…This further report comes before General Synod this week (as paper GS 2135). Anglican Catholic Future is glad to see that it picks up–or seems to pick up–a range of concerns raised in 2018 including:
- whether a partial development such as this–with interchangeability of ministry between two churches that remain distinct–aids or hinders the goal of full visible unity (section A1);
- whether the change in ecclesial life of the Methodist Church proposed in MMiCconstitutes a recognisable form of the historic episcopate (section B);
- the relation between Eucharistic presidency and episcopal ordination (section A3).
The working group has done important work in relation to the first of those questions, concerning the unity of the churches, which we welcome. When it comes to the other two questions that caused concern in early 2018, however, the document placed before Synod this week is far more problematic…
In our own February 2018 statement, we noted questions about whether the proposals would lead to unity, and whether the office of ‘President-bishop’ (to be held for one year only) could be recognized as a ‘local adaption’ of the historic episcopate of the catholic Church. We are grateful to note some progress with regard to the question of unity, but our question as to whether what is proposed is in fact episcopacy remains.
Our third and greatest concern was about the proposal to set aside the requirement that those who minister as priests in the Church of England should have been episcopally ordained to the office of priest. In response to this concern, which was shared by others, the General Synod asked the Faith and Order Commission to ‘explore and elucidate further the relationship between episcopal ordination and eucharistic presidency’. That the Commission has not attempted to offer such an elucidation is a deep disappointment…
The Methodist Church (which covers Great Britain, i.e. England, Scotland and Wales) has published the report of its Marriage and Relationships Task Group 2019, together with a number of ancillary documents.
There is a Media Briefing which is probably the best place to start. Some of this is copied below the fold.
Also there is a Frequently Asked Questions page.
The full report is available as a PDF here.24 Comments
The Church of England has published the press release below with proposals to bring the Church of England and the Methodist Church in Britain into full communion.
The Methodist Church has published its own press release. Although this ends “The report has now been released for discussion in the Methodist Conference this week and the Church of England’s General Synod in July” the report is not on the agenda of either meeting.
Publication of Mission and Ministry in Covenant
27 June 2017
The Church of England and the Methodist Church in Britain are to consider proposals that would bring them into a new relationship of full communion, after a period of some 200 years of formal separation.
The proposals are presented in Mission and Ministry in Covenant, a joint report from the two churches’ faith and order bodies. It sets out how the Methodist Church could come to have bishops in the historic episcopate, and how ministers from one church could become eligible to serve in the other.
The report builds on the theological convergence established by ‘An Anglican-Methodist Covenant’, signed in 2003, and the subsequent work of the Covenant’s Joint Implementation Commission.
In 2014 the General Synod of the Church of England and the Methodist Conference mandated the faith and order bodies to bring forward proposals that would enable the interchangeability of ministries in the two churches.
The report sets out a way by which the Methodist Church would become one of the churches with which the Church of England is officially in communion, alongside other members of the Anglican Communion and Lutheran churches in the Porvoo Communion.
The Bishop of Coventry, The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, said: “I am grateful to the joint working group for their careful but imaginative work on bringing forward a workable plan for enabling interchangeability of presbyteral ministry in our two churches.
“The solution is built on the centrality of the historic episcopate and the bishop as minister of ordination.
“The scheme as proposed will enable dioceses, districts and local churches to engage in creative pastoral planning for the good of the mission of God in this country.”
The Bishop of Fulham The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Anglican Co-Chair of the joint working group, said: “The separation between Anglicans and Methodists in Great Britain is a tear in the fabric of the Body of Christ.
“The proposals in this Report are offered as a means of helping to repair that tear.
“They maintain the catholic, episcopal ordering of the church while at the same time acknowledging the real and effective ministry exercised by minsters in the Methodist Church.
“I warmly commend them for prayerful reading in the churches.”
The report has now been released with the aim of enabling a wider discussion in the Methodist Church and in the Church of England, and to allow consultation with other ecumenical partners.
Notes to editors:13 Comments