The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, have today issued a joint statement to their Churches.
The Most Revd Justin Welby, the Most Revd John Sentamu, the Revd Ruth Gee and Dr Daleep Mukarji have issued the statement in response to a report that will be debated by the Methodist Conference and General Synod this year.
The report, entitled The Challenge of the Covenant, recommends that both Churches take action to enhance unity between them, with the work being fully embedded in Church structures.
The statement from the Archbishops and Methodist Presidency welcomes the report, stating that: “The time has now come for our churches to take further, significant steps to achieve that level of reconciliation between us and partnership in the gospel that will enhance our mission together in local communities and our shared witness to the whole of society.”
As we look ahead to important debates in the Methodist Conference and the General Synod on the future direction of the Covenant between our two churches, we affirm our commitment to the Covenant and give thanks for the many ways the Covenant is beneficial to both our churches at all levels of church life and to our common work of service and witness. We welcome the final report of the Joint Implementation Commission (JIC) to the Methodist Conference and the General Synod entitled ‘The Challenge of the Covenant’. In preparation for the debates, we encourage prayerful study of this and of the Quinquennial Report published last September.
The Methodist Conference will consider the JIC report in early July, before the July sessions of the General Synod, at which the main business will be the final stage of the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. The outcome of this vote in the General Synod is immensely important to Methodists as well as to Anglicans, and will have an impact on the future outworking of the Covenant.
We are grateful to the JIC for setting before our two churches a clear challenge. This is a moment for thankfulness as we reflect on the journey already travelled since the Covenant was signed more than ten years ago and for trust and boldness as we each consider, in our respective governing bodies, the challenge now set before us.
It is our shared conviction that the time has now come for our churches to take further, significant steps to achieve that level of reconciliation between us and partnership in the gospel that will enhance our mission together in local communities and our shared witness to the whole of society. Our Churches are called to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom and, in the words of John Wesley, to ‘spread scriptural holiness through the land’.
May we hold faith with each other and be guided by the Holy Spirit, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.