Thursday, 11 February 2010

Methodist covenant relationship with the Church of England

Methodist President and Vice-President affirm commitment to a covenant relationship with the Church of England

“We are prepared to be changed as a Church if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom.”

The President and the Vice-President of the Methodist Conference addressed the Church of England’s General Synod this morning, expressing the Methodist Church’s commitment to a covenant relationship with the Church of England and answering questions from synod members in a discussion following their address.

Revd David Gamble and Dr Richard Vautrey said that the Covenant relationship was a “serious, deeply committed relationship” and “not an irrelevant extra”. They said that responses to the challenges of the Covenant should be driven by a desire for mission.

Revd David Gamble said: “Within God’s overwhelming gracious covenant relationship with us and with our churches, we are in a covenant with each other. For better for worse, for richer for poorer, but always for the gospel.”

Dr Richard Vautrey talked about the work that the two Churches do together, referring to the Churches’ joint action on climate change and support for the Citizens for Sanctuary campaign.

“We can and do work together on issues of social justice, on issues that we both know God calls on us to challenge our society and our world,” said Dr Vautrey. “There is more that we could and should be doing together. David and I have just come back from a visit to Israel/Palestine. There can be few other places in the world where the cries for justice and peace strike deeper in to the heart. We know that Archbishop Rowan is shortly to visit Israel, and perhaps on his return we should explore ways that we could jointly work to help Methodists and Anglicans to respond to the increasingly desperate cries for help coming from the Holy Land.”

Revd David Gamble posed the question of how the two Churches could respond to the challenges of the 21st century; a society of different faiths, cultures and histories.

“Methodists approach the Covenant with the Church of England in the spirituality of the Covenant prayer,” said Revd David Gamble. “So when we say to God ‘let me have all things let me have nothing’, we say it by extension to our partners in the Church of England as well. We are prepared to go out of existence not because we are declining or failing in mission, but for the sake of mission. In other words we are prepared to be changed and even to cease having a separate existence as a Church if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom.”

Source: Methodist news Service 11/02/2010


Angela Shier-Jones said...

Amen to the Covenant - we are prepared to go out of existence for the sake of mission - but not for the sake of an empty historical anchronism such as unity with an unchanged Anglican Church.
When TWO churches willingly end their existence to create something NEW - VITAL and evidently DIFFERENT from what currently exists - THEN the covenant will bear fruit.
Just cant see it happening myself - but I do pray for the Church.

Olive Morgan said...

Many thanks, Angela. You have voiced my own reaction to this news release. For the Methodist Church to die just to be swallowed up by an unchanged Anglican church would be a tragedy and would not achieve anything - but I long to see both churches willing to change sufficiently to make a huge difference in the world. Even if we can't see it happening, we must keep on praying for that.