[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Moves towards the mutual recognition and acceptance of Anglican and Methodist ministers in New Zealand have been delayed by at least two years after the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia heard that the Province’s Council for Ecumenism had not considered a report from the Anglican-Methodist Dialogue Group
The General Synod last considered the report in 2014, when it asked the Council to report back to this year’s General Synod on the dialogue group’s recommendations. The synod, when it met last week, had been asked to approve a motion confirming that it “formally affirms, accepts, and recognizes the validity of Methodist presidency and presbyteral ministries as effectively equivalent to Anglican episcopal and priestly ministries, such that interchange is possible without the requirement of re-ordination.”
The motion would have authorised “the necessary enabling legislation” to permit “an act of reconciliation of episcopal ministries so enabling a full interchangeability of ordained ministries, in accord with the Irish Model.”
But the motion was withdrawn when it emerged that the Council for Ecumenism had not considered the dialogue group’s report.
The three primates of the Province, Archbishops Brown Turei, Winston Halapua and Philip Richardson have apologised to the Methodist Church of New Zealand and stressed that the withdrawal of the motion “did not reflect a change in Anglican commitment to dialogue or close and positive relations between the two churches.”
Under the “Irish Model”, the President and other senior clergy from the Methodist Church of Ireland take part in the consecration of Anglican bishops; and the two Anglican Archbishops of the Church of Ireland participate in the installation of the President of the Methodist Church.
In the case of the Methodist President, this first happened on 12 June 2014 when the Revd Peter Murray was elelcted and installed as President of the Methodist Church in Ireland at Christ Church Leeson Park, Dublin. The first consecration of an Anglican bishop under the new ecumenical agreement took place on 24 January 2015 when the Methodist President Peter Murray; and former Presidents the Revd Donald Ker and the Revd Winston Graham joined Church of Ireland bishops in the laying on of hands on the former secretary general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Kenneth Kearon, when he was consecrated as the Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe.
The proposals for the interchangeability of Methodist and Anglican ministers New Zealand will return to the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia when it next meets in 2018.