I grew up in an Anglican-Methodist family, and went to a Methodist Sunday school. I rejoice at the prospect of a closer relationship with the Methodist Church. The report before the General Synod, Ministry and Mission in Covenant, pursues that noble aim, which makes its failings all the more agonising. With a few adaptations, it could be a triumph; as it stands, it compromises the faith and identity of the Church of England.
Our Church upholds ancient Catholic order: bishops in the historic episcopate are the ministers of ordination; the eucharist is celebrated by them, and by the priests they ordain. This is central to what makes the Church of England Catholic as well as reformed: not vestments, nor genuflection, but order.
The intolerable departure from that order, proposed in this report, would be to invite ministers who have not been ordained by bishops to serve in the place of Anglican priests. This would last beyond the lifetimes of those reading this article. Implemented as the report stands, Methodist presbyters who have not received episcopal ordination will preside at the eucharist in parish churches, chaplaincies, and fresh expressions for decades to come. That would not be as ecumenical guests, but as the celebrants of C of E services.
For the C of E to accept that would be to say at least one of the following: (1) that nothing significant distinguishes ordination by a bishop from ordination without; (2) that nothing about the eucharist (or anointing or absolution) is significant for the journey of salvation; (3) that orders are irrelevant in these cases, since means of grace depend only on the inner disposition of each individual. Each of those arguments sells short the faith and practice of the C of E.