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Criticism mounts over redundancy plans for Methodist Church overseas missionaries

by Tola Mbakwe
Methodist Church logo 2.png thumb.png - Banner image

Unite, the UK’s faith workers union, has expressed significant concerns over the Methodist Church in Great Britain’s plans to make all its non-ordained overseas missionaries redundant by this August.

These missionaries include essential personnel such as doctors, nurses, and teachers.

The union said it started receiving enquiries from the affected missionaries in January when the Church disclosed its redundancy proposals and the associated terms and conditions.

Unite said it is concerned that the redundancy process could potentially be discriminatory because ordained ministers have not been considered for return to the UK. The union also criticised the Church's attempt to "isolate lay missionaries by insisting on confidentiality during individual consultations".

It urged Church leaders to clarify that the missionaries are not prevented from discussing the consultation process with others and that their collective concerns will be addressed.

Unite said it is also alarmed about a lack of immigration planning or assistance for missionaries who have married overseas or have children born overseas.

Unite deputy regional secretary Sarah Cook said: “Unite is demanding that the Methodist Church enter collective consultations with the union before making any redundancy decisions. It is clear that the church’s current plan has not been thought through. It is potentially discriminatory and could leave its lay missionaries in an extremely vulnerable position. This is completely unacceptable and a dereliction of the church’s duty towards its lay missionaries.”

The Methodist Church told Premier Christian News in a statement: “We are unable to comment on the discussions taking place regarding our mission partners due to the on-going consultation process.”


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