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UK News

Online communion allowed in Methodist Church

by Premier Journalist

The Methodist church has voted to overturn a ban that prevents Methodist ministers from celebrating communion via an online service. 

During the Methodist Church Conference, which is taking place this week, delegates overwhelmingly voted to lift the ban with 217 votes in favour and 65 against.

Pete Philips, Premier's head of digital theology and a Methodist Minister, explained the significance of this vote: 

"This is the one of the big three denominations in the UK, which was standing out against online communion - that's Catholics, Church of England and Methodists - that's [now] kind of agreeing to do online communion. And it is really interesting, it's the conversations that are happening because of online church."

The Methodist Church had been campaigning for online communion for many years, but its debate was reignited after the coronavirus pandemic forced ministers to move services online. 

Philips went on to explain that in order for ministers to be allowed to do communion it will have to be a "synchronous act".

"It has to be a live act of communion. So, it cannot be pre-recorded, and it can be live streamed, but presumably, the live stream may need to be taken down, and so on" 

Philips believes the decision is part of the general move to a hybrid church model. 

"The Methodist Church is also adopting that hybrid church model, so that we can do church both online and on-site and include as many people as possible, it's part of an inclusion agenda of saying that we don't just want churches for those people who rock up for in church on Sunday, it's for everybody who wants to come and encounter God in all His goodness." 

A ban on online communion still exists in the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

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