A growing number of districts, circuits and churches are building twinning links with Methodist partner churches around the world.  Their aim is to share and learn in mission, understanding, culture and worship across Methodist communities – together.

What can we do to relate in twinning?

Here are some examples of what can be done in twinning:

Prayer - Plymouth and Exeter district have developed a formal link with the Diocese of Cuttack, Church of North India.  They have shared in mutual exchange of ideas and people.  During the Coronavirus outbreak this relationship has helped the district to focus in prayer.  This is a great example of the enrichment and sharing in prayer through twinning.  Read the prayer here.

Worship - The service below is shared, thanks to and with permission from Wilmslow Methodist Church.  They have used their connection to Chile to enrich their worship with reflections, pictures, songs, a message from their friends in Chile (10:05-12:49) and greetings in Spanish (16:48-17:48).  

The service below is shared with permission of the Isle of Man district who have an ongoing twinning partnership with the Methodist Church Sierra Leone. They have enriched their district/national church joint act of worship with greetings, songs, testimony and prayer from each partner. A wide range of voices contribute and the beginnings of their twinning relationship are remembered (18:04).

In both of these services the interaction is two way.  Could you use some of these ideas in a prepare worship with a twinning partner?  How could you connect across the world and be enriched?

Bible Study - sharing a study on the bible from different contexts can lead to fascinating new insights. Here is an example of a bible study prepared by the Methodist Church in Ireland districts and partners in Togo, Poland and Ghana. Some districts are organizing joint zoom sessions led by local preachers from different places, and in Togo the bible study is being broadcast on radio (in French).  

At its simplest a joint bible study can be organised online, between groups in the two places at a mutually agreed time. It usually works better if everyone is on their own individual computer, although this may not always be possible. It is important to agree on a leader for each session and that this leadership is mutually shared in a series of sessions. There are pitfalls to avoid and deeper connections that can be developed.  To approach an intercultural bible study, take the time to read through the twinning guidelines and look at the training available to make the experience as mutually enriching as possible. We also recommend the Just Scripture resources from Christian Aid, which has useful advice on engaging in bible study with people from different cultures. Get in touch with the Global Relationships team for more advice and support. 

Theology - similar to sharing bible study, you could reflect together using a book, article or creative medium (art, music, performance, etc.) as a starting point. The Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District have a long-standing twinning relationship with Rwanda - watch the short video below to see their District Chair, Rachel Parkinson, reflecting on a nativity scene painted especially for them by a Rwandan artist. 

Celebration - celebrating together enables people to share in joy and feel connected to one another. It could be life events, such as birthdays, baptisms or weddings. Or it could be church events, such as anniversaries, festivals or seasons. Taking time to simply celebrate the twinning relationships will also help people to ‘feel the love’ and learn from one another in fellowship. The East Anglia district has recently celebrated their new twinning relationship with the Harare West district – watch the video below for a short excerpt from the service of celebration.

Local Preachers - In the Methodist Church in Ireland, the South East Leinster Circuit sent an invitation to join a Celebration of Local Preachers to their partner in Togo on Zoom. In Togo, 37 lay preachers gathered and shared in the celebration and mutual support between preachers.

Visit - The Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District has been in partnership with the Free Methodist Church Rwanda since 2008. Groups of adults, youth & clergy have regularly visited Rwanda over the last 14 years. Twinning can help us to learn more about our faith together with our siblings in Rwanda (which is one of the ‘Methodist Way of Life commitments’). This partnership has seen friendships form, funds raised and churches and schools have been twinned. You can read the experience of their visit in May 2020 written by Rev Bev Boden, here.

The Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District is twinned with the Methodist Church in Peru and their District Chair, the Revd Helen Kirk, recently visited them at their annual Conference. Her reflection shares some of the challenges in setting up a new twinning relationships, whilst also celebrating the joys and privileges afforded. Pictured right is the Revd Liz Singleton of the Chester & Stoke-on-Trent District, with some of the delegates at the MC Peru Conference. 

How do I set up a twinning link?

If you are interested in developing a twinning link with a church or circuit in another country take a look at our new guidelines document below. The guidance takes you through a series of steps to support you in thinking through, developing and establishing a link that is mutually beneficial.

If you already have a link it would be great to hear how things are going and what has been shared and learnt in your efforts to understand and strengthen God’s mission around the world.

Guidelines - Our new twinning guidelines could help you on your journey, both in developing a new link but also perhaps invigorating an established one. Click here to download the document

Training - You can also prepare for your twinning relationship by watching some short films and questions here. Perhaps you could do this as part of a twinning leadership group or at your District Synod.

Contact us with questions, suggestions and updates: Global Relationships – gr.admin@methodistchurch.org.uk

If you are a church or circuit and are interested in establishing a twinning link but need help in finding a partner church, complete and return this expression of interest form and we will be in touch! If you are hoping for a district twinning link, please contact us on the email address above.