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Catholic Church to lose 'largest denomination' status

Australia's 5 million Catholics will be outnumbered by the 5.3 million members of a merged Anglican and Uniting Church denomination under plans which have this week moved a step closer to realityi.

While "full organic union" could be decades away, because of disputes over the powers of deacons and the role of bishops, the Uniting Church has approved a resolution to pursue closer links with Anglicans.

The Uniting Church's National Assembly, meeting in Melbourne yesterday, agreed to move towards entering a "covenant of association and inter-communion" with the Anglican Church.

The step mirrors developments in Britain, where the Church of England voted on Monday to forge a loose alliance with the country's Methodists.

Australia's Uniting Church was formed in 1977 as the result of a merger between large sections of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational denominations.

A watered down resolution was passed yesterday that fell short of declaring that the denominations had reached a common ground on all essentials of ministry. In the short term, however, the resolution does mean that struggling Uniting Church and Anglican parishes can in principle join forces and share a minister or church.

Sydney Morning Herald

Churches inching towards uniting (The Age)
Uniting Church in Australia | 10th Assembly Melbourne July 2003
Anglican Church of Australia

16 Jul 2003