It is not given to thee to finish the task hut neither art thou free to desist therefrom.

With this ancient saying (source unspecified) the much-heralded Church of England-Methodist joint report on church unity was made public February 26 in London, after discussions lasting six years.

Two stages are suggested in the outline proposals for the coming together of the two denominations: first, a period of “some years” during which there would be inter-communion while each retained its distinct life and identity; second, an organic union in one church. It is stressed, however, that if stage one is entered upon it will involve also the obligation to achieve stage two in due course. Details of the 63-page report will be discussed this year by the Church of England Convocations and by the Methodist Conference, and it is expected that these bodies will at once commend the proposals to the study of their respective churches at local levels. By 1965, it is hoped, the churches “may be ready to say through their central constitutional bodies whether they accept the proposals and, if the answer is favorable, how they would wish to proceed to their practical implementation.”

Dr. H. J. Carpenter, Anglican Bishop of Oxford, and Dr. Harold Roberts, Principal of Richmond College (Methodist), were joint-chairmen of the report committee, and of 28 participants five had died or resigned since talks began.

If the achievement of final unity (which would augment the Church of England by more than 25 per cent and bring the combined total of communicants to more than 3,600,000) demands radical changes on the Anglican side, the Methodists have the more immediate difficulty of coping with stage one, which provides for their acceptance of episcopal church ...

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