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Pentecostals and Anglicans begin talks in

11 April 2014

by a staff reporter


Co-operation: participants at the Nottingham gathering this week

Co-operation: participants at the Nottingham gathering this week

THE first formal "consultation" between the Church of England and Pentecostals has taken place this week, ending with a pledge of continued dialogue.

Successive Lambeth Conferences resolved to hold talks with Pentecostal Churches, but the Church of England had been slow to follow it up, the ecumenical officer at the Council for Christian Unity, the Revd Dr Roger Paul, said.

"We recognise the growing presence of Churches from the Pentecostal tradition, and we have much common ground between us. The Pentecostal Church is growing globally, but there are areas where it is standing still, and there are Anglican Churches which are growing, and there are a lot of challenging discussions to have around that.

"Alongside key doctrinal questions on the work of the Holy Spirit, apostolic leadership, and prophecy, we have explored significant grass-roots issues, such as church sharing, Christian schools, and joint ministerial training."

The two-day consultation was organised in response to a proposal by the Principal of St John's College, Nottingham, the Revd Dr David Hilborn, a member of both the Faith and Order Commission and the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

Dr Hilborn said: "I had been involved in ecumenical work for some years, and had noticed that, while Roman Catholic, Reformed, and Lutheran Churches had been engaged in bilateral theological conversations with Pentecostals, Anglicans had lagged behind."

Professor William Kay, a Pentecostal participant from the Assemblies of God, said: "Pentecostals have much to learn from Anglicans - and, dare I say it, Anglicans have much to learn from Pentecostals. This enriching consultation got us off to a flying start."

The Revd Nezlin Sterling, from the New Testament Assemblies, described the consultation as a "welcome new development in understanding and co-operation between our respective traditions".

Pentecostalism spread to Britain from the United States in the early years of the 20th century, and was swelled by immigration from the 1950s onwards. Pentecostal churches are now among the fastest-growing churches in the UK.

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