Synod debates journey towards intercommunion with Methodists

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Jun, 2019 01:55 PM

General Synod will be asked whether they want to continue the journey towards intercommunion with the Methodist Church when it meets next month.

Synod debates journey towards intercommunion with Methodists

Photo by Keith Blundy

The issue of episcopal ordination and eucharistic presidency will return to the General Synod, almost 50 years since it rejected proposals for union between the two churches.

Members will be asked to debate whether eucharistic presidency by Methodist presbyters not ordained as priests by bishops in the historic episcopate can be "gladly borne" as a "temporary anomaly".

This is the suggestion of a report from the faith-and-order bodies of the two Churches, published on Friday (14th June) and containing 4 recommendations that the Synod will be asked to approve. They include “the episcopal commissioning of all ordained ministers in each church for readiness to serve in and with the other”.

The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who chairs the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) has said "The Church is now at a cross-roads in the Covenant relationship."

"Acceptance of the proposals would be a profound sign of reconciliation, a healing of wounds that go back to the origins of Methodism in the eighteenth century."

The report warns that, if Synod votes against taking the work forward, there would be far-reaching consequences: "If that door cannot be opened with our nearest number from that church family, it would appear to be very firmly bolted indeed when it comes to other members, despite what we have said about our desire to open it."

The motion to be put before members welcomes the report, which was produced to address issues raised at the Methodist Conference and General Synod last year (16th February 2018). It calls on the Archbishops’ Council to prepare legislation to be put forward for first consideration in February 2020, as set out in Mission and Ministry in Covenant (30th June 2017).

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