To fulfill the commitment to growing together as a communion of churches, the Porvoo churches are encouraged to establish diocesan or parish links with other churches within the communion. Many such links have been established since the beginning of Porvoo. These links are called Twinnings.
Setting up a partnership link at diocesan or congregational level
If you have been inspired or challenged by the opportunities described in the previous section you may wish to consider setting up a partnership link with a member of the Porvoo “family” from another tradition to your own. At the outset consult the Porvoo Contact Group member from your own Church and also be in touch with the two Co-Secretaries.
- Establish a working group to oversee the link. Share out the tasks, so that the link doesn’t become the ‘property’ of a few individuals.
- This enlisting could also be ecumenical.
- Think carefully about the location of a potential partner.
- If you are considering a church involvement in a civic twinning arrangement, you may find it useful to ask for information about the existing links from your local town hall.
- See that your visits and exchanges involve more than just ‘ecclesiastical tourism’. Enjoy each other’s company, pray and worship together — but study, discuss and work together too.
- Liaise with local schools/colleges and industry.
- Contact other links organisers. But remember that what works or fails in one context may not do the same elsewhere.
- Check whether there is a Church of England Diocese in Europe congregation in the area where your partner is situated. If so, make contact. Anglican ministers working in Porvoo countries can probably give you some useful advice, and would almost certainly be interested to be kept abreast of your plans.
- Make a realistic assessment of how the link is going. Ensure that you and your partner church decide when to periodically review whether the link should continue, or whether new priorities lie in other areas.
- Have fun!
What a partnership link can do:
Spread information about the Porvoo countries and Churches, and stories of links already established.
- Make sure the Porvoo Cycle of Prayer is included in intercessions
- Encourage exchanges of, and visits by, clergy, students and lay people and explore the possibility of school, college and cathedral exchanges and church music links.
- Compare developments in lay and ordained ministry
- Explore the potential of civic twinnings – a good area for witness and mission.
- Encourage links between sector ministries, e.g. prison, school, university, hospital and industrial chaplaincies.
- Share information and experience about developments in ministerial and other training, both lay and ordained.
- Learn about oversight and government in each other’s churches, including funding and stewardship issues.
- Identify clergy and lay people with relevant linguistic skills or potential, and encourage them to take part in exchanges.
- Ensure that invitations to important diocesan events such as clergy and lay conferences, the consecration of a new bishop or the installation of a dean are always sent to the leaders of the partner church.
Drawing up a Covenant
A covenant-style agreement can be drawn up between dioceses, deaneries, or individual congregations. It is advisable to build in a review every 3-5 years.
Examples of such a covenant or twinning agreement can be found online.
Twinning is usually specified for a period of time. A list of twinnings is updated annually.