – there is more prescribed content – and it could be argued that these have a different impetus from the faith learning that we have been describing. However, the description of how conversation can bring such learning to life and open up perspectives demonstrates the complexities involved in enabling faith learning in the Church. There would seem to be opportunities for change and growth and the potential for contribution to faith learning through interventions with different originating emphases, with conversation releasing different perspectives and enabling them to be exposed and explored. Within this process, however, there is another conversation – between the normative voice of the Church and the espoused and operant voices.
The Methodist Church’s consideration of “God in Love Unites Us”, the report on marriage and relationships that was presented to the Methodist Conference in 2019 (with a subsequent vote to allow same-sex marriages in June 2021), has provided a powerful example of the value of enabling different voices to be heard in conversation.11 The “prayerful discussions” that were encouraged following the 2019 report were cited by some research participants as particularly significant opportunities in the life of the Church for the exploration of different traditions, giving people a voice and permission to talk about their different perspectives:
It was just great to have an opportunity to explore an issue that was at the heart of the church. And I think it was great… And it’s very widely, we were actually very good at that, we actually made a lot of opportunities for people to discuss that. And, and it just shows, you know, how diverse we are because you know some people are very, you know, your opinion on the actual context was the opportunity to share together and learn together about, you know, we didn’t know what half the terms meant, I don’t think before we’d read the report… It was it was great to do that in in a, in a safe environment that was that was respectful and worked well. (Kieran)
The process, explicitly built on conversation, was designed to be a process of discernment but also of learning, with an interchange, too, between different theological voices: between formal Methodist theology – aspects of the normative expressed in the Methodist Conference report – and the theological voices espoused and operant in different Methodist spaces and held and expressed by different individuals.
Current initiatives and shifts in practice
We have argued that conferring and conversing are integral to Methodist tradition, and they continue to feature, not only enshrined in the governance of the Church through Methodist Conference but also newly conceived in various current Methodist initiatives, with conversation being highlighted as a means to learning and transformation.
The Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity (JDS) was presented to Conference in 2021 in a conference report that set out not only a plan and proposed actions towards the achievement of an inclusive church, but also something of the process that led to the strategy and its recommendations.12 A number of “workstreams” were established that met regularly in order to discern what was needed to bring about change in the Church; the report notes that “the bringing together of different Methodists, for conversation and listening, has been a deeply transformative process”.13 This acknowledgement of the place of conversation is also reflected in the report’s recommendations, which include “gatherings to encourage real conversations”, with an endorsement of conversation and “deeper encounter” as a means to transformation.14 Similarly, the Walking with Micah project has incorporated conversation – local “justice conversations” – into its process for determining where to focus and renew its efforts in becoming a justice-seeking Church.15 People were invited to be part of “a big conversation”, holding conversations in their local churches, circuits, local preachers’ meetings and class meetings, in which they discussed their experiences, what matters to them and what it means today to be a justice-seeking Church. Questions were available to prompt the conversations, with the assurance that the products of those conversations would inform the direction of the project, with project leaders reflecting on what they “heard” and learning from the different experiences that were conveyed back to them. Effectively this was a process of consultation but inherent in it was the notion of sharing to prompt thinking about the issues – a recognition that ideas and thinking could be enabled and drawn out through exchange and encounter, which would then lead to further learning if shared more widely.
Conversation is not mentioned explicitly in A Methodist Way of Life,16 a re-working of Our Calling,17 a process that began in 2018. Among the 12 things identified as being necessary if we are to live out our calling is learning, and the guidance focuses not on learning with others but on individual learning (through podcasts, books and journalling). However, it also identifies being open as one of the other steps and, within that, hospitality, described as “an attitude of openness to others, to learn about them and from them, to widen our understanding and perhaps to be changed by the encounter”.18 This comes close to the conversation we recognise as being part of Methodist identity, and which was seen in our project as being central to achieving deep learning; within this is also acknowledged the relationship between encounter and change.
In 2020 the Methodist Church adopted God for All, a strategy for evangelism and growth that connects to Our Calling.19 Subsequently resources and programmes (which also reference A Methodist Way of Life as a resource) have been developed to help people across the Connexion to connect to the initiative and to take action. Reflection and learning are central, with a view to “bringing faith into conversation with experience” and with a drive also towards encouraging and enabling people to be in conversation as a means of sharing their faith with others. This approach was encouraged in a conference attended by one our research participants – the Reimagining Circuits Conference, a conference that drew on the evangelism and growth strategy and involved a key member of that strategy’s team. Michael, a minister who participated in our research, comments:
… the difficulty of it, I think, for people, it wasn’t quite grounded enough in day-by-day existence. What we need to be doing is grounding things in a language that people understand, that they can do something with.
Expanding on the source of these observations, he describes how:
… he was giving these examples where “when I talked to this person, and we went into this place, and we were able to sit down, and we saw this café, and we went there, and then we were able to this and talk about Jesus in this particular, and we got involved in this”.
The encouragement to be bold in sharing one’s faith in informal settings echoes the Everyone an Evangelist Process,20 the process designed, as part of the evangelism and growth strategy, “to build confidence and skills in telling people about God”.21 Michael’s further reflections on the input around this at the conference suggest his recognition of a need for conversations that grow more organically out of the individual’s particular style, or personality, or background, rather than following a particular approach or relying on a certain level of extroversion.
For somebody who may be a little shy or a little bit more introvert in that respect, “well I can’t do that”.
The extent to which the Everyone an Evangelist process will be able to equip individuals to initiate and shape conversations in which they tell people about God needs further exploration but, in the light of the research we are reporting here, it is interesting to note an initiative that is about enabling people to learn about enabling others’ faith learning.
Our research suggests that the learning that takes hold in everyday and informal settings happens through a deep and complex exchange: listening is as significant as telling, and there is a degree of mutuality, which means that the learning is not unidirectional and not initiated and aimed at a predetermined outcome. This has significant implications for the extent to which such a process can be planned or curated.
Impact on our own practice
The learning from this learning project has significant implications for those in the Methodist Church who are involved in equipping others. Attempts to put the learning into practice by authors of this paper offer some examples. One is the explicit labelling of some courses as “conversations” – and not just labelling them as such but also facilitating them in line with this, not as a gimmick or educational trick but a genuine intention to engage in deep conversation. A specific case was the offering of continuing development sessions for local preaching tutors, some of whom had been resistant to “being trained”. Being invited to conversations in which their wisdom and experience were sought and valued proved to be both more appealing and more effective as a learning experience. Another example demonstrates change in the approach to learning facilitation, with a conscious decision to resist the instinct to reorder and supplement the chosen small group resources, which seemed disorganised and lacking in clear direction. Instead, allowing the cues in the conversation to determine which elements of the course material were accessed, the conversation was left to flow freely, silences respected, insights and personal stories allowed to enter and meander through the conversation and then leave freely. This was subsequently judged by the person facilitating to be one of the stronger small group series to be used in this setting in terms of depth and growth.
Supporting faith learning
The real challenge, of course, is how best to support learning that is momentary, informal and spontaneous, how to create opportunities for deep conversation, and how to build up people’s confidence and affirm the language being used to articulate learning. The tendency to trip oneself up is all too apparent when attempts are made to formalise the informal or create spontaneity. Maybe it would be helpful to take a step back and reflect on our understanding of what faith learning is and where agency lies? Are we maintaining a culture that views education as pouring into rather than drawing out?
T. S. Eliot’s words from “Choruses from ‘The Rock’” came to mind:
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?22
According to David Ford, for any seeker after wisdom,
the core activity is crying out for it. The cry goes first to God… But it is not self–generated. It is elicited… The One who evokes our cry generates wisdom and the desire for it. Our cry is a response to the call of wisdom herself. In the Bible, apart from the desire for God there is no desire that is more passionately and loudly encouraged than the desire for wisdom.23
And the call of wisdom is nowhere better articulated in the Bible than in the book of Proverbs:
Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks… Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
“To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live… Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”24
How well this chimes in with the notion that learning often takes place, as we described earlier, “in the informal, the everyday, in unexpected moments and encounters, in real-life situations”. Faith learning is not restricted to the environs or formal processes of the church, and wisdom is accrued relationally and conversationally, and its source is the One who also elicits our search after it.
So, instead of attempting to formalise the informal or create spontaneity, maybe the invitation is to nurture a culture in which a desire for wisdom is encouraged and there is greater confidence in the God-given wisdom already distilling in each and every one of us; to recognise that the Holy Spirit is unconfined, blowing where she wills and both alive in us and seeking to draw out of us the wisdom within.
We have taken the bold step of aligning faith learning, wisdom and holiness – or at least speaking of them in the same breath. What possible purpose could faith learning have other than to help us to become more holy and wise? And while we may wish to resist the notion of targets and learning outcomes, surely we would wish for our learning to be effective and fruitful? Our research confirms that formal courses have only a minimal part to play in this, but will we have the courage to work this through in practice? And will we take this into account the next time we are required to provide training to meet legislative compliance? In our list of priorities, which sits higher – the need to be seen to be doing the right thing or the actual effectiveness of the learning being offered?
If we return to the notion of “a discipleship movement shaped for mission” (a term coined by Methodism to describe itself during the early years of this century),25 are there implications here for a Methodist understanding of mission? Is it also the case that mission is most effective when it involves deep conversation, when it is informal and momentary, and when it is, as expressed above, “in the informal, the everyday, in unexpected moments and encounters, in real-life situations”, often “while other things were happening or the focus was elsewhere”?
Methodism was raised up “to spread scriptural holiness through the land by the proclamation of the evangelical faith” and continues to declare “its unfaltering resolve to be true to its divinely appointed mission”.26 Faith learning has a vital role to play in that, and our research sheds light on how it might be engaged in more effectively – or indeed how it might be recognised and affirmed in the places where it is already taking place and bearing fruit. Becoming holy and wise is a work of God in which we are called to share – so why not learn to share in it well?
About the authors
Stan Brown is a recently retired Methodist presbyter whose ministry has included time in HE chaplaincy and working to develop chaplaincy ministries in the wider Methodist Church. He has also served as a circuit minister in Newcastle, Halifax, Wimbledon and Kingston upon Thames. His doctoral research focused on understandings of chaplaincy as a form of mission and presence in predominantly secular institutions. Stan is a member of the Southlands Methodist Trust, working with Southlands College.
Graham Jones is an ordained Methodist minister currently serving as a learning and development officer based in York. Prior to this appointment he had been a local minister in Hull, a university chaplain in York and a rural officer based at the Arthur Rank Centre in Warwickshire. Graham is passionate about learning and developing a culture in the church in which all are encouraged and enabled to keep exploring and growing.
Sue Miller is director of the Susanna Wesley Foundation, part of the Southlands Methodist Trust, a charity based at the University of Roehampton. Formerly a principal lecturer at the University of Westminster, Sue has taught organisational behaviour and leadership to post-experience students and a range of modules to undergraduates. She has carried out research and consultancy in the areas of equality, diversity, inclusion, change and leadership in different sectors, including charities and faith.
More from this issue
- The Methodist Church, The Constitutional Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church, Volume 2 (London: The Methodist Church in Great Britain, 2023), 213, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ media/30255/conf-2023-cpd-vol-2.pdf ↩︎
- The Methodist Conference, “Stirring up the Spark of Grace: Connexional Training Strategies,” Conference Reports 2008, no. 42, 430, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ downloads/conf08_42_ Conx_Training_Strat_report 210808.doc ↩︎
- John Wesley, “The Twelve Rules of a Helper” (1753). ↩︎
- Written by Susanna Wesley in a letter to her husband from 6 February 1711–12. Recorded in Percy Livingstone Parker ed., The Journal of John Wesley (Chicago: Moody Press, 1951), chap. 4, accessed 29 August 2023, https://ccel.org/ ccel/wesley/journal/journal.i.html ↩︎
- Nehemiah Curnock, ed., The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., vol. 2 (London: Epworth Press, 1938). ↩︎
- Roger Walton, Disciples Together: Discipleship Formation and the Role of Small Groups (London: SCM Press, 2014), 39. ↩︎
- Ibid., 45. ↩︎
- Ibid., 111. ↩︎
- Ibid., 47. ↩︎
- For further discussion of the four voices, see the introduction to the project in this issue and Helen Cameron et al., Talking about God in Practice: Theological Action Research and Practical Theology (London: SCM Press, 2010). ↩︎
- “Archive Marriage and Relationships – 2019,” The Methodist Church, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ MandR19/ ↩︎
- The Methodist Conference, “Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity: working towards a fully inclusive Methodist Church,” Conference 2021 Agenda, vol. 3, no 56, 753–89, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ media/21966/conf-2021-56-strategy-for-justice-dignity-and-solidarity-working-towards-a-fully-inclusive-methodist-church.pdf ↩︎
- Ibid., 761. ↩︎
- Ibid., 770. ↩︎
- “Walking with Micah,” The Methodist Church, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ our-work/our-work-in-britain/social-justice/walking-with-micah/ ↩︎
- “A Methodist Way of Life,” The Methodist Church, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ our-faith/a-methodist-way-of-life/ ↩︎
- “Our Calling,” The Methodist Church, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ about-us/the-methodist-church/our-calling/ ↩︎
- “Open,” “A Methodist Way of Life,” The Methodist Church, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ our-faith/a-methodist-way-of-life/visit-every-station/open/ ↩︎
- The Methodist Conference, “God For All: The Connexional Strategy for Evangelism and Growth,” Conference Reports 2020, no. 4, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ media/19181/conf-2020-4-evangelism-and-growth.pdf ↩︎
- Everyone an Evangelist, The Methodist Church, https://www.methodist.org.uk/ our-work/our-work-in-britain/evangelism-growth/practise-evangelism/equipped-for-evangelism/everyone-an-evangelist ↩︎
- “Take your next steps in Evangelism and Growth”, The Methodist Church, 7. https://www.methodist.org.uk/ media/20686/3507-evangelism-and-growth-strategy-booklet-for-web-single-pages.pdf ↩︎
- T. S.Eliot, Collected Poems 1909–1962 (London, Faber and Faber Ltd., 1974), 161. ↩︎
- David F. Ford, Christian Wisdom: Desiring God and Learning in Love (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 51. ↩︎
- Prov. 1:20–21; 8:1–4, 10–11 (NRSV). ↩︎
- Martyn Atkins, “Contemporary Methodism: a discipleship movement shaped for mission [The General Secretary’s Report],” Methodist Conference Reports 2011 (The Methodist Church in Britain, 2011), accessed 4 June 2018, http://www.methodist.org.uk/ downloads/conf2011-pc-2-gen-sec-conference-report-0812.doc ↩︎
- The Constitutional Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church,.213. https://www.methodist.org.uk/ media/30255/conf-2023-cpd-vol-2.pdf ↩︎