Comments: General Synod - Thursday's business - press reports

"... In other words, we are prepared to be changed and even to cease having a separate existence as a Church - if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom - The Revd. David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference -

How different an attitude from that of a certain other Church body in North America. Here we have the English Methodists offering to re-join their parent Church of England, while, in the United States and Canada, we have Anglicans who have separated themselves out from their parent Churches - on the claims of doctrinal purity.

Which of these two initiatives, do we think, might more nearly represent the will and purpose of Christ for the Unity of His Church?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 11:58pm GMT

Nevertheless, the alternative to merging and going out of business for the Methodists is decline and going out of business. In most cases the Methodist congregation in a locality can easily be absorbed by an Anglican congregation or vice versa, with one building to maintain rather than two. It would represent a huge increase in assets but, quite rapidly, more or less the same size of active Church as is now in the C of E. Nevertheless, some of the worship and governance habits of Methodists would have to be adopted.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 3:23am GMT

"Nevertheless, some of the worship and governance habits of Methodists would have to be adopted."
- Pluralist, on Thursday -

So what's new? In parts of the Church of England the 'worship and governance habits of Methodists' are already being practised - in some of the more evangelical parishes of the C.of E. Also, with the behaviour of some of the Bishops of the Church of England, one might well long for a non-episcoapl form of government. Just imagine the vast piles of Winchester Cathedral and Palace being made available for active ministry?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:05am GMT

Fascinating. Here in the US the United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant group, with 8 million adherents. If they merged with us they'd swamp us!

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 1:45pm GMT

fwiw, is there such a thing as 'a methodist'? Or if you prefer, what is the distinctive charism of methodism? There are, certainly, Christians who worship in Methodist churches, but the idea of them all being subsumed into Ecclesia Anglicana (rather like religious Cadbury Creme Eggs being rebranded as 'Kraft') - does that hold water?

What I guess would happen is that in those places where Methodism is a 'soft' tradition, the congregations would disperse to different places. In this parish, I can see four or five different destinations, only two of them Anglican - here, some will head for the Salvation Army, others to evangelical mega-churches out of town, and a few to the independent evangelicals. Villages would find it rather different, I guess, where it's CofE or commute. Or, of course (and we shouldn't underestimate this tendency) stop worshipping altogether!

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 3:47pm GMT

"Or if you prefer, what is the distinctive charism of methodism?"

Well, it used to be Arminianism, tee-totalism, and a rather high view of the Sacraments.

Interesingly, Methodist bishops here in the US seem to have much more power than our Episcopal ones do. They tell their clergy which church they will serve in, and they do it.

Of course, that was then, this is now, and I'm not sure what they're up to these days.

Posted by BillyD/Bill Dilworth at Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:33pm GMT

Methodism is a wonderful tradition of spirituality and mission. We are very lucky they have been prepared to put up with C of E capers for so long.Like a long suffering spouse , really.

I expect Church Union and Forward in Faith will start harrumping before too long, that Methodism isn't Catholic enough for them (But who is ?!). And then be joined by Reform who will declare them to be insufficiently protty. (Remember what Michael Ramsey had to contend with and the Methodist Conference back then )

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 8:05pm GMT
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