Westminster Laymen's Movement

In 1954 eighty Methodist laymen, from most of the Districts of British Methodism, met at Westminster Training College, then still in London, to discuss the situation in contemporary Methodism and the role of laymen in offering a gospel relevant to the needs of the time. One result was the formation of the Westminster Laymen's Movement, with the aim of mobilizing and enabling lay involvement in the life of the Church. They issued a statement setting out the 'problem' facing Methodism in the post-war world, and between 1959 and 1963 a quarterly bulletin with the same title, 'Laymen Talk to Laymen', was issued. Between 1954 and 1963 meetings for laymen were held in many Districts. After 1963 it was hoped that without futher guidance a better informed laity, in partnership with the ministry, would lead to a more effective Church. The Movement was one of the organisations which took part in a conference at Didsbury College, Bristol, in January 1961, resulting in a pamphlet entitled 'Faith - a Plan of Action'. Among those involved from the outset were such key figures as Douglas Blatherwick, Douglas V. Brown and Philip Race.