England’s Anglicans approve plan for link with Methodists

By on September 1, 2003

The Church of England has followed Britain’s Methodists by approving a covenant to create closer links between the two churches. The covenant agreed to in mid-July commits Anglicans and Methodists “as a priority, to work to overcome the remaining obstacles to the organic unity of our two churches.” Although bids to unite the churches, in 1969 and 1972, failed because of objections on the Anglican side, the Church of England?s ruling general synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new plan, by 336 to 32. This was a far bigger margin than at the Methodist conference two weeks earlier, where 24 per cent of voters were opposed. Commending the covenant, the Bishop of Peterborough, Ian Cundy, called it “an act of reconciliation, the forging of a new relationship, after two and a half centuries of history, of loss and gain, of convergence and divergence.”Methodism developed from the preaching of John Wesley, born 300 years ago this year, who was an Anglican priest.In other synod business, a financial report was presented that showed that the Church of England depended on donations and collections for two-thirds of its 850 million pounds sterling ($1.9 billion Cdn) income in 2001, the most recent year for which figures are available. Investment returns, formerly the biggest category, dropped to third place. And at 214 million pounds ($481 million Cdn) the church spent four times as much on maintaining churches and cathedrals, many of them medieval, as it did on education, charities and missions.

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