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Day 1

Occasional Interchangeability of Ministry with Methodists Considered at Synod


Occasional Interchangeability of Ministry with Methodists Considered at Synod A Bill which will provide an opportunity for occasional interchangeability of ministry with the Methodist Church in Ireland received its first and second readings at General Synod today (Friday May 12). In 2014 General Synod passed Canon 10A which represented a major breakthrough in ecumenical relationships, particularly with our Covenant partner, the Methodist Church, in terms of a converging common understanding of the ministry of episcope. The main intention at the time was to facilitate long term transfer of members of the clergy between one polity and the other and to enable ministers of the Methodist Church in Ireland to be considered eligible to become office holders in the Church of Ireland. The canon has proven unclear about more occasional exercise of ministerial interchangeability – for example during shared missional activities or periods of holiday and sick leave. Bill No 6 seeks to clarify the situation and provide opportunity for occasional exercise of interchangeability with the express consent of the Ordinary. No parallel difficulty concerning occasional interchangeability exists in the Methodist context. The Bill is proposed by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe and the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh and seeks to amend Chapter IX of the Constitution. Proposing the Bill, Bishop Andrew Forster said that the breakthrough Canon 10A had brought should not be underestimated. He said Canon 10A facilitated the long term transfer from one polity to another. This Bill provided for short term transfer. “It’s actually happening already and this Bill tidies it up and puts it into our legislation. Perhaps with more short term interchangeability we will see more long term interchangeability,” he said. “I believe this Bill should encourage us and bless us as we journey together in covenant with our Methodist brothers and sisters.” The Bill passed its first and second stages and will receive its third reading online on Tuesday May 16.

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