|Anglican-Methodist Covenant faces challenges|
The seaside resort town of Blackpool was the host site for the 2007
British Methodist Annual Conference. During the July 7-12 assembly,
church leaders expressed concern about the lack of progress in
implementing the 2003 Anglican Methodist Covenant.
A UMNS photo by Kathleen LaCamera.
By Kathleen LaCamera*
July 16, 2007 | BLACKPOOL, England (UMNS)
British Methodists say the Anglican-Methodist Covenant is facing challenges that some here might call a "bumpy patch."
Signed in 2003, the covenant agreement sets out plans for greater
cooperation between the two traditions. Commenting on a report about its
implementation during the 2007 annual conference, British Methodist
officials say the process has yielded "some encouragements and some
Bishop William Oden
The role of women in church leadership and the role of bishops
themselves are among issues that still have no formal agreement between
Anglicans and Methodists. The British Methodist Church has no bishops.
United Methodist Bishop William Oden, ecumenical officer for the
denomination's Council of Bishops and a representative to the British
Methodist Conference, expressed concern about the covenant's progress.
"It seems (the covenant) is stalled at the moment when U.S. United
Methodist and Episcopal relations are going forward," Oden told United
Methodist News Service, referring to progress in dialogue between those
denominations. "The Church of England is busy with other issues, and
British Methodists seem to have backed off."
Heated controversy over homosexuality and church leadership already threaten to divide the worldwide Anglican communion.
“It seems (the covenant) is stalled at the
moment …. The Church of England is busy with other issues, and British
Methodists seem to have backed off.”–United Methodist Bishop William Oden
Oden said a delegation involved with the United Methodist/Episopal
dialogue in the United States will meet in October in Britain with their
British Methodist/Anglican counterparts. The United Methodist and
Episcopal churches have an interim agreement on sharing the Eucharist.
While the covenant report points to challenges in implementing the
agreement, the Rev. Peter Sulston, the British church's coordinating
secretary for unity in mission, said it also contains promising news of
cooperation already under way. Feedback from local churches is that the
covenant is being "lived out at a grassroots level," he added.
"There is clearly a lot of good work going on, with Anglicans and
Methodists sharing in worship and mission, caring for each other and
serving their communities," he said. "But there is still more to be
done. The passion for mission and evangelism expressed by both churches
is a powerful driver for covenant living."
*LaCamera is a UMNS correspondent based in England.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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