Monday, March 2, 2015

Episcopal Bishop Sauls to preach at Interim Shared Eucharist with United Methodists

Episcopal Bishop Sauls to preach at Interim Shared Eucharist with United Methodists

Sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of New York

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, will preach at an Interim Shared Eucharist with the United Methodist Church on March 3 at 5:30 pm at John Street United Methodist Church in New York City. United Methodist New York Annual Conference Resident Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will preside.
Sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of New York, the historic Eucharist between The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church will follow The Episcopal Church-United Methodist Church Common Guidelines for Interim Eucharist Sharing.
“The growing unity between United Methodists and Episcopalians is a source of great joy for me as someone who was formed in the Methodist Church as a child,” commented Bishop Sauls. “I continue to value the depth of Methodist spirituality and appreciate the Methodist gift for piety in the best possible sense, and I am filled with hope at the missional opportunities we might pursue together.”
Nicholas Birns, chairman of the Diocese of New York Episcopal – Methodist Dialogue, noted that this service marks the second Interim Shared Eucharist. The first, he said, occurred at St. Paul’s Chapel, New York City, in May 2012. “At that time, the Episcopalians hosted, United Methodist Bishop Jeremiah Park co-presided, and the preacher was Bishop Robert Rimbo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA),” Birns said.
March 3 is significant as it is the day The Episcopal Church celebrates the lives of John and Charles Wesley.
For the past ten years, the United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church have been in discussion and discernment moving forward to “full communion” which involves a relationship between church organizations that mutually recognize sharing basic doctrines. This relationship involves: mutual recognition of members, joint celebration of Holy Communion/Eucharist, mutual recognition of ordained clergy, mutual recognition of the sacraments and a common commitment to mission. Both the United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church share full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but not with each other. The Episcopal Church also shares full communion with the Moravian Church.
The John Street parish started as a prayer circle of Methodists who also attended formal services at Trinity Church, Wall Street.  After American independence, and the consequent formal break between Methodists and Episcopalians, these ties were severed.
Recently, an Interim Shared Eucharist between The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church was celebrated at the Episcopal Church’s National Cathedral in Washington DC

1 comment:

Nicholas Birns said...

For God alone my soul in silence waits; *
from him comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:1)

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In eighteenth-century England, two brothers broke through to a new, passionate mode of spirituality that stressed fervent belief, an outreach to the disenfranchised, and a striving for ever-greater holiness. John and Charles Wesley grew up as Anglicans and died as Anglican priests. Yet the movement they founded, known as Methodism, eventually became an independent church, due to the American Revolution and other political vagaries.

Tonight, at the John Street Church, Episcopalians and Methodists will celebrate an Interim Shared Eucharist that will mark the ongoing convergence between our denominations. The gap between these two may not seem wide. But it has been long. That it is being healed and repaired now is notable.

As we scrutinize ourselves in Lent, we often look to the far away, to tragic mistakes, to bitter losses. Yet the people and contexts that seem just like us, with whom our relations seem bland and benign, might need the most work. And sometimes it is easy to go through a surface atonement and then feel things are fine as they are. We pray that we may be surprised by the Wesleyan insistence that our best is not good enough: that we must strive for perfection, even if always failing, keeping in sight what Charles Wesley praised as the "Love divine, all loves excelling," that will greet us in the risen Jesus.

--Nicholas Birns