Mission and Ministry
in Covenant Report
On 27 June 2017, the Church of England reports:
The Church of England and the Methodist Church in Britain are to consider proposals that would bring them into a new relationship of full communion, after a period of some 200 years of formal separation.
The proposals are presented in Mission and Ministry in Covenant
, a joint report from the two churches' faith and order bodies. It sets out how the Methodist Church could come to have bishops in the historic episcopate, and how ministers from one church could become eligible to serve in the other.
As the Methodist Church in Britain reports:
The report sets out proposals which, if accepted, will enable a new depth of communion between the two Churches and would make presbyters from each Church eligible to serve in the other. Together these developments will enhance the Churches’ common mission to the glory of God.
The proposals would also see the Methodist Church recognise the office of a President-Bishop as expressing the Conference’s ministry of oversight in a personal form.
The report builds on the theological convergence established by 'An Anglican-Methodist Covenant', signed in 2003, and the subsequent work of the Covenant's Joint Implementation Commission.
In 2014 the General Synod of the Church of England and the Methodist Conference mandated the faith and order bodies to bring forward proposals that would enable the interchangeability of ministries in the two churches.
The report sets out a way by which the Methodist Church would become one of the churches with which the Church of England is officially in communion, alongside other members of the Anglican Communion and Lutheran churches in the Porvoo Communion.
The Bishop of Coventry, The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Church of England's Faith and Order Commission, said: "I am grateful to the joint working group for their careful but imaginative work on bringing forward a workable plan for enabling interchangeability of presbyteral ministry in our two churches. The solution is built on the centrality of the historic episcopate and the bishop as minister of ordination. The scheme as proposed will enable dioceses, districts and local churches to engage in creative pastoral planning for the good of the mission of God in this country."
The Revd Canon Gareth J Powell, the Secretary of the Methodist Conference, said: “Methodists and Anglicans urgently need a set of proposals to enable the two Churches to move towards fuller communion, sharing more profoundly in mission and ministry. The model of a President-Bishop in these proposals, upholding as it does the centrality of the Conference, is a deeply Methodist way for John Wesley’s people to engage at every level with the Church of England in mutual planning for pastoral oversight and Christian mission.”
The Bishop of Fulham The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Anglican Co-Chair of the joint working group, said: "The separation between Anglicans and Methodists in Great Britain is a tear in the fabric of the Body of Christ. "The proposals in this Report are offered as a means of helping to repair that tear. "They maintain the catholic, episcopal ordering of the church while at the same time acknowledging the real and effective ministry exercised by minsters in the Methodist Church.
"I warmly commend them for prayerful reading in the churches."
Notes to editors:
Download the full report: Mission and Ministry in Covenant
The report has now been released for discussion in the Methodist Church and the Church of England, as well as with ecumenical partners.
Methodist web-site: http://www.methodist.org.uk/news-and-events/news-releases/mission-and-ministry-in-covenant
C of E website: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2017/06/publication-of-mission-and-ministry-in-covenant.aspx