Methodist District Chairs and Church of England Bishops joint meeting

The District Chairs of the Methodist Church in Britain and theChurch of England House of Bishops enjoyed the warm hospitality ofthe Abbot and monks of Ampleforth as they held a joint meeting onWednesday. This was only the second time that the House of Bishopsand the District Chairs have met formally - their first historicgathering was two years ago at the same location.

The meeting was jointly chaired by the Archbishop of York, theMost Rev Dr David Hope, and the President of the MethodistConference, the Rev Dr Christina Le Moignan.

Discussions centred on increasing understanding between the twochurches in the light of the recently published report of FormalConversations between the two churches, An Anglican-MethodistCovenant, and its challenge to seek further unity betweenMethodists and Anglicans. The bishops and district chairs spenttime in regional groups to identify concerns and opportunities forfurther joint study and mission, including joint synods indistricts and dioceses.

The discussions were described afterwards as an example of thewarm relationship between the two churches. There was a strongsense of urgency and commitment to collaboration, even though themeeting was not part of the formal process for receiving the reportof the conversations between the two churches.

Notes to editors:

1. 'An Anglican-Methodist Covenant' will be considered bythe Church of England General Synod and the Methodist Conference inJuly 2002.

2. The Methodist representation in Ampleforth includedDistrict Chairs from England, Scotland and Wales. There areseparate formal conversations taking place between the MethodistChurch and the Anglican churches in Wales and Scotland.