‘Significant steps’ needed to progress Anglican-Methodist Covenant
22 May 2014
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with the
President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, have
today issued a joint statement to their Churches.
The Most Revd Justin Welby, the Most Revd John Sentamu, the Revd
Ruth Gee and Dr Daleep Mukarji have issued the statement in
response to a report that will be debated by the Methodist
Conference and General Synod this year.
The report, entitled
The Challenge of the Covenant, recommends that both Churches
take action to enhance unity between them, with the work being
fully embedded in Church structures. The report also encourages the
Church of England to address the question of interchangeability of
ordained ministries between the two Churches, and the Methodist
Church to consider the possibility of a form of episcopal ministry
(such as a 'president bishop').
The statement from the Archbishops and Methodist Presidency
welcomes the report, stating that:
"The time has now come for our churches to take further,
significant steps to achieve that level of reconciliation between
us and partnership in the gospel that will enhance our mission
together in local communities and our shared witness to the whole
The full statement follows:
As we look ahead to important debates in the Methodist Conference
and the General Synod on the future direction of the Covenant
between our two churches, we affirm our commitment to the Covenant
and give thanks for the many ways the Covenant is beneficial to
both our churches at all levels of church life and to our common
work of service and witness. We welcome the final report of the
Joint Implementation Commission (JIC) to the Methodist Conference
and the General Synod entitled 'The Challenge of the Covenant'. In
preparation for the debates, we encourage prayerful study of this
and of the Quinquennial Report published last September.
The Methodist Conference will consider the JIC report in early
July, before the July sessions of the General Synod, at which the
main business will be the final stage of the Bishops and Priests
(Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. The outcome of this
vote in the General Synod is immensely important to Methodists as
well as to Anglicans, and will have an impact on the future
outworking of the Covenant.
Owing to the focus on and time needed for the women bishops
legislation in July, the expectation is that the General Synod
debate on the JIC Report will be in November. The debate and vote
on the JIC Report in July at the Methodist Conference, the vote on
women bishops in the General Synod and its debate on the JIC Report
in November will all be important building blocks for the next
stage of the Covenant journey.
We are grateful to the JIC for setting before our two churches a
clear challenge. This is a moment for thankfulness as we reflect on
the journey already travelled since the Covenant was signed more
than ten years ago and for trust and boldness as we each consider,
in our respective governing bodies, the challenge now set before
It is our shared conviction that the time has now come for our
churches to take further, significant steps to achieve that level
of reconciliation between us and partnership in the gospel that
will enhance our mission together in local communities and our
shared witness to the whole of society. Our Churches are called to
proclaim the good news of God's kingdom and, in the words of John
Wesley, to 'spread scriptural holiness through the land'. This
calling includes the prophetic role of speaking out with and for
the poor and marginalised, and the common task of evangelism. We
believe that we will grow in unity the more we fulfil this calling
May we hold faith with each other and be guided by the Holy Spirit,
through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The Anglican-Methodist Covenant was signed in November 2003.
Find out more here.