A PROPOSAL to invite the Catholic Church to accept women priests was turned down by delegates after suggestions that the idea was "naughty and rude".
The annual conference of the Methodist Church in Britain ended in Newcastle this week presided over by the first-ever woman president in the history of Methodism after coming close to urging other Churches to show an equal enthusiasm for women in the Church.
Dr Richard Jones, a former president of the Conference, introduced a motion "respectfully" inviting both the Anglican and Catholic churches to welcome women's gifts by ordaining them to the priesthood. The text of the motion called on the Catholic Church to "raise its theological understanding of the Ministry of Women".
Dr Jones, presenting his motion, told members of the conference: "We should say to our good friends in the Church of Rome that we want to see their development of doctrine about the ministry become very much more dynamic.
"God does indeed call women into every aspect of the Christian ministry and we wish to share that with others." he said. The Methodist Church first ordained women 20 years ago, the only mainstream Church in Britain to do so.
But the 600 delegates to the conference comprehensively decided in a show of hands that the motion should not be put to a vote, one speaker describing it as "very naughty and rude".
"How would we feel if the Church of England or the Roman Catholic Church made a very triendly overture to us on how we should act over lay presidency of the Eucharist?" asked Rev Norman Wallwork, a delegate from Cumbria.
Other motions breaking new theological ground were passed during the week-long gathering. Earlier in the week the conference voted to adopt the use of female language and imagery to describe God.
Official Methodist publications, hymns and prayers will now refer to God as "She" as well as "He" and Methodists will be encouraged to think in terms of the Deity as "Mother" as well as "Father".
A statement affirming the traditional Christian view of marriage was only narrowly passed after strong criticism from young, single and divorced Methodists.