3 JUNE 1972, Page 27

Church unity

Sir: As a born and bred Methodist, who has for quite a time now been embraced by the Baptist fold, may I comment on Edward Norman's article — The Anglican-Methodist vote (May 6).

Shortly before Methodist Union, I discussed the matter with that doyen of Methodist Ministers, the late William Johnson, who was our Minister at Manley Park Church, Manchester.

"The trouble is, Leonard," he commented, "They are putting the cart before the horse. They should not have thought about any legal instrument, before complete integration of synods, quarterly meetings, and so on, so that a legal instrument would merely make de jure what had long been de facto." How right he was is proved by hearing only recently reference to a certain Wesleyan and nanother primitive. Recalling the furious controversy in the Methodist Recorder about fourteen years ago, union, it seems to me will only produce a Methodism split from top to bottom. To far too great a proportion of Methodists services of reconciliation, with future laying on of hands by some bishop, only means that in the eyes of Anglicans, Methodist Ministers have never been properly ordained.

Anyone who believes in union as a practical permanent proposition belongs behind the garden shed.

Leonard H. Pendlebury 24 Sidford House, Hercules Road, London SE1