Methodists vote to enter into Anglican-Methodist Covenant

Methodists vote to enter into Anglican-MethodistCovenant

The Methodist Conference in Britain has today voted to take asignificant step towards a new relationship with the Church ofEngland.

Conference representatives meeting in Llandudno voted by 277votes to 86 to enter into an Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

The Covenant now requires the Church of England General Synod tolikewise accept the proposals, when it meets in York the week afternext.

A joint report of the Methodist Church and Church of Englandproposed the national covenant between the two Churches. TheCovenant would be a mutual affirmation for the first time of thelife and ministry of each other's churches.

The Methodist Co-chair of the Joint Liaison Group that broughtthe report to the Conference is the Rev John Walker, who is alsoChairman of the Chester & Stoke Methodist District. He said tothe Conference: "In one sense, this is a small step that replicateswhat is already going on at local level in some places. In anothersense, it is singularly significant. We will be crossing athreshold into a new place."

He said: "This Covenant takes the ecclesial traditions ofAnglicans and Methodists seriously. It is realistic about ourdifferences. It is not a takeover, but a proper equal partnership.It takes us to where we can give priority to the obstacles betweenus."

The Anglican Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Ian Cundy, isthe Anglican Co-chair of the Joint Liaison Group. He told theConference: "I hope that we can go forward in faith, that theissues that still divide us will be resolved in the midst of ourcommon life in Christ. We pray that in covenanting together, we canwalk a converging path."

The Methodist Conference also resolved to encourage MethodistDistricts, Circuits and local churches to continue to work with thedioceses, deaneries and parishes of the Church of England for agrowing together in worship, prayer, mission and service andincreased sharing of resources, planning and decision-making,wherever possible with other partner churches.

If the Covenant is accepted by the Church of England, it isanticipated that it will be signed later this year. The President,Vice-President and Secretary of the Methodist Conference would bethe Methodist signatories. A joint implementation commission willbe set up to monitor and promote the implementation of theCovenant.


Methodist Conference 2003 index