New Zealand Methodist Church OnLine History
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The Search for Unity


CONTENTS

Preface
The Catholic Spirit Mission in Diversity
The New Climate Methodist Initiative
The Era of the Joint Standing Committee
The Joint Commission on Church Union
The Maori Response to Ecumenism
The Response of the Churches
Epilogue: The Continuing Call


PREFACE

The pause in the movement towards the recovery of the Church's unity calls for reflection and reappraisal.

The story of the long and sustained involvement of the Methodist Church in New Zealand in ecumenism makes its own impact. What is it that keeps the impulse alive? What is to be learned from the most recent attempt at the union of five Churches? Where are the inhibiting factors? What is the next step to be taken in the way of obedience for the sake of the worship, message, and mission of the Church in the world?

The following account has been written to offer a context and some detail for the discussion of the issues raised. It begins necessarily with what really constitutes Methodism and with what has been characteristic from the days when John Wesley preached on 'The Catholic Spirit'. The line must be drawn even further, since Wesley himself was steeped in the biblical tradition and since he lived on the boundaries where theological insight and all experience meet. Throughout the record, there is a recognisable continuity of spirit and thought.

Significant in itself and integral to the story in Aotearoa is the Maori and ethnic dimension. The relevant chapter has been contributed by the Tumuaki of the Maori Division, the Rev. R.D. Rakena.

The Rev. W. Morrison has read the full manuscript and contributed important material.

The hope is expressed that this record will enable the theological and practical issues to be taken up that the vision may continue

J. J. Lewis
A. K. Petch
Auckland, 1982