Methodist Church offers £48,000 salary of 'inclusion advisor' in pivotal year for same-sex marriage

The Methodist Church is offering a £48,000 salary for an 'equality, diversity and inclusion advisor' to move the denomination 'towards its goal of being truly inclusive'.

The role will be the 'highest level of expertise and knowledge' on equality, diversion and inclusion' (EDI) in the Methodist Church and the chosen candidate 'will be active in ensuring that those who service the Church act in ways that are inclusive', the job advert says.

The Methodist Conference last met in Birmingham in June 2017Alex Baker Photography

The candidate will be expected 'to make recommendations to the Church on how to build on common ground whilst respecting differences, leading and facilitating highly complex, demanding and emotive discussions on the Church's ambitions for EDI', the job description states.

They will also advise the leaders on 'the skills and behaviours for an inclusive Church' and work to develop 'a full expression of inclusion in the life of the Methodist Church'.

The Methodist Church's membership is declining rapidly, falling by around 3.5 per cent each year in the decade up to 2016. Just three in 1,000 people in the UK are now Methodists and 188,398 people were members as of October last year, the Church's ministry statistics revealed. 

However the Methodist Church is regarded as a cash-rich denomination after it took the decision to free up huge sums of money held by individual churches or trusts in cash reserves to be used for mission and evangelism.

Methodists are expected to decide this year on whether to change their definition of marriage after commissioning a group to 'revisit' its conservative understanding.

The decision to reconsider was taken at the Methodist Conference in 2016 and the group working on the issue was expected to take two years before returning to the conference this summer. The decision to revisit its stance does not commit the Church to changing but many in the debate expressed their hope that it would.

It comes as the Anglican and Methodist Churches are considering whether to allow them to share ministers and give Methodists bishops for the first time.

A motion related to the Mission and Ministry in Covenant that lays out details of the pact will be debated at the forthcoming general synod of the Church of England in February and a speaker from the Methodist Church is set to address the synod.

The Church of England has also commissioned a new teaching document on sexuality after its ruling synod threw out a report that maintained its traditionalist definition on marriage.