The Church of the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) and the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA) have begun the process of ecumenical engagement as encouraged by the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion and the Methodist World Council respectively. Two formal conversations were conducted in November 2017 and May
2018. However, there is a lack of local data to guide the discussions. The basic dividing issue between the churches has centered around the historic episcopate and the need for Anglican ecumenical partners to take episcopacy into their systems. With the installation of a President- Bishop in the MCCA, the issue of who is a bishop has come to the fore.
This study examines the theology of the orders of bishop and presbyter/priest using a comparative ecclesiological methodology as proposed by Roger Haight. The history of ecumenical engagement between the “parent churches” in England is explored and then extended to the world level before focusing on the local Caribbean context. Using the concept of lex orandi, lex credendi the ordinals of the two churches were assessed to unearth their respective theology of the two orders. A review of the ordinals of both CPWI and MCCA indicate that they both demonstrate sacramental ordination at the orders of bishop and presbyter/priest based on the criteria outlined by William Countryman. The rites of ordination occurred within public worship,
the reading and exposition of Holy Scripture, and Holy Eucharist; the people were given the opportunity to object or approve the candidates at varying times during the process; the wider Church was involved in the discernment of vocation; and there was tactile succession, the laying on of hands during the ordination.
Caribbean Methodists persist with the Connexion as the final decision-making body. However, they have chosen to take episcopacy into their system with the installation of their Presidents as bishops. This ameliorated the need for episcopacy, as outlined in the Chicago- Lambeth Quadrilateral, and its recognition by Caribbean Anglicans will facilitate expansion of the understanding of the transmission of apostolicity and spur further discussions.