Anglicans and Methodists in London tear up the past

Historic Service brings together the ancient City parishof St Giles Cripplegate with Wesley's Chapel

"Methodists exhibit infidelity, atheism and a tendency toundermine morality" Bishop of Exeter

"The pretending to revelations and gifts of the Holy Ghostis a horrid thing, a very horrid thing" Bishop ofBristol

"Methodist teaching is incompatible with that of the Churchof England. Mr John Wesley is guilty of fraud andfanaticism" Bishop of Gloucester

"The Methodists have transgressed the terms of the Acts ofboth Uniformity and Toleration. They have a busy and schismaticspirit, they are a disservice to religion!" Bishop ofLondon

The statements above are but a sample of the denunciatory andpolemical remarks made a wide variety of Anglican bishops andpriests in the early years of the Methodist Revival.

The present Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, lastnight ceremonially tore up "these sentences of exclusion" in adramatic and prophetic act that expressed faith in a future churchthat brings previously separated bodies back together again.

The service which followed was a Eucharist presided over bylocal Methodist District Chairman, the Rev Ermal Kirby. In thecourse of the service a Covenant, a formal Statement of Intent, wassigned by Bishop Richard and Chairman Ermal, and by theSuperintendent of Wesley's Chapel, Dr Leslie Griffiths, and Rectorof St Giles, the Rev Katharine Rumens. The service began with aprocession from Wesley's Chapel at 6.30pm and the bells of St Gileswere pealed to welcome those arriving; the tearing up of the pasttook place outside St Giles at 7pm.

This London service precedes the signing of the NationalCovenant, binding the Church of England and the Methodist Church ofGreat Britain together which will take place on November 1 atWestminster Central Hall and Westminster Abbey.