When dioceses decide on twinning they sign a twinning agreement. Below are three examples of such agreement.
I. AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE DIOCESE OF CHELMSFORD AND THE DIOCESE OF KARLSTAD
The Dioceses of Chelmsford and Karlstad both belong to the Reformed tradition of European Christianity. Since 1986 both dioceses have deepened their mutual contact through common Eucharist, the shared life of our congregations and friendship. Both bishops have on several occasions visited each other. Priests and lay people have shared experiences in the life of the Church.
During 1995 the Church of England and the Church of Sweden have adopted the Porvoo Declaration, which provides possibilities for a deepened solidarity between the two Churches. The unique relation between the Dioceses of Chelmsford and Karlstad, with a regular exchange since 1987, creates a special responsibility for these dioceses to deepen their co-operation on basis of the intentions of the Porvoo statement.
To promote Christ in our nations by the witness of unity and by the fruit of co-operation.
3 Specific Objectives
3.1 To hold in each Diocese during 1997 a Service which celebrates the Porvoo- Borgå Declaration and which inaugurates our own Agreement of commit ment to each other.
3.2 We will aim to make at least one Diocesan exchange visit each year, alternately from Chelmsford to Karlstad and from Karlstad to Chelmsford, with its objectives and programme planned through mutual consultation.
3.3 To establish an annual “Karlstad/Chelmsford Sunday” to be marked in each diocese with the supply of worship resources and information about our link.
3.4 To declare our unity at each other’s Ordination Service at least once a year by inviting the participation of a bishop or priest, and by an appropriate addition to the liturgy.
3.5 To commit ourselves to prayer for each other at regular times, including the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
3.6 To encourage exchanges at parish and deanery levels and between other interest groups, such as confirmation candidates and other young people, church musicians, teachers, lecturers, etc.
3.7 To send representatives to each other’s conferences of clergy and laity where appropriate.
3.8 To establish opportunities for sabbatical and other training extensions and to develop theological dialogue.
3.9 To take part in pilgrimages in each other’s dioceses.
3.10 To create and develop an Internet site to exchange information and generate a widening web of personal contacts.
3.11 To review this Agreement and its working during 2001, and thereafter at agreed intervals.
II. DIOCESE OF VÄXJÖ, SWEDEN AND THE DIOCESE OF OXFORD, ENGLAND
We, the Diocese of Växjö in theChurchofSwedenand the Diocese of Oxford in the Church of England, rejoicing in the faith which we share and recognising
- that we are part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ,
- that, as members together of the body of Christ, we share in God’s mission to the world for which his Son died,
- that our situations (as national churches in secularised western societies), our histories and our structures are similar and that we have much to learn from each other as we face the challenges and opportunities that we share,
commit ourselves to a covenant of partnership within the Porvoo Communion and to making the provisions of the Porvoo Common Statement concrete reality within the life of both dioceses.
Accordingly, we commit ourselves:
- to form a fellowship of prayer, through which specific deaneries or parishes pray for each other, enabling particular congregations or individuals to form friendships, to which they would then find ways of giving concrete expression.
- to identify common challenges and issues facing both dioceses.
- to explore issues of mission and ministry where one partner has good experience to share with the other.
- to provide opportunities for groups from each diocese to study the other’s pastoral methods in particular situations.
- to make provision for the use by one diocese of experts from the other to utilising the competencies that each diocese has, both locally and regionally.
- to provide opportunities for candidates for the priesthood and diaconate in each diocese to do pastoral work in the other’s parishes during the summer break, or to spend time studying at theological college in the other country.
- to offer appropriate opportunities for those who have tasks of responsibility at diocesan or parish level in each diocese to engage in shadowing and sharing.
- to look at ways in which theological education and training for ministry in each diocese can be brought into the link.
- to send representatives to special occasions in each other’s diocese, whether as observers, or simply to share in a special moment of joy or importance.
- to have a process of evaluation at regular intervals to reflect on experience to date, and to decide on the future of the partnership.
- to accept that this partnership does not involve any financial responsibility for each other.
III. A twinning between the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, Scotland and the Diocese of Gotheburg, Sweden
The character of the church is universal. Contact between Christians in different places and in different contexts has therefore always been natural. The explosive development of communications during the last decades has made it easier than ever to deepen and maintain close relations between countries even at considerable distance.
We, the Diocese of Gothenburg in the Church of Sweden and the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway in the Scottish Episcopal Church, rejoicing in the faith which we share and recognising
- that we are part of the one, holy, universal, and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ,
- that, as members together of the body of Christ, we share in God’s mission to the world for which his Son died,
- that our situations (as churches in secularised western societies), our histories and our structures are similar and that we have much to learn from each other as we face the challenges and opportunities that we share,
commit ourselves for three years from the date of signing to a covenant of prayer, partnership and companionship within the Porvoo Communion, and to making the provisions of the Porvoo Common Statement concrete reality within the life of both dioceses.
The comprehensive purpose of the partnership is the development of a friendship, a friendship between our dioceses and organizations, but above all a friendship between individuals. Out of this friendship we hope that new understandings and knowledge will grow. The friendship will hopefully last beyond the time designated for the partnership project itself.
Nathan Sőderblom said that “every church has its own gift of grace”. It is a way of saying that we have a lot to learn from each other. By meeting another context, that at the same time is like and has a lot in common with our own context, but that also differs from it, one can learn a lot. In that way one can “see with new eyes” one’s own context and learn from it. Contacts with colleagues and Christians in other places in the world also gives us new knowledge and understanding, deepened through confiding conversations.
COMMITMENTS The Porvoo statement
The Porvoo statement, signed in 1994 by the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Sweden, inter alia, states:
We commit ourselves:
to share a common life in mission and service, to pray for and with one another, and to share resources;
to establish appropriate forms of collegial and conciliar consultation on significant matters of faith and order, life and work;
to encourage consultations of representatives of our churches, and to facilitate learning and exchange of ideas and information in theological and pastoral matters.
Details of how we intend this covenant to unfold and be reviewed over the three years are found in the Appendix.
Accordingly, to make these Porvoo commitments concrete in the life of our dioceses, we commit ourselves:
1. To form, first and last, a fellowship of prayer. As churches and individuals we commit ourselves to intercede for each other in various ways, for example through The Porvoo Churches Invitation to Prayer. Once a year prayer for one another will be included in the intercessions in all the churches of the two dioceses according to the date provided each year in The Porvoo Churches Invitation to Prayer or on some other mutually agreed date should that prove necessary. In the diocese of Gothenburg, the partnership will be mentioned from time to time during the weekly diocesan Eucharist in the cathedral. A similar arrangement will be made in the Cathedral of the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway. The Diocese of Gothenburg and its Bishop will be included in the monthly Glasgow and Galloway prayer diary, used in all churches. Individuals will also be invited to pray for one another and our friends in the partnership will be informed of certain urgent matters for intercession.
2. To inform one another about the life of each diocese and to put information about the partnership on our respective websites and to add links to one another’s websites. Glasgow and Galloway will email the monthly Diocesan News Service to appropriate persons in the Diocese of Gothenburg. The Diocese of Gothenburg will email to appropriate persons in the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway a translation of regular news items.
3. To invite and send representatives from the two dioceses to attend important events, such as ordinations of priests and deacons, diocesan synods, conventions, etc.
4. To enable particular congregations to form friendships, to which they would then find ways of giving concrete expression. It is intended that the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway will identify at least one congregation in each of its seven regions which would like to form a friendship link with a parish in the diocese of Gothenburg. The Diocese of Gothenburg would then seek to identify a partner parish in each case.
5. By encouraging exchanges between colleagues in ordained or lay ministries in each diocese, with a view to sharing in training opportunities, retreats and parish life.
6. To explore our common life of prayer and worship through sharing our respective traditions of liturgy and church music. We hope that this would be of especial relevance to our two cathedrals.
7. To explore our common life in pastoral care in parish life, prisons, schools, universities and hospitals.
8. To set up a joint working group of two persons from each diocese to plan activities for each year of the partnership.
9. To review how each year has worked out in practice.
10. After three years to decide whether the partnership continues for a further three years or not as the case may be. The official partnership project may last no longer than nine years. When the partnership comes to an end a comprehensive joint evaluation will be performed and presented to the respective synods or diocesan councils.
11. It is understood that from time to time there will be contacts beyond those planned by the working group.
12. Each diocese or congregation will be responsible, from its own funds, for meeting the expenses of visits to the other. It is expected that visitors will be hosted in private homes and appropriate hospitality offered.
This covenant is re-signed for a second three year period. Goteborg and Glasgow February 2010