24 May 2003
Historic regional Anglican-Methodist Covenant signed in York Minster
A Covenant of friendship and co-operation between the Diocese of York in the Church of England and two Methodist Districts was signed in the course of a Service in York Minster at 11.00am on Saturday 24 May 2003.
The Chairman of the Methodist District of York & Hull, the Rev Dr Stuart Burgess; the Deputy Chairman of the Methodist District of Darlington, the Rev David Vonberg, and the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Dr David Hope, signed the document during a service to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Wesley, the Church of England minister who became the founder of Methodism.
The Covenant applies to the territory of the Diocese of York, which extends from the Humber to the Tees and from the coast about as far west as the A1. It reflects the growing co-operation between the two Christian traditions on the ground, in sharing buildings, personnel, and increasingly in working together for the communities served by local churches.
The two national churches are approaching the point of agreeing a national Covenant, but this regional Covenant is without precedent.
The Covenant itself (the full text follows below) stresses that "nothing in this Covenant will discourage or hinder the development of relations with other Churches or other Christian communities."
The Covenant strengthens the Christian community as a whole, as an expression of a shared commitment to overcoming barriers, and it erects none.
The Service also included the signing of a Partnership between the Methodist District of York & Hull with the Methodist District of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
Further information on the York Covenant
Text of the Covenant
COVENANT BETWEEN THE DIOCESE OF YORK
THE YORK & HULL METHODIST DISTRICT
AND THAT PART OF
THE DARLINGTON METHODIST DISTRICT
WITHIN THE DIOCESE OF YORK
In the name of God. Amen.
We believe that we are being led by the Holy Spirit and that God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ is calling us to greater sharing in this mission to the world.
We recognise that we have in common many similar responsibilities, joys, problems and hopes and that we have much to offer and receive from each other in the rich diversity of our gifts and traditions.
We affirm one another's Churches as true churches belonging to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and as truly participating in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God.
We have confidence that through friendship, commitment and trust we will bring vision to our Churches.
We affirm what is already happening through local covenants and Local Ecumenical Partnerships, and hope that the Ecumenical Canons of the Church of England and Methodist Standing Orders can be used to facilitate further the mission of the Church.
We commit ourselves to deepen our common life and mission and welcome each other's members to participate in the fellowship, worship and mission of our Churches.
We further encourage forms of eucharistic sharing, including eucharistic hospitality, in accordance with the rules of our respective Churches.
We realise that God is calling us to make this journey of faith and that numerous opportunities lie ahead. We believe that our respective structures, procedures and boundaries should always be open to scrutiny and the possibility of modification as we pursue:
- ways in which our councils and committees can work closely together
- ways of addressing together some of the fundamental issues facing us at this time, e.g. rural and urban challenges, multi-faith issues and international problems
- consultation about the deployment of clergy
- consultation concerning buildings, resources and finance
- joint training of Readers and Local Preachers
- opportunities of training for lay and ordained.
We will review regularly the purposes and objectives of the Covenant.
It is our intention that nothing in this Covenant will discourage or hinder the development of relations with other Churches or other Christian communities.
We invite circuits, deaneries and congregations to support this Covenant to which we now commit ourselves in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Rev Dr Stuart Burgess, Chairman, York & Hull Methodist District
The Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr David Hope KCVO, Archbishop of York
The Rev David Vonberg, Deputy Chairman, Darlington Methodist District
Mrs Rosemary Harrison, Synod Secretary, York & Hull District
Mr Colin Sheppard, Diocesan Secretary, Diocese of York
Mr Ian Scott, Synod Secretary, Darlington District
The Rev John Cole, Witness
The Revd Peter Sulston, Witness