Social Responsibility, Division of

Formed in 1919 as the Temperance (and from 1942 the Temperance and Social Welfare) Department, and renamed 'Christian Citizenship' in 1950, in 1973 this became the Division of Social Responsibility. Its task was to assist the Methodist Church in the effective presentation of Christian social witness. The changes of name reflect an ever-expanding agenda and the range and depth of Methodism's concern to stimulate thought and action on the social, political and international issues which confront the Church and its members. The Division's history also demonstrates the inter-relatedness of those issues. Beginning with a concern about alcohol abuse, it went on to study other addictions such as compulsive gambling. This in turn led to an interest in marriage and mental breakdown and crime. The Division has produced definitive Methodist statements on divorce (1946), peace and war (1957), industry (1960), the treatment of animals (1961), race (1961) and a number of other subjects of fundamental importance. It administers the Methodist Relief Fund and has assisted, both in Britain and in overseas Methodist Churches, the application of John Wesley's insistence that 'there is no holiness but social holiness.'

  • Methodist Recorder, 1 June 1939
  • G.Thompson Brake, Policy and Politics in British Methodism, 1932-1982 (1984) pp.433-580