Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Closer Working: A local response to the 2008 Joint Resolution

Trinity URC Church: a United Reformed church i...Image via Wikipedia
'Closer Working: A local response to the 2008 Joint Resolution' took place between Thursday 29th April and Friday 30th April 2010 at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham.  About 50 people from URC Methodist Local Ecumenical Partnerships, United Areas and other local collaborations took part, with ecumenical observers from the Church of England and Society of Friends.

In 2008, the URC Assembly and Methodist Conference approved a joint resolution which had been proposed by Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District and the West Midlands Synod.  The main points are as follows:
  • To explore further joint working for the sake of shared mission.
  • A structure that minimises ecumenical meetings but facilitates diversity
  • Exploration of joint structures at Synod / District level
  • Effective use of resources.
The leaders of the two churches established a Strategic Oversight Group (SOG) to oversee the work under the joint resolution and have agreed to a joint URC Mission Council and Methodist Council in the autumn of 2010.

The consultation identified issues from a local perspective. The report will go to the SOG and some of its findings will be discussed at the joint councils meeting. The Methodist URC Liaison Committee will follow up items the joint councils are unable to accommodate.

The Consultation aimed to:
  • Identify existing good practice and share the problems that become hurdles in working together
  • Evaluate why some individual churches work well together and have been successful as united churches
  • Develop a set of good practices that can be used by churches when considering a united church building/fellowship
  • Progress the Joint Resolution in a way that helps our Churches go forward together in greater mission
There was little input to the consultation prepared in advance.  Participants agreed topics for consideration, worked in groups and reported to a final plenary.  The topics listed therefore represent the interests and concerns of the people present.

This post will be followed by with several others.  These will report on the findings of the groups that met during the consultation.  Please follow and comment on them if you are interested.  We will read all comments and where appropriate pass them onto the Strategic Oversight Group and / or the autumn Joint Councils meeting. 

I would also like to encourage general comments about between the Methodist and United Reformed Churches relations.  The list below is of the groups at the consultation and will give you some idea of the topics they covered.  If you have comments on a particular topic, you might like to wait for the post that covers it.  If you have other concerns, comment on this post.

Most of the work of the consultation was done in groups focused around specific themes. Questions regarding:
  • LEPs and constitutions;
  • organic unity; (This report is being reviewed and I will post about it when it is ready.)
  • ministry;
  • ethos;
  • finances;
  • United Areas (this group reviewed the current situation and had nothing to report).
Please note I'm on leave and will respond to comments on or soon after Tuesday 24 August 2010.
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