15 November 2005

Churches launch website to promote Anglican-Methodist Covenant

The Church of England and The Methodist Church have launched a website detailing the work of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant. The historic agreement, committing both churches to explore ways of working together, was signed in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 1 November 2003.

The website - www.anglican-methodist.org.uk - contains resources for churches and individuals, stories of successful Covenant- inspired projects and material for joint acts of worship. It also provide quick links to compare the positions of the two churches on key topics such as marriage and alcohol, as well as a diary section for upcoming events and the history of how the Covenant came to be signed.

The website was created after it became apparent that Methodist and Church of England churches were working together on local projects that were not being publicised to others. The Revd Peter Sulston, Co-ordinating Secretary for Unity in Mission for The Methodist Church, said, 'as the Joint Implementation Commission has kept the implementation of the Covenant under review it has been clear that there is more happening in the name of the Covenant than we were aware of. Joint action on behalf of the whole of both churches is easy to track, but we want to share the success stories of work being done by Dioceses and Districts, by Deaneries and Circuits and by individual Methodists and Anglicans. The website will inspire others to try new things, and enable them to share what they learn.'

The Church of England and The Methodist Church will also hold a series of workshops in the first half of 2006 to promote local work based on the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

The workshops, with the theme 'Living God's Covenant' are designed both to highlight the range of joint work already undertaken by the two churches, and to encourage Christians of both denominations to try new ways of working together. The workshops cost £12.50, which includes lunch.

The daylong workshops span England from Taunton to Newcastle, and each will cover a range of topics relating to the vision for a covenant lifestyle, sharing God's mission and seizing opportunities. The workshops will also address how to overcome obstacles, and how to create a shared participation in a covenant lifestyle.

The workshops will be led by John Cole, National Advisor for Unity in Mission for the Church of England, and Chris Sissons, Development Officer for Local Mission and Unity for the Methodist Church. Members of the Joint Implementation Commission will also take part in each workshop.

Chris Sissons says that the theme of the day will be combining inspiration with practicalities. 'Inspiration involves exploring the vision of what can be achieved as Christian disciples,' he says, 'and then we need to see the practical possibilities in any particular situation and explore what is actually involved in dealing with the obstacles.'

The Revd John Cole says that the workshops are as much about sharing information and experiences as anything else. 'There are already a lot of exciting projects that have grown out of the Covenant within Dioceses and Districts, and in Deaneries and Circuits,' he says. 'People's experience and expertise are crucial to the success of the workshops, both in terms of local knowledge and the insights people can bring. We want to learn as well as to encourage and inspire.'

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