15 January 2003
Scotland District Chairman explains significance of union model for Scottish Churches
The Chairman of the Scotland Methodist District, the Rev James Jones, has made the following comments upon the launch of the report of The Scottish Church Initiative for Union (SCIFU):
"The report sets out a framework for bringing together the Methodist Church in Scotland, the Episcopal Church, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland. This is a remarkable combination, including as it does both Episcopal and Presbyterian elements. It is notable that the Methodist tradition is able to relate in both directions.
"Whilst the report in itself is the final one of the group, the work involved is far from complete. Any detailed bringing together of four denominations will take several years in administrative terms. The recommendations seek to confirm what has already been drafted and to securing the participants' commitment to a further period of detailed work. I anticipate that the report will go to the Scotland and Shetland Spring Synods for consultation and to the Methodist Conference 2003 in Llandudno for a Connexional decision, since this is a Connexional process even though it embraces only the Scotland and Shetland Districts.
"In relation to the English Covenant, the Scotland proposals go much further than those at present being considered by the English process. They include a model of bishop in council with a time limited tenure of office and the mutual recognition of ministries across the current Episcopal divide. In other words, the report is a very significant one for Scotland, with major implications for Connexional Methodism and for the Covenant process."