An Anglican-Methodist Covenant - 1/4
An Anglican-Methodist Covenant
Common Statement of the Formal Conversations between the Methodist Church and the Church of England - 2001
A Summary of the Report by Jeremy Dare
- The Report opens with a common statement about important theological issues connected with unity in faith, ministry and oversight.
- Our shared history and separation are summarised. The Report then considers matters requiring attention in order to narrow the gap. This is followed by brief histories of each denomination.
- The development encouraged by these conversations is the seeking of opportunities for reconciliation where differences of view are keeping us separate.
- The report then gives some background to the past fifty years of conversations, including mention of the trilateral talks, which included the United Reformed Church.
- Sharing in God's mission, where Jesus is the pattern and centre, is an important area where we can commit to become closer.
- Visible unity can be displayed through shared belief based on the Bible and Creeds. Our sharing of one Baptism and one Holy Communion is another mark of our close proximity. An important area is having a common ministry of word and sacrament. If we manage to move towards compatible oversight systems we could well be close enough to address full visible unity.
The Covenant affirmations include:
- Each other's churches are true churches of Jesus Christ.
- Word and sacraments of Baptism and Lord's Supper are celebrated.
- Our Churches live the faith revealed in the Bible and Creeds.
- Ministries are affirmed as God given vehicles of grace.
- Ordained ministries are based on inward call of the Holy Spirit and Christ's commission given through the Church.
Denominational structures are conciliar and connexional, exercising oversight in various ways.
The principle of episcopal oversight exists in both our churches.
The Covenant Commitments include:
- Work to overcome obstacles currently preventing full visible unity, in particular interchangeable ministry.
- Share our distinctive contributions, collaborating in witness and service.
Continue to welcome baptised members of each other's churches to participate with us.
- Encourage sharing in the Lord's Supper within the limits of denominational rules.
- Listen to and note the concerns of each other.
- Develop structures in consultation with each other in order to move towards a united ministry of oversight.
- Seek approval of affirmations and commitments in stages by Methodist Conference and General Synod of the Church of England.
- This would involve discussion and debate throughout the Churches. The United Reformed Church would be invited to respond.
- A Joint Implementation Commission to be set up giving priority to the question of interchangeability of diaconal, presbyteral and episcopal ministries on the theological basis set out in the report.
The Rev Jeremy Dare is Superintendent Minister of the Ashford (Kent) Circuit, Synod Secretary for the London South-East District and a member of the Methodist Council.