From the Revd Paul Arbuthnot
Sir, - It was with dismay that I learnt that the General Synod
of the Church of Ireland has passed a Bill to make fully
interchangeable the ministries of the Methodist Church and the
Church of Ireland (News, 16 May).
This is surely one of the most ill-conceived pieces of synodical
legislation in a very long time.
An ecclesiological Pandora's box has been opened. Issues ranging
from the apostolic succession to lay presidency of the eucharist
will now have carefully to be considered.
Will those ordained by a Church of Ireland bishop who was
previously a Methodist President (all former Presidents are being
retrospectively recognised as "episcopal ministers") be considered
to be priests by the Church of England and other Provinces? Will
the Sister Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Porvoo Churches,
and the Old Catholics deem the participation of two (or more)
bishops in a dedicatory prayer at a non-eucharistic service of
installation of a Methodist President sufficient to effect
episcopal consecration - the full equivalent of traditional
episcopal ordination and consecration in the context of a
celebration of the eucharist?
Ordination to the priesthood by bishops in the apostolic
succession has been required throughout her history by the Church
of Ireland to guarantee the validity of the eucharist and
absolution. This would appear no longer so, as Methodist ministers,
not so ordained, may now be appointed incumbents of Church of
Perhaps we may look for some clarification on this situation as
it will apply outside Ireland from the relevant authorities
including theC of E's House of Bishops?
1 The Deanery, Sumpter Yard
Holywell Hill, St Albans AL1 1BY