Thank you for drawing our attention to the advertising for the ‘Leave means leave’ event on 17 January. It is, as some have helpfully noted, a booking made through Central Hall Westminster Ltd, the company contracted to rent space in the building for events and conferences etc.
The Church staff are particularly concerned that ‘Methodist Central Hall’ has been identified as the venue. While it is the case that both refer to the same building, we all work hard to separate ‘church’ events and church sponsored events (identified by using ‘Methodist Central Hall Westminster’) and ‘commercial’ bookings in the building (identified by using ‘Central Hall Westminster Ltd’). We will be asking CHW Ltd to liaise with their client as a matter of urgency to properly describe the venue for this event.
Hundreds of events take place in the building each year, and we strive to apply Methodist Standing Orders and Statements fairly and impartially to all bookings, both church and commercial. This results in some events not being able to take place in the building, and in terms of ‘political’ events this particularly relates to organisations about which the Methodist Conference has made a formal statement, or it is a period of a general election – when particular Methodist Standing Orders become ‘active’. In terms of this booking, normal conversations took place between the MCHW Superintendent minister and senior CHW Ltd staff and it was agreed that there was no such reason why the booking should not take place. In recent months a number of CHW Ltd events relating to Brexit have taken place in the building, and these have advocated all the main views found among our divided population at this time. Consequently, it is the case that events take place in the building run by organisations whose views on many significant subjects are not those that some staff – whether commercial or church staff – would share, and sometimes decidedly so.