Anglican-Methodist commission issues communiqué

Posted Mar 1, 2013

[Anglican Communion News Service] The final meeting of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission (AMICUM) took place Feb. 22 to March 1, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, hosted by the Anglican Communion. Members of the Commission worshiped together morning and evening, and the Eucharist was celebrated according to both traditions.

The Commission has after five years completed the phase of work mandated to it by the World Methodist Council and the Anglican Communion, and has now prepared a report for both bodies. As the last three words in its title suggest (Unity in Mission), AMICUM aims to foster the unity of the Church so that the Church can engage more fully in God’s mission of love to the world. The report begins and ends with biblical reflections, on our Lord’s prayer for the unity of his people that all might believe, and on the radical nature of Jesus’ ministry as a mandate for mission.

AMICUM has set out key points of agreement concerning the interchangeability of ordained ministries, and the awareness of each Communion’s need of the other. It sees a common, interchangeable ministry as crucial in making the unity of the Church visible.

The report analyses the place of the apostolic tradition and the nature of the oversight (episkope) in the life of the Church. It explores the history of oversight, and the way it has been exercised in the Methodist and Anglican traditions, and the way it is exercised today.

AMICUM has closely monitored dialogues and agreements around the world, and has drawn lessons and recommendations from these which it now offers to both Communions. The report shows that each tradition has affirmed the authenticity of the other’s ministries, and encourages churches that have not yet entered into mutual agreements to do so.

A toolkit is provided for churches wanting to move into closer co-operation, giving questions for consideration to enable this process to advance.

AMICUM is recommending that the World Methodist Council and the Anglican Consultative Council establish an Anglican-Methodist International Coordinating Committee to oversee and foster relationships between Methodist and Anglican member churches.

The Report will be published during 2014.

The Commission is grateful for the warm hospitality given by the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, at the Parish of St John’s Ocho Rios, by the United Theological College, where the Commission worshiped, and by Bishop Howard Gregory. At this meeting AMICUM met the President of the Jamaica Methodist Church, the Rev Everard Galbraith, and the Rev Dr George Mulrain who gave a lecture on Anglican and Methodist relationships in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Present at the meeting were,

Methodists

  • The Rev. Professor Emeritus Robert Gribben (Uniting Church in Australia) (Co-Chair)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Amoah (Methodist Church, Ghana)
  • The Rev. Dr. Wong Tik Wah (Methodist Church in Malaysia)
  • The Rev. Professor Sarah Lancaster (The United Methodist Church)
  • The Rev. Gareth Powell (The Methodist Church) (Co-Secretary)

Anglicans

  • The Rt. Rev. Harold Miller (The Church of Ireland) (Co-Chair)
  • The Rev. Canon Professor Paul Avis (The Church of England)
  • The Rev. Garth Minott (The Church in the Province of the West Indies)
  • The Rt. Rev. Dr. P Surya Prakash (The Church of South India)

Lutheran World Federation Observer

  • The Rt. Rev. Walter Jagucki (Great Britain)

Staff

  • The Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan (Co-Secretary) (Anglican Communion Office)
  • Mr. Neil Vigers (Anglican Communion Office)

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Comments (4)

  1. Harry W Shipps says:

    What great news. The Week of Prayer went by unoticed in January. Perhaps the ‘ecumenical winter’ is passing. Let us pray that the next Pope will have ecumenism a high priority.
    +Harry

  2. Bernie Jones says:

    This is great news; it seems to me that with something like this, we will bridge a divide that never should have happened, once the Wesleyans left the denomination. I wonder whether there is anything happening of this nature within the American branches of the denominations. I know of the agreement with ELCA, but it would be great if there were one with UMC. Perhaps there is one already but I just don’t know about it.

  3. Ronald E. Johnson, D. O. says:

    It seems to me that we are becoming more protestant and giving up our Catholic and Apostolic beliefs. The Methodist communion service is a memorial only and if Christ is present, it is by faith only and not a change in the elements (a Great Mystery). They have no concept of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, contrary to its expression in our Book of Common Prayer. They have rejected the Apostolic Succession and their pastors lack Apostolic authority.
    What are we doing? We should be moving closer to Rome and Orthodoxy rather than the non-historical churches such as the Methodist and others. I for one would refuse to take communion from a Methodist as it mean that I am in communion with their beliefs. The Body of Christ is eaten even by those who come to the Sacrament in a non repentant state, it is not only eaten by faith. Thus, it is not only by Faith that we eat and drink but in the elements we can cause great harm to our spiritual quest if we do it unworthily. You can put a collar on a Methodist pastor but he is still a layman and not a priest and can not preside over valid sacraments. Their bishops are not in succession and hence their pastors are not priests and their sacraments are invalid. In Jamaica the members of the Anglican/Episcopal Church participated in an irregular and invalid communion service giving recognition to non Catholic beliefs. No wonder we are loosing members to Rome and other so-called Anglican Churches.

  4. Trevor Dearing, in his magesterial study of Weslyan and Tractarian worship writes: “It is a mistake, however, to posit any cleavage of Wesley’s thought between (an) evangelistic conception of grace so clearly expressed in Methodist worship , and the framework of ‘Catholic’ worship, into which we have seen, Wesley so brilliantly guided it. It is not accurate to talk about Wesley’s high churchmanship purely as something he took over and did not think out for himself. Wesley had too virile a mind to be content with past traditions purely for their own sake. His conception of worship was a harmonious whole. For him, the living experience of the Methodists was that of the early Christians, hence the characteristics of their worship were identical with that of the Apostolic age and so, too, the basic pattern of the early Church, as he learned it through the Non-Jurors, was inevitably, ideal worship for his people. Hence, he died a member of the Church of England, who loved and honored the inheritance of his Church as it was contained in the Book of Common Prayer: ‘No Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, breathes a more solid Scriptural, rational piety, than the Common Prayer of the Church of England’ “(“Weslyan and Tractarian Worship: An Ecumenical Study”; SPCK; 1966 p. 101). History has shown that Liturgical renewal and Ecumenism go hand in hand, renewing the life of the Church in the face of secularism which threatens it. “COCU” is no more, and the Roman Catholic Church is really not interested in talking with anyone else. And so it is perhaps just the Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists who are guiding the way forward, crossing the divides and reaching out across the street to open the door of the church to others.

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