One of the most encouraging developments in inter–church relationships in Ireland, in recent years, was the signing on 26 September 2002 of the Methodist / Church of Ireland Covenant.
The Covenant was signed at Chrome Hill, near Lambeg,
where John Wesley had preached, and is believed to have entwined two
saplings which eventually grew into one tree with two trunks. This was
to be a symbol of how the Church of Ireland and the people called
Methodists were never to be separate.
In the Diocese of Down and Dromore, we are grateful to have very good relationships with the Methodist Church. The following churches have either shared buildings or shared worship, and often both:
- Movilla Abbey, Newtownards (both ministers pictured above)
- The Primacy, Bangor
- St Galls, Bangor
Ministry is also shared at The Dock in the Titanic Quarter where Revd Karen Spence of Sydenham Methodist is a part–time chaplain. View a video clip here.
Text of the Methodist/Church of Ireland Covenant
We acknowledge one another’s churches as belonging to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and as truly participating in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God.
We acknowledge that in each of our churches the Word of God is authentically preached and the sacraments of baptism and holy communion authentically administered according to the command of Christ.
We acknowledge that both our churches share in a common faith set forth in the scriptures and summarised in the historic creeds.
We acknowledge our common inheritance in traditions of spirituality and liturgy. We rejoice in our diversity from which we may mutually benefit as we continue to develop varied forms of worship as appropriate to different situations.
We acknowledge each other’s ordained ministries as given by God and as instruments of his grace by which our churches are served and built up. As pilgrims together, we look forward to the time when our ministries can be fully interchangeable and our churches visibly united.
We acknowledge that personal, collegial and communal oversight is embodied and practised in both churches, as each seeks to express continuity of apostolic life, mission and ministry.
We believe that God is calling our two churches to a fuller relationship in which we commit ourselves
to share a common life and mission;
to grow together so that unity may be visibly realized.
As the next steps towards that goal, we agree:
- to pray for and with one another and to avail of every opportunity to worship together;
- to welcome one another’s members to receive Holy Communion and other ministries as appropriate;
- to share resources in order to strengthen the mission of the Church;
- to help our members to appreciate and draw out the gifts which each of our traditions has to offer the whole people of God;
- to encourage the invitation of authorised persons of each church to minister in the other church, as far as the current disciplines of both churches permit;
- to encourage united Methodist/Church of
- where there are joint church schemes
- where new churches are to be planted
- where local congregations wish to move in this direction;
- to encourage united Methodist/Church of Ireland chaplaincy work;
- to enable a measure of joint training of candidates for ordained and lay ministries of our churches where possible and appropriate and to encourage mutual understanding at all levels in our churches;
- to establish appropriate forms of consultation on matters of faith and order, mission and service;
- to participate as observers by invitation in each other’s forms of governance at every possible level;
- to learn more about the practice of oversight in each other’s churches in order to achieve a fuller sharing of ministries at a later stage of our relationship.
|Robert Armagh||W Winston Graham|
|Primate of All Ireland||President of the Methodist Church in Ireland|
Chrome Hill, Lambeg, 22nd September 2002