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Stuart Bell
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Do not be surprised by Ms Gledhill's misunderstanding. The last time she attended the Methodist Conference and reported for The Times, she reported that Conference had decided the exact opposite of what it had actually decided. Ever since then, I have taken all her reports with a huge bucket of salt,
This is so much like the (in)famous Bishops debate. Just because Conference had at one point agreed to take episcopacy into its system did not mean that it would vote for a particular model (or indeed any model) of personal episcopacy when presented with one. So, here, "In other words we are prepared to be changed and even to cease having a separate existence as a Church if that will serve the needs of the Kingdom” cannot, except by the most naive - and the President isn't naive - be inferred from "We commit ourselves, as a priority, to work to overcome the remaining obstacles to the organic unity of our two churches, on the way to the full visible unity of Christ's Church." Just like the RC model of unity is "come back to Rome", for too many Anglicans it's "come back to Canterbury". They have no idea that organic unity might/must/could/should mean the end of both denominations as we know it. And most are so committed to the CofE that it's unthinkable that it will happen this century. Apartheid and the Berlin Wall may collapse, but the CofE could never contemplate uniting itself out of existence. And it, like Methodism, has too many flaws to make uniting with it as it stands look to be in the interests of mission. Stuart
I'm also concerned that this document, which the author admits is only directuve, rather than advisory, for employees of the Church, will end up being printed in the Conference Agenda, at quite signficant cost, and with the risk or bringing ridicule on the Church for its apparent heavy-handedness. Come to think about it, isn't bringing ridicule on the Church a disciplinary matter? ;-)
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Jan 28, 2010