Episcopal – United Methodist Dialogue

There are 12.5 million Methodists worldwide, with just more than half of them in the United States.   The Episcopal Church has nearly 1.9 million members and is a province of the Anglican Communion which has 85 million members in 165 countries.

The Episcopal-Methodist full-communion proposal outlines agreements on the understanding of each order of ministry. The ministries of lay people, deacons, Episcopal priests and United Methodist elders would all be seen as interchangeable yet governed by the “standards and polity of each church.”

Both churches have somewhat similar understandings of bishops, according to the proposal.

“We affirm the ministry of bishops in The United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church to be adaptations of the historic episcopate to the needs and concerns of the post-[American] Revolutionary missional context,” it says. “We recognize the ministries of our bishops as fully valid and authentic.”

The current timeline calls for the UMC to consider the full-communion proposal at that 2020 General Conference and for The Episcopal Church’s General Convention to do likewise in 2021. The work that led to the proposal began in 2002.  

•During the May 2019 meeting, the COB received approved action on the progress toward full communion with the Episcopal Church.
•Committee anticipates submitting draft legislation for COB approval at this meeting, but won’t know for sure until the next dialogue committee meeting April 29-30 of this year.
•The Committee will continue to work on a video series promoting Episcopal-UM cooperation as well as organizing regional gatherings for conversations between representatives of our churches.
•The NWCU highlighted Episcopal-Lutheran-UM cooperation in local contexts at the National Workshop on Christian Unity.