The New Church Partnership

The Summertown-Wolvercote Church Partnership, inaugurated in 2007, is the successor to the Wolvercote with Summertown Ecumenical Parish which was inaugurated 25 years earlier in 1982. In the intervening period the landscape of church relationships changed out of all recognition and much has been learnt, by our mistakes as well as by our successes.

The new partnership recognises the changed situation and builds on the experiences of the last quarter of a century. It offers us the possibility of renewed vision for the life and mission of Christ’s people for the years which lie ahead. We remember with thanksgiving the good experiences we have shared, we acknowledge too the strains and stresses which working together has sometimes caused, and we pledge ourselves to work together in the coming days. We acknowledge that in this new partnership we have had to let go of some of the things which people have valued over the past years, but we are also open to the new possibilities which the future holds, and we are especially glad to welcome our friends in Wolvercote Baptist Church as members of the new partnership.

The Covenant

At the Inaugural Service for the New Partnership the following declarations were made by representatives of each church:

  • We repent of all that is sinful in our past histories and present attitudes.
  • We rejoice in the riches of the traditions we have inherited and seek to share them more fully with one another in the unity which is the will and gift of God.
  • We seek a deepening of our communion with Christ and with one another.
  • We affirm our underlying unity in Christ and, through our action and pilgrimage together, we aspire to make that underlying unity more visible to the world.
  • We therefore make this commitment to God and to each other.

The Statement

The following statement was signed by representatives of the partner congregations and of the wider church:

We commit ourselves and our churches –

  • To continue to co-operate with each other, in search of the unity for which Christ prayed and in common evangelism and service to the world.
  • To engage in joint worship, prayer and study, so that we may know and value each other and seek God’s will for His people.
  • To work together where appropriate in pastoral, social and evangelistic outreach into our community.
  • To monitor progress and co-ordinate decision-making about existing and future joint activities and publicity through a quarterly meeting of a Partnership Enabling Group, comprising the ministers and two lay representatives appointed by and from each participating congregation.
  • To consult with the other churches over the appointment of new ministers as far as it is reasonably possible and consonant with denominational procedures.
  • To recognise each other’s Ministers and Eucharist, such that ministers may preside at the Eucharist in the church of another denomination.
  • To hold joint services of Confirmation and Reception into Membership.
  • To be known as the Summertown-Wolvercote Church Partnership.
  • To review this local covenant no longer than five years after it has been signed, with the help of one or more external facilitators.