UM-Episcopal Dialogue (81456-IC-NonDis)
Be It Resolved, that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church, 2008,
1. Welcome and rejoice in the substantial progress of The United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogue and of international conversations between Anglicans and Methodists, and give thanks for the proposed Anglican-Methodist Covenant in Great Britain. We look forward to the day when full communion is established between The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church;
2. Recognize now The United Methodist Church as a member of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church in which the Gospel is rightly preached and taught;
3. Encourage the development of common Christian life throughout our respective Churches by such means as the following:
a. Mutual prayer and mutual support, including congregational and diocesan/annual conference covenants or agreements,
b. Common study of the Holy Scriptures, the histories and theological traditions of each Church, and the materials produced by The United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogue.
c. Joint programs of religious education, theological discussion, mission, evangelism, and social action,
d. Joint use of facilities;
4. Affirm now on the basis of the documents
a. Sharing in the Apostolic Communion, produced by the International Anglican-Methodist Conversations in 1996;
b. the “Constitution and Canons” of the Episcopal Church and the “Book of Common Prayer” of the Episcopal Church
c. The United Methodist “Book of Worship” and the “Book of Discipline” of The United Methodist Church;
d. and the documents “This Holy Mystery” on the Lord’s Supper and “By Water and the Spirit” on Baptism affirmed by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church that the basic teaching of each respective Church is consonant with the Gospel and is sufficiently compatible with the teaching of this Church that a relationship of Interim Sharing of the Eucharist is hereby established between The United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church under the following guidelines:
i. The Episcopal Church extends a special welcome to members of The United Methodist Church to receive Holy Communion in it under the Standard for Occasional Eucharistic Sharing of its 1979 General Convention. This welcome constitutes a mutual recognition of Eucharistic teaching sufficient for Interim Sharing of the Eucharist, although this does not intend to signify that final recognition of each other's ministries has yet been achieved.
ii. Bishops and Dioceses of The Episcopal Church and Bishops of The United Methodist Church may by mutual agreement extend the regulations of Church discipline to permit common, joint celebration of the Eucharist within their jurisdictions. This is appropriate in particular situations where the said authorities deem that local conditions are appropriate for the sharing of worship jointly by congregations of the respective Churches. The presence of an ordained bishop or elder in the United Methodist Church and a bishop or priest of The Episcopal Church at the altar in this way reflects the presence of two or more Churches expressing unity in faith and baptism as well as the remaining divisions which they seek to overcome; however, this does not imply rejection or final recognition of either Church's Eucharist or ministry. In such circumstances the Eucharistic prayer will be from an approved liturgy as authorized jointly by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese and The United Methodist Episcopal Area.
iii. Clergy and Lay leadership of Episcopal and United Methodist congregations that might seek such Interim Sharing of the Eucharist will support this relationship by establishing steps and activities among their local congregations, such as those outlined in section (3) above, so that the truest fulfillment of the vision for Interim Sharing of the Eucharist might be realized.
iv. This resolution and experience of Interim Sharing of the Eucharist will be communicated at regular intervals to other Churches of the World Methodist Council and the Anglican Communions throughout the world, as well as to the various ecumenical dialogues in which Anglicans and Methodists are engaged, especially Churches Uniting in Christ, in order that consultation may be fostered, similar experiences encouraged elsewhere, and already existing relationships of full communion respected;
5. Authorize continued United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogues for the discussion of any other outstanding questions that must be resolved before full communion can be established between the respective Churches, e.g., historic episcopate, and the ordering of ministry (Bishops, Priests, and Deacons) in the total context of apostolicity.
The UMC and the Episcopal Church are authorized to share the Eucharist in context of COCU/CUIC. Establishment of Interim Eucharistic Sharing allows more intentional focus on our bilateral relationship; the COB confidently recommends that General Conference ratify Interim Eucharistic Sharing while the two churches continue to work toward full communion.