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Council of Bishops extends online communion moratorium

“As the practice of online communion is a relatively new experiment, the Council of Bishops called for an extension of the moratorium of the practice in its meeting on November 7, 2014. A consultation will be held in the winter of 2015, with the purpose of clarifying potential guidance for the 2016 General Conference,” said Bishop Ken Carter, resident bishop of the Florida Area and Chair of the Task Force on Online Communion.

“This winter consultation, hosted by the Faith and Order Leadership Team of the Council of Bishops, will include the perspectives of our ordering of ministry, our ecumenical relationships, our calling to make disciples, and the theological foundations of sacramental theology," Bishop Carter said.

Almost a year ago, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry invited a group of 27 United Methodist leaders to a two-day discussion of the issue. The group voted to urge the denomination’s bishops to suspend the practice of Holy Communion online and refer online ministries to Faith and Order for further study.

“The task force was a diverse group of leaders, from four continents, who responded to the developing practice of Online Communion,” said Bishop Carter.

Learning and conversation took place twice virtually via web conferences on March 25 and April 23, 2014. A face-to-face meeting of the task force was held September 25–26, 2014, at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Ga, where members produced a document for the Committee on Faith and Order and the Council of Bishops.

To review the United Methodist perspective on Holy Communion, visit this site.

Members of the Online Communion Task Force each wrote a paper about their perspective with regard to online communion.

Links to the papers are available below.

Online Communion

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Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., Resident Bishop of Florida Area Download
Dr. David N. Field, Coordinator, Methodist e-Academy in Basel, Switzerland Download
Dr. Gladys P. Mangiduyos, Dean of Education, Wesleyan University-Philippines Download
The Rev. Dr. Beauty R. Maenzanise, Dean of School of Theology, Africa University Download
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson, Associate Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Download
The Rev. Dr. HiRho Park, Director of Clergy Lifelong Learning, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Download
The Rev. Dr. L. Edward Phillips, Associate Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology, Candler School of Theology Download
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