Local Ecumenical Partnerships

Right from the time of John and Charles Wesley, the relationship between the Church of England and the Methodist Church has been somewhat blurred. On the one hand, the Wesley's founded an organisation which became a separate denomination. On the other hand, however, they themselves remained priests in the Church of England until they died.

In the 1960s, against a background of the growing impetus among all the Christian Churches to find ways of visibly coming together, The Church of England and the Methodist Church held talks on proposals for union.  Many Christians from both Churches remember when these proposals failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority in the Church of England's General Synod.  Work done then, however, has provided an excellent basis for today's Covenant.

In 1995 & 1996, a series of informal conversations were held with a view to arriving at a common understanding of what is meant by visible unity.

Further conversations were held, this time of a formal nature, and this led to the publication of a "Common Statement" in December 2000, which contained proposals for an Anglican Methodist Covenant.  The Common Statement sets down the points on which the two Churches agree regarding:

    1)  Faith

    2)  Their joint understanding on visible unity

    3)  Their acknowledgements of, and commitments to, each other &

    4)  Where to go from here.

The Anglican Methodist Covenant was finally signed in November 2003.

The Methodist Church and the Church of England already have wide experience of working together in the local community, particularly in Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEP's).  During the Formal Conversations, the two Churches paid particular attention to how they can work together practically and grow together in fellowship in every place and at every level of each Church's life.  There are many such LEP's now in operation between Church of England and Methodist Churches (and Churches of other Denominations).

Our Circuit is fortunate in having three member churches that are partners in Local Ecumenical Partnerships.

The first of these two partnerships, between Broadwaters Methodist and St Oswalds C of E was signed on 14th January, 2007, in the presence of the then Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Doctor Peter Selby and the Chairman of our District, the Reverend John Howard.  Click here to view the Covenant Partnership document that links these two Churches.

The second L.E.P. was signed between Cookley Methodist and St Peters, Cookley on 24th February, 2008, in the presence of the Archdeacon of Dudley, the Venerable Fred Trethewey and the Reverend John Howard.

The third L.E.P. was signed between Trinity Methodist and St Mary’s C of E, on 19th May, 2013, in the presence of the Bishop of Dudley, the Right Reverend David Walker and the Reverend John Howard.