URC and Methodist Church explore greater joint working

Representatives of two of the nation's largest free Churcheshave met to discuss the opportunities and challenges of workingmore closely together.

The groups met in Sutton Coldfield, 17-19 October, for thesecond joint meeting of the United Reformed Church's MissionCouncil and the Methodist Council. 

They engaged in wide-ranging discussions about the relationshipbetween the Churches and the challenges that need to be overcomefor greater unity, both locally and nationally. 

"I feel that we've arrived at a new place" said the Revd RobertaRominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church. "I hopewe can now start to engage in the kind of fundamental thinking thatwill enable us to overcome the practical difficulties our unitedcongregations face, particularly when they seek new ministry."

Council members also considered collaboration in the fields ofchildren and youth work and property, initiated at the last meetingin 2010. Other established joint work includes the Joint Public Issues Team, which combines the expertise of theBaptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the UnitedReformed Church in the area of political engagement.

"It's been wonderful to have a time of learning and fellowshiptogether," added the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary ofthe Methodist Church. "We have learnt so much about oursimilarities and differences. There is clearly a great deal of goodwill between our two Churches and the desire to explore what closerpartnerships in God's mission might mean for us today."

The Councils also met separately to consider business specificto the two Churches. Issues discussed by the Methodist Councilincluded finance and plans for the Church's new Discipleship andMinistries Network. Matters addressed at the separate meeting ofthe URC Mission Council include a five-year strategy for youth andchildren's work and the shape of the General Assembly.


The Methodist Council meets three times annually to undertakeongoing work on behalf of the Methodist Conference, which is thegoverning body of the Methodist Church. Methodist Council paperscan be found online here.

The URC Mission Council is the executive body of the GeneralAssembly and meets twice a year. The Council's papers can be foundhere.