Methodists launch resource on sexuality and relationships

 The Methodist Church today launched a new resource designed to helping individuals and groups to think about and discuss sexuality and relationships. 'Let's Explore', is primarily designed to help people in a faith community to reflect on and share their views about sex, sexuality and relationships - although it might be used in other community and education settings also. The resource is described "as a pastoral care development tool and resource to help groups and individuals to explore issues that deeply affect people". The programme, the first of its kind by a Church, is being established through a series of facilitators' training days. These are aimed at church youth workers, pastoral carers and ministers as well as PSHME teachers and co-ordinators and others with pastoral care roles. Participants at the facilitators' training days will receive a 'Let's Explore' resource pack which features a suggested framework for group leaders and teachers to lead their own programme. This includes a number of "real life" scenarios that address the choices and demands of relationships and sexuality, as well as useful references for other related materials. The National Training Officer for the Church, Ms Anne Topping, who was responsible for developing the training programme and resource said: "As a church, we endeavour to look after the pastoral needs of members, though sometimes people feel ill-equipped to deal with certain, deeply personal issues. This resource will enable people to have the confidence and sensitivity to explore these issues. It is important that this is done in a non-judgemental way. This does not mean not challenging people's responses but challenging them in a way which is constructive and supportive." In the resource pack's foreword, the Rev David Gamble, Methodist Church Secretary for Pastoral Care and Personal Relationships, explains that the programme "creates a safe setting" in which a small group can discuss and reflect on sexuality and relationships. He says: "Because sex and sexuality are controversial issues within the church, it might have been easier to leave it to someone else to produce resources about them. But that would have been to avoid our responsibility to help people explore crucial aspects of their own identity and their place in the world. These matters are far too important to ignore." Methodist Church Vice President, Mrs Ann Leck, welcomed the launch saying: "Let's Explore should encourage many groups to discover the important relationship of sexuality, spirituality and faith." The Pastoral Director of the Children's Charity NCH, the Rev Bill Lynn, said: "This excellent resource will help young people to address issues of sexuality in a safe and positive way."

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