Europe

The Church of Scotland shares much of its history with the reformed churches of Europe. Throughout the years since the Reformation we have shared ideas, preachers, aspirations and difficulties together. The 21stcentury brings a whole host of new challenges that we all must face together as churches in Europe and the World Mission Council is dedicated to walking alongside, learning from and working with our European partners individually as well as in European forums such as the Conference of European Churches.

Belgium

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Partner Church

  • United Protestant Church in Belgium (EPUB)

Partnership History

  • The church traces its history back to the Reformation which had a great influence in Belgium; however, it struggled to develop due to political forces and the counter Reformation
  • The church found the freedom to develop only after the independence of Belgium in 1830 and new churches were added due to the evangelisation by Reformed churches in Switzerland, France and the Netherlands
  • From 1962 onwards, the churches started to come together and this resulted in the formation of UPCB in 1979
  • It benefits from close ties with protestant churches in Europe, including the Church of Scotland

Czech Republic

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Partner Churches

  • Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren

Partnership History

  • The ECCB is one of the oldest united churches, bringing together Lutheran and Reformed in 1918
  • It exists in one of the most secular societies in the world with only 15% of the population being part of the Christian church and with little 'religious memory' due to the impact of years of Communist rule
  • The Church runs a few schools, and is now asking whether it is right to open more as a service to both church and society
  • Over the next 17 years the state will remove it's subsidy for ministerial payment, leaving the church responsible for its own finances, which is causing the church to rethink their approach to ministry

Twinnings and Projects

  • The 2013 Stamp Appeal supported an exciting eco-project in the village of Horni Krupa in the Czech-Moravian highlands
  • The Boys Brigade supported a camp in the Czech Republic as part of their World Mission Project in 2013
  • Congregational twinnings between Scotland and the Czech Republic

France

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Partner Church

  • United Protestant Church in France (Eglise Protestante unie de France –EPUF)

Partnership History

  • The newly born United Protestant Church in France (EPUF) came from a merger of the Reformed Church of France and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France
  • A new campaign has been launched looking towards the symbolic anniversary of the Reformation in 2017: 'Protester pour Dieu, protester pour l'homme', with the aim to support people and churches to express what they believe
  • The EPUF is also preparing a new confession of faith, and hopes to include some of the strongest and most relevant results from this grassroots interaction, as well as liaising with other churches for input

Hungary

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Partner Churches

  • The Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH)
  • Hungarian Reformed Church (HRC)

Partnership History

  • The Protestant Church in Hungary can trace its origins back to early in the Reformation
  • Today there are around 1,300 RCH congregations in 27 presbyteries
  • RCH understands itself as a 'border-crossing' community: crossing geographical and political borders in expressing church unity and communion
  • With the Hungarian-speaking churches in the Carpathian Basin (generally speaking, the territories Hungary lost to its neighbours after World War 1), it has set up the Hungarian Reformed Church (members are the Reformed Church in Hungary, Reformed Church in Romania, Reformed Christian Church in Slovakia, Reformed Church in Carpathian Ukraine, Reformed Christian Church in Serbia, Reformed Christian Church in Slovenia and Reformed Christian Church in Croatia)

Twinnings and Projects

  • Congregational twinnings between Scotland and Hungary

Italy

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Partner Churches

Partnership History

  • The Waldensian Church has its origins in the 12th century when a rich merchant, Valdes, decided to dedicate himself to the preaching of the gospel
  • They have a chequered history of freedom and oppression and it was only in 1848 that they were given real political and religious freedom in Italy
  • In 1975 the Waldensian and Methodist Churches merged in Italy, to become a united church although both retain their specific identities

Twinnings and Projects

  • Congregation twinning between Scotland and Italy

Netherlands

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Partner Churches

Partnership History

  • The PCN came into being in 2004, through the merger of two churches of the reformed (Calvinistic) tradition and one Lutheran church
  • In 1961, a group of 18 young theologians, all working in ministries on the frontiers of church and society, called on the synods to set out on a common journey
  • In 1986 the synods declared that they were in a 'state of union' and a new church order as adopted in 2003
  • At the national level there is total union and locally the congregations have the freedom to unite or to maintain their own specific traditions

Norway

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Partner Churches

Partnership History

  • Christianity came to Norway around 1000 AD, from the British Isles, Germany and Friesland
  • In Norway, about 76% of Norwegians are still members of the Church of Norway
  • Last year the Church of Norway was separated from the State, an action which has led the church to re-evaluate its role in society

Portugal

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Partner Churches

  • Portuguese Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Partnership History

  • The Presbyterian Church of Portugal can trace its history back to 1838 when a Scottish missionary and doctor opened a small hospital and school and began to preach the gospel in Funchal, Madeira. The first Presbyterian community in Portugal was founded here in 1845
  • Portugal is experiencing a major economic crisis which has caused poverty, unemployment and emigration and this situation has also affected the Portuguese Evangelical Presbyterian Church (IEPP)
  • The IEPP has two social solidarity foundations doing relevant social work recognised by Portuguese society

Sweden

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Partner Churches

  • Swedish Mission Covenant Church

Partnership History

  • The Uniting Church in Sweden is the recently formed denomination made up of the Mission Covenant Church in Sweden (Reformed), the Methodist Church in Sweden, the Swedish Baptist Church and the Salvation Army
  • In creating a common structure, ministry and mission, one of its key influences came from the Church Without Walls process of the Church of Scotland

Switzerland

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Partner Churches

Partnership History

  • The Protestant churches in Switzerland are products of the 16th century Reformation
  • Today the protestant Churches in Switzerland are experiencing both deterioration and renewal
  • The churches have just debated and accepted a text called "Vision at the Horizon 2020", which tries to underline the church we want to be, having accepted the fact that we can no longer be everywhere
  • The FEPS is using the Reformation Jubilee 2017 as a way to focus on the task of renewal
  • The FEPS is also working with all the cantonal churches to consider whether it is appropriate to move away from being a Federation to being one Swiss Protestant Church