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CofE and CofS look to form closer ties

Thu 24 Dec 2015
By Marcus Jones

The Church of Scotland and the Church of England have reached an historic agreement to commit to working more closely together in the future.

The move, which is called The Columba Declaration, is set out in a 15-page report by the Joint Study Group "Growth in Communion, Partnership in Mission".

While the two churches already work together in a number of ways, this development will help them further those current projects and help them start new ones.

Rev Dr John McPake, co-chair of the study group and one of the authors of the report, said: "The Columba Declaration recognises the strong partnership that already exists and will help encourage and support new initiatives.

"We believe that approval of the Columba Declaration by our two churches will represent a significant step in the long history of their relationship, one that affirms the place we have come to and opens up new possibilities for the future."

What the declaration sets out

In a joint statement prefacing the report, joint study group co-chairs Rev Dr John McPake and Rt Rev Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester write:

"Our hope is that joint affirmation by our two churches of the Columba Declaration would:
- Affirm and strengthen our relationship at a time when it is likely to be particularly critical in the life of the United Kingdom;
- Provide an effective framework for coordinating present partnership activities and for fostering new initiatives;
- Enable us to speak and act together more effectively in the face of the missionary challenges of our generation."

The governing bodies of both churches will need to approve the report before it becomes official.

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