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“Historic” second Interim Shared Eucharist

“Historic” second Interim Shared Eucharist

The Office of Public Affairs for the Episcopal Church has issued a press release announcing the celebration of the second Interim Shared Eucharist between the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church. The celebration falls on the feast day set aside for John and Charles Wesley on the Episcopal calendar.

From the 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.”

…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.

Did you attend the first shared service? Will you attend tomorrow? What are your hopes for our shared future?

Posted by Rosalind Hughes

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Jean Lall

Regarding the position of the United Methodist Church (and other churches as well) on the Real Presence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_presence_of_Christ_in_the_Eucharist

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Norman Hutchinson

Thomas Coats are you sure about the United Methodists believing in "The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist"? Another thing to consider is that the UM Church uses grape juice and is forbidden to use wine at Communion. How is that difference being resolved?

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Larry Miled

As an Episcopalian who feels that the Anglican churches are part of Catholic, not Protestant, Christendom, I hope that any full communion agreement will require restoration of the Apistolic Succession in the Methodist Church. I also feel that at a minimum, there should be theological recognition in both churches of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, however one might define that. I would suppose that there are probably elements of the Methodist tradition that Methodists would like to see incorporated into a full communion agreement as well.

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Jean Lall

Larry Miled, an interesting perspective, but perhaps a difficult one to justify. Historically and in terms of its present reality, I understand the Anglican tradition as *both* Catholic and Reformed, a middle way, with a spectrum of beliefs and practices ranging from (more Protestant) evangelical to Anglo-Catholic. Roman Catholics insist that you can't be both, you have to choose, but that is their hangup, which we don't have to buy into. It seems to me that a vital part of the Anglican charism is to be a place of reunion among Christians where these historic splits can be healed. I am really happy to see the sacramental relationship developing between Methodists and Episcopalians/ Anglicans, which as far as I can see is being built with much thought and care for the theological issues involved.

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Thomas Coates

United Methodists believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist in official teachings of the church and have a powerful understanding of the Eucharist involving the entire Trinity.
Apostolic succession is a far more complex issue, recommend reading some of the joint statements and research released by The Episcopal Church and The United Methodist Church (specifically "A Theological Foundation for Full Communion").

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Sandra Selby

@Larry Miled: if you are going to make "restoration of the Apistolic [sic] Succession" the sine qua non of full communion with the Methodists, I suggest you learn how to spell it before you insist that the Methodists take your demand seriously.

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Grace Cangialosi

I am an Episcopal priest, and inasmuch as we officially admit "all baptized persons" to the table--and most other denominations do, as well, I'm tired of the whole "we can't celebrate together because we disagree theologically" line! Even within our own denominations and parishes we have theological differences, but we don't administer litmus tests at the rail.
Do we really believe that God's grace can only operate in certain formats with certain language? Do we really believe that Christ can only be present, however that happens, in certain special types of bread and cup?
I hope we will see more and more of this. I believe that the unity (not uniformity) we seek will happen around this table and this meal and not in scholarly arguments about dogma and doctrine.

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Gerardo Ramirez+

Unfortunately, a union of the CofE & the Methodist church failed to come about (it was close) in the UK, perhaps like Women's Ordination, we can be an example for Church Unity among both church groups.

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