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Synod revisits plans to reunite CoE and Methodist Church

A debate on a report containing proposals for the coming together of the Church of England and the Methodist Church will take place during ths month’s meeting of the General Synod.
Members will be asked to welcome the report, produced by the faith and order bodies of the two Churches, which calls for ministers from the two to be made interchangeable. Proposals for the union of the two Churches, debated periodically since the 1950s, were narrowly defeated in General Synod in 1972.
The present recommendations are different, calling for communion rather than full unity. A note from the Commission says that acceptance would be a “profound sign of reconciliation”, and warns that there would be “serious” implications to not proceeding.
“I won’t hide from you that it’s not completely uncontroversial . . . you will hear voices on both sides in all three houses,” the secretary-general to the General Synod, William Nye, said last Friday. The proposals contained elements that were “challenging to comfortable assumptions in our two Churches”, including the acceptance of bishops in the Methodist Church and a temporary period in which Methodist clergy not ordained by bishops would be treated as such in the C of E. Whether or not this was a “bearable anomaly” in the greater interests of unity was to be debated.
The Synod sessions, starting in Westminster on Thursday 8 February, will run into a Saturday for the first time and on a trial basis, to help members who work during the week. (The summer sessions in York take place over a long weekend.)
This will also be the first time that representatives from the Anglican Communion attend on the floor of the chamber. On the Friday, the Bishop of Guildford will move a motion affirming companion links between English dioceses and other parts of the Communion, in preparation for Lambeth 2020.

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