I’ve been in Cardiff this week attending the meeting of the Primates of the Porvoo Communion. There’s a full turn-out – including Helga who is the newly-installed Primate of the Norwegian Church
In case you are ‘out of the loop’ on this one, the Porvoo Communion brings together in a relationship of full communion the Scandinavian and Baltic Lutheran Churches with the Anglican Churches of the British Isles and the Anglican Churches of Spain and Portugal.
At dinner last night, I sat between the Archbishop of Estonia and Bishop Carlos from Spain – whose church of course has very close links with the Church of Ireland because Irish bishops for many years visited regularly for confirmations and ordinations. I’ve been coming to terms with these relationships for some time – meetings like this in the British Isles and visits to Sweden, Denmark and Finland. There are big differences – many of these churches are state churches supported (on a voluntary basis now) by tax revenues. In the SEC, we are rather more loaves and fishes. But I warm to their sense of historic rootedness in their societies and the stability which that gives them.
And the other way round, I find that they in turn are increasingly interested in talking about how state churches can become missional faith communities – and how churches which are used to having more resources than we could ever dream of might learn to live in leaner times.