Local Ecumenical Partnership

Right from the time of John and Charles Wesley, the relationship between the Church of England and the Methodist Church has been somewhat blurred. On the one hand, the Wesley's founded an organisation which became a separate denomination. On the other hand, however, they themselves remained priests in the Church of England until they died.

In the 1960s, against a background of the growing impetus among all the Christian Churches to find ways of visibly coming together, The Church of England and the Methodist Church held talks on proposals for union.  Many Christians from both Churches remember when these proposals failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority in the Church of England's General Synod.  Work done then, however, has provided an excellent basis for today's Covenant.

In 1995 & 1996, a series of informal conversations were held with a view to arriving at a common understanding of what is meant by visible unity.

Further conversations were held, this time of a formal nature, and this led to the publication of a "Common Statement" in December 2000, which contained proposals for an Anglican Methodist Covenant.  The Common Statement sets down the points on which the two Churches agree regarding:

    1)  Faith

    2)  Their joint understanding on visible unity

    3)  Their acknowledgements of, and commitments to, each other &

    4)  Where to go from here.

The Anglican Methodist Covenant was finally signed in November 2003.

The Methodist Church and the Church of England already have wide experience of working together in the local community, particularly in Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEP's).  During the Formal Conversations, the two Churches paid particular attention to how they can work together practically and grow together in fellowship in every place and at every level of each Church's life.  There are many such LEP's now in operation between Church of England and Methodist Churches (and Churches of other Denominations).

For many years the congregations of our two churches have met together, both for occasional joint services and combined social events and so, to nurture the growing relationship, the logical next step was to embark on agreeing the text of an LEP.  This process has now been completed and a joint service was be held on January 14, 2007, during which all the interested parties formally signed the document.  

If you are interested, why not go here and copy and paste the text "Local Ecumenical Partnership" (including the quotation marks) into the search box approximately one third of the way down the page and then press the search button.  Don't forget to come back here and finish your visit afterwards though!