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Episcopalians, United Methodists plan vision statement

3/3/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York

By United Methodist News Service

A vision statement is being prepared for the dialogue between the United Methodist and Episcopal churches.

United Methodist Bishop William Oden of Dallas and Episcopal Bishop John Lipscomb, Diocese of Southwest Florida, who serve as the dialogue's co-chairmen, will meet, along with staff, in March to develop the statement.

The first formal bilateral dialogue between the two denominations was established by the 2000 United Methodist General Conference, with an initial meeting last July. The Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns is a sponsoring agency for the dialogue.

Team members had a second meeting Feb. 6-8 at St. Mary Seminary's Center for Continuing Formation in Baltimore. The Rev. Ephraim Radner gave a presentation on the understandings of authority in the Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Betty Gamble did the same for the United Methodist Church.

Thomas Ferguson presented a paper on the ecclesiology of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and the Rev. Russell Richey spoke about the development of Methodist ecclesiology.

A second major focus of the February meeting was an exploration of documents containing previous agreements and convergences with others that each communion has found, such as The Porvoo Common Statement; Called to Common Mission; Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry; Sharing in the Apostolic Communion; Fellowship of Grace; and British Methodist-Church of England proposed covenant documents.

The dialogue teams will meet again in the summer. Besides Oden, United Methodist team members are the Rev. Trey Hall of Glenview, Ill.; the Rev. Lucia Guzman of Denver; the Rev. Diedre Kriewald of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington; the Rev. Erica Jenkins of St. Martinville, La.; and Richey, of Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. The Rev. Bruce Robbins, the commission's chief executive, serves as staff.

Episcopal team members are the Rev. David Bird of Washington; the Rev. Lois Boxill of Philadelphia; the Rev. Theodora Brooks of New Rochelle, N.Y.; the Rt. Rev. Robert Ihloff of Baltimore; the Rev. Bruce Mullin of General Theological Seminary in New York; Patricia Page of Durham, N.C.; and Radner of Pueblo, Colo. The church's ecumenical officer is the Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting of New York.

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