Plenary meeting of Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission (MERCIC)

23 Oct 2019

2019 10 23 MERCIC Nairobi The Commission with Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop van Megen

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church met in Mariapolis Piero outside Nairobi, Kenya, from Thursday 10 to Friday 17 October 2019, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. 

In this third plenary meeting of the present round of dialogue the Commission continued its theological dialogue on the subject of reconciliation as this relates in particular to the unity of the Church. Following our 2018 plenary members had been asked to work in subgroups to draft chapters of a prospective document. These drafts were presented and discussed in Mariapolis, and the form of the document evolved to one of four chapters treating respectively: soteriology understood as reconciliation; the Church and its structures with a view to how our respective structures might be reconciled; practices of reconciliation in the two traditions; and the Church’s mission to take God’s reconciliation to the world. The Commission agreed to also present a liturgy of reconciliation with its document to encourage Methodist and Catholic communities to engage in a healing of memories through joint worship. The final report will be presented to the World Methodist Council meeting in Gothenburg in 2021.

Each day the Commission commenced its work by sharing together in devotions led alternately by Methodist and Catholic members. On Sunday, after a Catholic Eucharist celebrated in Mariapolis, participants attended worship at the Juja Methodist Church led by the Reverend David Kanyili. The official Methodist Eucharist was held on Saturday evening, celebrated by the Reverend David Chapman, Methodist co-chair of the Commission, with Bishop Dr Chikwendu Igwe preaching. The official Catholic Mass was held on Wednesday evening. The Right Reverend John Sherrington presided and offered the Mass for Monsignor Denis Edwards, a member of the Commission who died suddenly in March.

On Tuesday 15 October the members visited the Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, where they were greeted by the Reverend Dr Kifle Wansamo, the Acting Dean of the Institute, who gave an introductory talk about its work. In a time of discussion involving both staff and students of the Institute and the Reverend Joseph Obwanda, chaplain to Kenya Methodist Univeristy,  members of the Commission spoke about MERCIC’s work on reconciliation. The Commission was then hosted by H.E. Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan,  who spoke about the ongoing peace process in South Sudan.

The Commission wishes to record its gratitude to members of the Focolare Community of Mariapolis Piero for the generosity of their hospitality and the warmth of their welcome, and particularly Mary Kristine Amata for her help in the planning of the meeting.

The Commission will next meet at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute Jerusalem from 9 to 16 October 2020, hosted by the Methodist World Council.





Rev. Dr David M. Chapman

Great Britain

Rev. Dr Karen Westerfield Tucker


Rev. Dr Edgardo Colon-Emeric


Rev. Dr Trevor Hoggard


Bishop Chikwendu Igwe


Rev. Dr Priscilla Pope-Levison


Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri


Dr Lilian Siwila

South Africa



Roman Catholic:


Bishop John Sherrington


Fr Anthony Currer

Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

Prof. Catherine Clifford


Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu


Fr Jorge Scampini, OP


Dr Clare Watkins