Covenant Scheme to Bring Methodists Closer to Unity with Anglicans

( [email protected] ) Jul 04, 2003 01:24 PM EDT

On the 1st of July, the Methodist Church meeting in Llandudno, North Wales, voted in favour of "covenant" scheme, moving closer to end two centuries of separation from the Church of England. The Methodists voted to "overcome the remaining obstacles to the organic unity of o ur two Churches," after its conference debated for four hours. If this scheme is passed b the Church of England's General Synod this month, it will successfully lead to unity all but name.

The Churches will try to join in fellowship, worship, eucharistic sharing, and mission.

Over two centuries ago, John Wesley's Methodist movement had separated from the Church of England over disputes on episcopal authority and ordinations. This new stance will bring these churches closer together.

An earlier attempt for the unity of the two churches had failed in 1972 with the opposition of Anglo-Catholics from the mother church.

According to the Rev. John Walker, co-chairman of the MethodistAnglican joint liaison group, the covenant would simply be an extention of much that was already happening. "It is not a takeover, but a proper, equal partnership," he said.

"We have walked together for many years, but the imperative of the goal of unity has eluded us," said the Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Rev. Ian Cundy. "We are aware of the failures of the past for which the Church of England has acknowledged its own part."

Over 90 percent of the Church of England's diocesan synods voted in favor of the scheme, with three-fourths of Methodists in favour.