For several years, the Scottish Episcopal, Methodist in Scotland and United Reformed Churches in Scotland met as the EMU Group in order to work out how they might move forward together in unity. The EMU Conversation follows from the 4 denomination Scottish Churches Initiative for Union (SCIFU) (rejected by the Church of Scotland). While the discussion specifically focussed on ways the three denominations might continue to journey together in cooperation towards even fuller Christian Unity, it is not a conversation about organic union.
These discussions led to the signing of a partnership agreement on 23 January 2010 at St Ninians SEC Cathedral in Perth by the Rev Lily Twist (Chair of the Methodist Church, Scotland District) the Rev John Humphreys (Synod Moderator URC National Synod of Scotland) and Most Rev David Chillingworth (Primus of the SEC).
The text of the agreement is as follows:
We, the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Synod of the Scotland District of the Methodist Church and the National Synod of Scotland of the United Reformed Church, in recognition of our developing relationships, instigate this statement of partnership. We solemnly declare that we will work for ever closer co-operation in serving Christ. We are glad of the partnerships that have already been established between us and commit ourselves to strengthening these relationships and building new ones. By regular meetings between our various officers, and encouragement to our congregations, we shall work to identify, explore and develop opportunities to share in mission and ministry by continuing to forge stronger ties between us. Specifically we shall explore together ways of:
- Being Church and serving God together;
- Increasing the confidence of our members to speak of God and faith in ways that make sense to others;
- Cooperating in teaching and learning about Jesus Christ, and our mission together;
- Cooperating on Church and Society issues, supporting community development and taking action together for justice, especially among the most deprived and poor in Scotland;
- Sharing in the provision and deployment of both lay and ordained ministries of all the people of God;
- Sharing our resources across Scotland to fulfil our shared Christian mission to spread the Gospel.
We shall seek to widen our Ecumenical engagement within this Partnership and with other denominations, wherever possible, so that our working together may be as wide as possible and our diversity not hindered by ongoing dis-union and rivalry. Progress in this partnership will be formally reviewed on a 5 yearly basis from the date of signature.
In signing this statement we affirm our commitment to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and trust in God’s power for the implementation of this partnership.