8 July, 2008
Major report on five years of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant
Recommendations include extending Covenant talks to Scotland and Wales.
A major report received today by the Methodist Conference addresses the progress made over the last five years of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.
The Covenant between the Methodist Church in Great Britain and the Church of England was agreed by both churches in the summer of 2003. It was signed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference and the general secretaries of both churches in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen on 1 November that year.
The quinquennial report of the Joint Implementation Commission (JIC) commends the work done so far by the churches to implement the Covenant, and features a number of ‘cameos’ illustrating how the Covenant is being put into action in a variety of contexts. These include a joint Anglican-Methodist primary school in Kent and volunteers from both churches working together to run a night café and creative arts centre in Manchester.
The Conference commended the report for further study and endorsed the recommendations, which include appointing a successor body to the JIC for a further five-year period. The scope of this body would extend to involve representatives of the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church and from the Methodist Church in Scotland and Wales as well as relating more closely to Ireland where there is already a Covenant between the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Church of Ireland.
Professor Peter Howdle, Co-Chair of the Commission and past Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, says; ‘As the Covenant nears its fifth birthday, this report offers a chance to reflect on a major initiative for unity and mission in the history of our Churches. We have heard so many encouraging stories from those living out the Covenant both in church life and in serving their communities. But it is clear that there is still much to learn and much to do in order to make the journey towards fuller visible unity.’
The report recognises that further work is needed for the Covenant to move forward, particularly in encouraging and resourcing local churches. Expert support and advice is being made available to Bishops and District Chairs wishing to encourage deeper engagement with the Covenant in their area and take up the opportunities it gives for unity in common life and mission.
1. The quinquennial report of the Joint Implementation Commission is available from MPH (www.mph.org.uk).
2. For more information about the Covenant, visit http://www.anglican-methodist.org.uk/.
3. The Church of England discussed the report on Monday 7 July at General Synod.