New Vice-President reflects on Transforming Hope

News release

29 June 2019

Pleasure, piety and politics – the new Vice-President sets out his framework for a Christian life

At the beginning of his year in office as Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, Professor Clive Marsh, set out how life-experience can be contained in the relationship between pleasure, piety and politics. In addition, this framework can be used to commend the Christian faith to others.


Professor Marsh is Head of the University of Leicester’s Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning and an International Research Consultant at the Queen’s Foundation. He seeks to help people think creatively about how faith, life and popular culture interweave, and what happens to theology as a result.


In an address at the Representative Session of the Methodist Conference in Birmingham on Saturday 29 June, Professor Marsh said: “faith does not squeeze the pips out of life. On the contrary, faith allows us to enjoy life to the full. It gives us a measure of, and ways of discerning, what is genuinely life-enhancing.”


Piety, Professor Marsh said: “at its best is about having a balanced, grounded, nourishing approach to daily life. Piety allows us to “make prayerful evaluations and hard choices about both the pleasure and politics which make up our life.”


Contending that we “cannot let our lives be a simple amalgam of pleasure and piety”, Professor Marsh said: “With all that’s been happening in recent years – in this country and elsewhere – it’s understandable, of course, why people have become disillusioned with political life. Brexit hasn’t exactly encouraged British citizens to feel confident about the world of politics. Christians must not, though, become detached and distant from political processes.”

To watch a video and read the full text of Professor Marsh delivering his address click here.


  1. A keen tennis player and music lover, Professor Marsh is a church member, local preacher and tutor in the Leicester Trinity Circuit.
  2. The Conference is the body that agrees policy for the Methodist Church. It meets annually as a group of 306 representatives, along with a number of ecumenical and World Church associate members. This year’s Conference is being held in Birmingham from 29 June to 4 July. For more information, visit the Methodist website.
  3. You can watch the Conference live here.
  4. Follow the Conference conversation on Twitter via the #methodistconf hashtag. Please note that comments and opinions on Twitter and the blog do not necessarily represent the Methodist Church’s position.

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