Methodist Co-Chairman of Anglican-Methodist Formal Conversations on the new report

12 December 2001

Methodist Co-Chairman of Anglican-Methodist FormalConversations on the new report

The Methodist Co-chairman of the Formal Conversations, Rev DrJohn B Taylor, made the following statement upon the publication of'An Anglican-Methodist Covenant':

"Like many who will read this report I am disappointed that itdoes not go a lot further than it does. It does, however, achievethe purpose for which our joint Commission was set up. We weregiven a limited agenda - we had no authority to go further than theremit given to us by the Methodist Conference and the General Synodof the Church of England - and we believe that our Conversationshave come to a satisfactory conclusion. What will happen throughthe Recommendations of our Report is something that has neverhappened before. It will provide a solid basis on which futuresteps in the process of our growth together can take place.

"Never before have we officially mutually affirmed the life andministry of the other. For years those working in Local EcumenicalPartnerships have been urging the Churches at the national level toget their act together so that many of the things people locallywant to do can happen with the sanction of the wider ChurchBody.

"As has often been the case at grass-roots level Christians intheir local communities have led the way wondering what all thefuss is about. Why can't they just get on and do so many of thethings they feel no problem about doing? For years they haverecognized each other as true Christians. It is therefore no bigdeal that the Church

of England and the Methodist Church should at last be able torecognize each other officially. Yet in terms of our nationalChurches this report takes a major and significant step that willmake wider things possible.

"Often in past Conversations reports have tried to producestatements which were sufficiently nuanced - not to say, ambiguous- to be susceptible to different interpretations. This report makesno attempt to conceal our differences. There are still significantareas of disagreement between us.

"There are many unresolved issues. This report does not try togloss over them. It rather resolves that the vast list of thingsthat still separate us should be the ongoing agenda for continuing,open and frank discussion. The compilers of this report do not wantto fudge issues but face them together - as we believe - for ourmutual enrichment.

"Because the Methodist Church began its life as a movementwithin the Church of England, it can, we believe, be abridge-denomination between the Catholic and the Reformedtraditions. We have valued the participation of the URC, theBaptists and the Moravians in our conversations. Once the MethodistConference and the General Synod have endorsed the proposed processof growing together between our two Churches it is our profoundhope that other Church traditions may be able to join us on the waywhich this Report makes possible."

Rev Dr John B Taylor

Note: Rev Dr John Taylor has beenChairman of the Liverpool Methodist District since 1995. He wasPresident of the Methodist Conference in Britain in1997/8.