A New Manual for Ecumenical Working

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Mar, 2019 03:21 PM

General Synod has agreed a 'Manual' of Ecumenical Working for Churches, that will simplify procedures for working together with other denominations.

A New Manual for Ecumenical Working

General Synod photo courtesy Keith Blundy

At the February meeting, Synod approved a "Code of Practice on co-operation by the Church of England with other Churches (February 2019)."

Among the areas covered, the Code expands the definition of ‘other churches’ considerably, and there is scope for independent free churches to fall within it.

The Code of Practice now recognises that "giving an invitation to another Church to use a church building for worship according to its own forms and practice of worship is part of the ministry of hospitality," and makes provision as to how such use should be regulated.

Described as "more like a manual" than a Code, it contains lists that provide "recipes" that can be used for making a checklist for ecumenical activity, such as invitations to ministers to take part in public worship at other churches, and sharing the use of C of E churches.

The Code also provides simpler procedures that, with PCC and/ or Bishop’s approval, will allow ministers from other Churches to officiate at services of the Word; to assist at Baptisms and Weddings; to conduct funerals; and assist in the distribution of the Holy Sacrament.

The Code also makes provision for the circumstances in which a C of E minister may undertake such functions in another church.

It was noted that, in many ways, the amended law will simply regularise what is happening locally, but by bringing together 2 Canons (B43 and B44) and the Ecumenical Relations Measure 2018 in to one Canon (B43), it gives clear guidance and rules.

At the time of writing, the amended Canon has not yet been posted on the Church of England website, nor has the 1988 Measure been updated on the government website, but no doubt they both will be before long.

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