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Young people at the heart of new international Finland-Wales ecumenical partnership

Posted on: June 7, 2019 5:58 PM
Photo Credit: Church in Wales

[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Finnish and Welsh young people will be at the heart of a new partnership between their country’s church leaders, officially sanctioned this week. A group of young people from north-east- and Mid-Wales will be travelling to Finland this month to join a young leaders’ programme. In October a group of their Finnish peers from Helsinki will be immersed in Welsh culture during a visit to North Wales in a reciprocal agreement. Plans are also in place for the Diocese of St Asaph to run a Confirmation Camp for older teenagers in Finland next year.

The bishops of St Asaph and Helsinki signed a formal agreement to promote closer links between the two dioceses during the visit of a Finnish delegation to north Wales this week (3 June). Following the signing, the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, said: “Christians the world over share the same faith, but we learn a great deal by understanding the different contexts in which disciples live out their faith.

“The Lutheran tradition in Finland has many things in common with our own history, but also throws much that we take for granted into sharp relief. I am delighted to live and grow and to learn as Christian disciples with our new Nordic partners.”

The Bishop of Helsinki, Teemu Laajasalo, his co-signatory, said: “This agreement is a reminder of the unity of the church of Christ. We do the same work in different parts of Europe and we can learn, encourage and support each other to spread the gospel.

“Cooperation with St Asaph happens at many levels – between churches and mission areas, between bishops and most importantly, finding ways together to encourage growth across all our churches.”

The Partnership was signed during the visit of a Finnish delegation to North Wales which the two dioceses hope will see spiritual, imaginative, sustainable, enriching and joyful links developed between the two communities.

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The Bishop of Helsinki, Teemu Laajasalo (left), and the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, sign a new partnership agreement between the Anglican Church in Wales and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
Photo: Church in Wales

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is the national church in the country. It is linked to the Church in Wales by the Porvoo Common Statement which establishes full communion between the British Anglican Churches and the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of northern Europe.

The Diocese of St Asaph is one of six dioceses in the Church in Wales, which was formed almost 100 years ago when it became independent of the Church of England.