The Episcopal Church-United Methodist Dialogue met in Washington, D.C. at the United Methodist Building on October 2-4, 2017. Episcopalians present were the Right Reverend C. Franklin Brookhart (co-chair); the Reverend Dr. Thomas Ferguson; Dr. Deirdre Good; Mr. Richard J. Mammana, Jr. (staff); the Reverend Mariclair Partee Carlsen; the Right Reverend David Rice; and the Reverend Margaret Rose (staff). United Methodists present were the Reverend Patricia Farris; the Reverend Dr. James Howell; the Reverend Dr. Pamela Lightsey; Bishop Gregory Palmer (co-chair); the Reverend Dr. Kyle Tau (staff); Bishop B. Michael Watson; and the Reverend Dr. Robert Williams. The Reverend Dr. Jonathan Linman was an invited observer from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The committee made a motion of gratitude for the work of the Reverend Jordan Haynie Ware, who has transferred to the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Edmonton, and welcomed the Reverend Mariclair Partee Carlsen as a new member.
Reports related to current events in both denominations were shared by members of the group. All members expressed their continued prayers for The United Methodist Council of Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward.
The principal tasks of the dialogue group for this meeting were to review responses from members of both churches to the January 2017 document A Gift to the World: Co-Laborers for the Healing of Brokenness: A Proposal for Full Communion and to plan for the future consideration of this proposal by each church’s legislative body. The committee is working to design a series of regional conversations between United Methodists and Episcopalians related to this proposal. They will also seek to develop a series of communications celebrating the close relationship between our denominations, highlighting the practical and missional opportunities that a full communion agreement would foster.
The group also reviewed and revised a document of Frequently Asked Questions about the full communion proposal. This material will be available online in the short term.
Finally, the dialogue committee was dismayed that once again our meeting took place in the wake of yet another mass shooting. Events of mass violence in our world are so frequent that it almost feels inevitable that each time we meet there will be another atrocity to mourn, more victims to commend to God’s eternal care, additional communities in need of prayers for healing, reconciliation, and peace.
Our dialogue team opened our meeting by praying the Great Litany from the Book of Common Prayer. Together we prayed these words: “That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; to comfort and help the weak-hearted; to raise up those who fall; and finally, to beat down Satan under our feet.” As we continue to work for peace and justice in the world, it is the sincere hope of the dialogue committee that our work together may serve as a sign and symbol of the wider work of God’s reconciling love in each and every place.
The dialogue will meet next on April 23-25, 2018 in Chicago.
Communiqué prepared by Mr. Richard J. Mammana and the Rev. Dr. Kyle Tau; group photography by Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga, Director of Communications for The United Methodist Council of Bishops.