Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

New Co-Chairman for Porvoo Group

Monday 26th January 2004

On behalf of the Anglican Primates of the British Isles, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has confirmed the appointment of Bishop Martin Wharton of Newcastle as the new Anglican Co-Chairman of the Porvoo Contact Group, succeeding Archbishop John Neill of Dublin.

Together with the Lutheran Co-Chairman, Bishop Ragnar Persenius of Uppsala in Sweden, Bishop Martin will take the lead in coordinating the work of the Porvoo churches as they move even closer together in partnership and common mission, and build on the foundations laid in the first eight years of Porvoo.

Bishop Martin said that commitment to common mission between the Porvoo churches was already bearing fruit:

"We are learning a great deal from each other in our deepening relationship. The link between my own diocese of Newcastle and More in Norway has proved greatly enriching.

"I am looking forward to discovering more about the Porvoo Churches and working on behalf of the Anglican Churches in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to develop this important relationship."

The Porvoo Declaration was signed in 1996, after a series of talks on Church unity, by the Churches of England and Ireland, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church, together with the Churches Norway and Sweden, and the Evangelical-Lutheran Churches of Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Lithuania. This was an historic moment, as for the first time the Anglican Churches in Britain and Ireland moved into visible communion with other national Churches in Europe, in addition to the communion already existing with the Old Catholic Churches.

The churches covered by the Porvoo Agreement have a great deal in common: their history, liturgy, identity and their understanding of the Church's mission today are similar. They have committed themselves to share a common life in mission and service, to pray for and with one another, and to share resources - this has led to a rich and growing fellowship. At the international level, they agreed to establish a Contact Group to nurture their growth in communion and to co-ordinate the implementation of the Agreement.

Detailed information about the Porvoo churches is available on the Internet at

Back · Back to top