Im Oktober 2010 wurde das Partnerschaftsabkommen zwischen der Evangelischen Kirche A. und H.B. in Österreich (EKiÖ) und der Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) unterzeichnet, um die schon lange bestehende Partnerschaft zu erneuern und zu festigen. Dieses ist „Ausdruck des Bekenntnisses der Kirche zur Einheit und zur weltweiten Verbindung unterschiedlicher Kirchen“ (Ordnung für die Pfarrstelle „Kirchliche Partnerschaft“ §1 [A-3a]).
Die fünf Schwerpunkte der Partnerschaft sind:
- Teilen von Informationen
- Austausch von ökumenischen Mitarbeiter*innen
- gemeinsame Projekte
- eine ghanaische Gemeinde in Österreich
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Protestant Lutheran and Reformed Church in Austria (Evangelische Kirche A. und H.B. in Österreich)
1. In creating networks of people in Ghana and Austria, committed to the ideals of
partnership of all members of the Body of Christ,
– respecting and accepting each other’s identities and cultures,
– providing a common space
the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the Protestant Church in Austria
will cooperate and collaborate in the following areas:
a. Information Sharing
2. Both churches wish to promote and support the exchange of information, in all appropriate forms, concerning their respective situations and activities, with a view to better understand the contexts of their respective work, to foster and encourage networks, and to empower each other through worship and ministry.
3. Specifically, both churches agree that representatives of the respective head offices visit each other regularly, preferably biennially in order to share experiences, exchange information, discuss the results of evaluation reports, and to design future actions, either held in Ghana, Austria or alternately, in another country.
b. Ecumenical Co-worker
4. Both churches agree to establishing the position of a Ghanaian ecumenical co-worker in Austria, who must be an ordained minister, to strengthen and promote the partnership, as well as to share experiences and give testimony to the different traditions and varieties of Christian spirituality, whenever there is a demand in Ghana and an opportunity for employment in Austria.
5. The Presbyterian Church of Ghana will select the ecumenical co-worker with the assistance of a jury comprising of at least two former ecumenical co-workers in Austria giving consideration to the Protestant Church in Austria’s profile of qualification.
6. The Protestant Church in Austria will employ the ecumenical co-worker according to the regulations for ordained ministers in Austria and support his or her family.
7. All costs pertaining to the visa acquisition will be borne by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. The travel costs to and from Austria will be borne by the Protestant Church in Austria.
8. The ecumenical co-worker is assigned to a congregation or a branch of the church with exact local jurisdiction to experience Austrian tradition and Christian spirituality.
Furthermore, he or she will give lectures and hold workshops about Ghanaian tradition, offer religious education on Ghanaian spirituality, as well as participate in Church Services in congregations throughout Austria in accordance with the local minister.
The ecumenical co-worker will also be a board member of the Evangelical Association for World Mission (EAWM).
9. The duration of the ecumenical co-worker’s term of office will be limited to five years, with a possibility of an extension of one year, especially respecting the given family situation.
10. An annual report on the activities will be given to both churches by the ecumenical co-worker.
11. Both churches agree to an Austrian ecumenical co-worker in Ghana, who must also be an ordained minister, to strengthen and promote the partnership, as well as to share experiences and give testimony to the different traditions and varieties of Christian spirituality, whenever there is a demand in Austria as well as an opportunity for employment in Ghana.
12. The same regulations as those for the Ghanaian ecumenical co-worker above apply with a more flexible term of office; possibly less but not more than five years. All visa and travel related costs will be borne by the Protestant Church in Austria.
c. Schools, Education
13. Both churches wish to involve the educational institutions of all levels and in all fields connected to them in Ghana or in Austria in order to establish sustainable forms and projects of collaboration. They will promote and support, as much as they are able to, programmes facilitating youth, student and teacher exchanges, particularly providing exposure to cross-cultural education.
14. Specifically, cooperation will be welcomed in the forms of internships, practice periods, projects, consultations and visits of the respective laity, of youth organizations and of the educational institutions and authorities in both churches, particularly in theological seminaries, at university level and in vocational education, such as medical and paramedical training or the crafts and skills taught at the educational institutions of both partner churches.
15. For personnel exchanges that involve youth and students, the country initiating a specific programme or exchange will assume all local costs, as well as all travel costs and related expenses. If applicable the home institution will bear all costs of re-entering into the professional work at home. The possibility of individual agreements regarding the assumption of costs of a specific programme or exchange remains.
d. Joint Projects
16. As a rule, cooperation shall be based on projects and the usual forms of project management. The individual project agreements must include aims and measures of implementation, the duration of the project, the finances, the information from whichever source funds are acquired for the purpose, and their accounting and reporting, monitoring and evaluation. In principle, support should never perpetuate dependency but facilitate and contribute towards independent and sustainable activities. The Evangelical Association for World Mission (EAWM) is in this capacity the main agency.
e. Joint congregation in Austria
17. Both churches join efforts to establish and sustain a congregation in Austria in order to provide a spiritual home to members of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, if and when the prospects for a viable congregation are clearly positive.
18. It will be a congregation (”Personalgemeinde”) according to article 25 of the Constitution of the Protestant Church in Austria.
19. The congregation will be open to all who care to join in its religious services.
20. A special contract, required by Austrian law, will confirm and elaborate the concrete intentions of both churches when they establish a joint congregation.
21. The Partnership Agreement will be assessed and reviewed every five years, beginning with the day on which this agreement is signed by all partners and becomes effective. Both churches will jointly appoint a rapporteur or rapporteurs.
22. The Partnership Agreement will remain in force indefinitely unless a partner church intends to modify or terminate the agreement. In such cases, the intentions will be notified a year in advance. Both churches agree to consult each other without delay and to decide on the future of the partnership and the ongoing projects of cooperation.