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Methodists and Anglicans Celebrate Common Mission
The launch of the Anglican Methodist International Commission on Mission in Unity (AMICUM) document, Into All the World, took place on Tuesday, March 17, in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, in the context of local diocesan celebrations of St Patrick’s Day.
Bishop Harold Miller, Anglican co-Chair of AMICUM and Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Dromore, availed of the opportunity presented by the presence of Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury at the celebrations to highlight this final report of the Commission.
During the annual pilgrimage walk from Saul (a site strongly associated with the national saint of Ireland) to Downpatrick Cathedral, those gathered paused at the steps of Downpatrick Methodist Church to hear Gillian Kingston, Vice President of the World Methodist Council, and Archbishop Welby speak of the significance of the process that had led to this document and to send it on its way ‘into all the world’.
WMC Vice-President Gillian Kingston noted that the title comes from Mark16:15, with the complete text reading ‘and preach the Gospel to all creation’. This is the thrust of the Commission’s work. Unity is both gift and task: it must be spiritual, visible and missional. The church is nothing if not local, she said, drawing attention to the Toolkit section of the document, which provides valuable pointers to areas of co-operation possible for Methodists and Anglicans at local level. She noted the not insignificant contribution to the process made by the Irish Covenant Council: the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland have now achieved complete interchangeability of ministries.
Archbishop Welby spoke of the importance of mission in the world of today and of the importance of empowering people for mission.
Present also were the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Revd Peter Murray, and the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke. The Dialogue Commission was represented by the Revd Gareth Powell, Secretary-Designate of the Conference of the Methodist Church in Britain.,
Greetings came from the Revd Professor Robert Gribben (Australia), Methodist co-Chair of AMICUM, who was unable to be present. In an earlier press release, Gribben was quoted as saying, ‘This Report is the fruit of some twenty years of honest questions and considered responses, built on trust among the dialogue partners, and a practical ecumenical vision for our common mission.’