On 1 November 2003, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Secretary General of the General Synod and of the Archbishops’ Council, and the President, Vice-President, and Secretary of the Methodist Conference signed An Anglican-Methodist Covenant in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II.

The signing took place in the context of worship in Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, during which the Archbishop Canterbury preached a sermon.

The service continued in Westminster Abbey with thanksgiving and an act of dedication during which the President of the Conference preached a sermon.

How did the Covenant come about?

The journey to that significant occasion took nearly a decade. Following an initiative by the General Purposes Committee of the Methodist Church, various bodies of the Church of England and the Methodist Church decided that there should be ‘informal conversations’ (which were published in 1996 as Commitment to Mission and Unity) and formal conversations (which were published in 2001 as An Anglican Methodist Covenant). In 2002, the Methodist Conference and the General Synod of the Church of England decided to consult widely about the Covenant and the following July, both agreed to enter it.

Conversations involving the United Reformed Church

While the formal conversations were in progress, the Church of England and the Methodist Church were also involved in informal conversations with the United Reformed Church. These began in 1999 and were published in 2001 as Conversations on the way to unity.

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