A FORMAL link has been agreed between the Anglican Diocese of St Asaph in Wales and the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Helsinki in Finland.

The Partnership was signed by the Bishops of both dioceses during the visit of a Finnish delegation to North Wales this week

It will see spiritual, imaginative, sustainable, enriching and joyful links developed between the two Christian communities.

Sixteen people from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland have been in North Wales meeting counterparts in the Diocese of St Asaph and discussing partnership opportunities.

Later this month a group of eleven young people from across north-east and mid Wales will visit Finland on a young leaders’ programme.

In October, a group of young people from Helsinki will be visiting North Wales.

Next year, the Diocese of St Asaph will run a Confirmation Camp for older teenagers in Finland.

The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, who signed the agreement, said: “Christians the world over share the same faith, but we learn a great deal by understanding the different contexts in which disciples live out their faith.

"The Lutheran tradition in Finland has many things in common with our own history, but also throws much that we take for granted into sharp relief.

"I am delighted to live and grow and to learn as Christian disciples with our new Nordic partners.”

The Bishop of Helsinki, Teemu Laajasalo, his co-signatory, said: “This agreement is a reminder of the unity of the church of Christ. "We do the same work in different parts of Europe and we can learn, encourage and support each other to spread the gospel.

"Cooperation with St Asaph happens at many levels – between churches and mission areas, between bishops and most importantly, finding ways together to encourage growth across all our churches.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is the national church in the country. It is linked to the Church in Wales by the Porvoo Common Statement which establishes full communion between the British Anglican Churches and the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of northern Europe.

The Diocese of St Asaph is one of six dioceses in the Church in Wales, an independent Province of the Anglican Communion.