Comments: General Synod day 2

"The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, spoke of how the church in Kenya was growing, and that the Kenyan diocese linked with Chelmsford had been made into five dioceses. He said that the Bishops from Kenya did not attend the last Lambeth Conference in 2008, but did attend the pre-Lambeth hospitality initiative hosted by the Diocese of Chelmsford. “In other words, the friendships we have with each other were strong enough to bridge what could have become an ever-lengthening divide.

“We have learned a lesson in Chelmsford that the whole Anglican Communion and every Christian community needs to learn, and it is this: you cannot choose your fellow travellers in the Christian way. In following Christ, we find ourselves – whether we like it or not – walking alongside all sorts of people we wouldn’t have chosen as companions if we had drawn up the membership criteria ourselves."
- Bp. Stephen Cottrell -

How interesting - that the Bishops of the Kenyan Province were content to enjoy koinonia with the Diocese of Chelmsford, but NOT WITH the rest of the Communion Bishops meeting at Lambeth.

How do these Kenyan Bishops view the (quoted here) second paragraph of Bishop Cottrell's assertion? If they would agree with +Chelmsford, why did they not attend the Lambeth Conference?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 9 February 2018 at 9:52pm GMT

"'That means that the questions of change are ever more complex, unless we reject our catholicity and the very concept of the church as universal,' he said. "

Because everyone knows that homophobia is a fundamental tenet of Christianity...

"How Long, O Lord!"

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 9 February 2018 at 10:27pm GMT

The Methodist Press Release says that Methodist Conference will not discuss interchangeability until 2019. I thought that the plan was that both churches were to address this issue this year. Is this a sign that more time is needed by the Methodists to convince their membership of the virtues of Episcopacy? Could the hopes for interchangeability fall this time not at the hands of General Synod, but the Methodist Conference?

Posted by Paul Richardson at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 7:21am GMT

Paul, the motion was amended to call for more substantial work. The annual Methodist Conference is in June and the next meeting of General Synod is in July (we are unlikely to meet in November). So 2019 will be the next realistic opportunity to discuss new proposals, no need to read more into it than that. Although I’m sure you’re right that the discussion about episcopacy will be a robust one.

Posted by Jane Charman at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 8:57am GMT

It was a good debate on Mission and Ministry in Covenant, with the hopes and concerns on all sides well expressed, both mission and ecclesiology discussed.

The Archbishop of York said further work needed to be done on the kind of episcopacy envisaged. The Bishop of Portsmouth's amendment committed the church to further work on the relationship between episcopal ordination and Eucharistic presidency. These were the two main areas for concern singled out in the ACF and FinF statements, so it seems to me Synod has responded to that.

I don't think the next steps can be taken for granted, with a significant minority still not able to vote for the proposals, and many that did will need to be satisfied by the outcome of the further work. So I hope the further work will seriously engage with the concerns raised.

Posted by Russell Dewhurst at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 9:12am GMT

Father Ron I thought +Stephen explained it well - 'the friendships we have with each other were strong enough to bridge what could have become an ever-lengthening divide'. Personal relationships and relating to an 'institution' are very different things. I am happy to take the positives here.

Posted by David Runcorn at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 10:03am GMT

For reference, here is the text of the motion on relationships with the Methodist Church as passed by Synod.

That this Synod:
(a) welcome the report Mission and Ministry in Covenant (GS 2086), produced by the faith and order bodies of the Church of England and the Methodist Church in response to resolutions passed by the General Synod and the Methodist Conference in 2014;
(b) call on the Faith and Order Commission to report back to the Synod at the next group of sessions on work carried out jointly with the Methodist Church to address the areas for further reflection outlined at paragraphs 26-29 of the covering note from the Faith and Order Commission to GS 2086;
(c) invite the Faith and Order Commission, in consultation
with the Methodist Church, to explore and elucidate further the relationship between episcopal ordination and eucharistic presidency, as this touches on the full visible unity of our two churches; and
(d) affirm its confident hope that any outstanding issues between our churches may be resolved quickly and satisfactorily and look forward to the day when, on the basis of work already completed and accepted, our ministries will be fully reconciled.

Posted by Peter Owen at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 11:56am GMT

"Church of England Embraces Unity with Methodists" opines Harry Farley. Before we get too excited, nothing of the sort has happened after last night's vote. I am not a theologian, but there are some serious issues to be thrashed-out here: not just about the nature of ordination; but on some rather subtle - but important - doctrinal differences. The Bishop of Portsmouth's point about Eucharistic presidency seems to have hit the spot. But hasn't the House of Bishops already produced a report about this some years ago?

The Methodists haven't even started their formal processes yet. Who knows, given that the rate of decline in the Methodist Church is steeper than the C of E, by the time we get around to agreeing anything there may not be any Methodists left!

Posted by Bill Broadhead at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 7:12pm GMT

Harry Farley’s headline is over exuberant. Most people voted ‘yes’ to more work being done. Whether any proposals can be drawn up that can secure a broad consensus remains to be seen. What will the threshold for approval be? It was 75% last time.

Posted by Jane Charman at Saturday, 10 February 2018 at 9:31pm GMT

I can't understand why Methodists, observing our House of Bishops over the last few years, are not scrambling to have bishops themselves! Or, maybe I can.

Posted by Janet Fife at Sunday, 11 February 2018 at 8:28am GMT

The Methodists are so High Church Sacramentalist that many of the 'Welby Evangelicals' will struggle with to embrace this view of sacramental life and faith, I'll warrant.

We have been here before-- or somewhere similar....

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Tuesday, 13 February 2018 at 4:05pm GMT
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