For over 40 years the Twinnage Scheme has enabled the St Vincent de Paul Society in developing countries to thrive and grow, strengthened by the spiritual, financial and moral support the members have received. What is a very small sum of money for a Conference in England & Wales can make a vast difference in a poor country, where a poor person may earn about 20 pence per day (if they are fortunate); just enough for one day’s food.
Links with India, Sudan, Romania Grenada, and Guyana are strong. Each of these countries has its own unique problems and the Twinnage scheme is tailored to each so that we can offer the best help within the resources available. The Society in each country shares the same Spirit that guides us in our work for the poor and each country benefits from the encouragement that Twinnage offers.
What is Twinnage?
Twinnage means a link between one SVP Conference and another. At present this involves a link between Conferences in different countries, bringing to life the fact that we are all Brothers & Sisters as members of the St Vincent de Paul Society.
The St Vincent de Paul Society was established to help Christians act on their need to serve and help their neighbour. Jesus told us how we would be judged: “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink; was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.”
(Mt 25: 35-36)
Every Conference member follows this when they make a visit or carry out other tasks in the name of The Society. Twinnage enables each member to extend this service beyond the confines of their own community.
What does it involve ?
There are always THREE parts to a successful Twinning:
– The need for a prayerful and spiritually based link: It is important that the members of the Twin Conference and those they work to support are prayed for regularly. This will include prayers at every Conference meeting, but can include other prayer and most especially having a Mass offered for the Twin Conference. There may also be times when specific events at the Twin Conference call for some form of extra or special prayer.
– The need for real contact:
Meaningful prayer and sharing cannot take place without personal knowledge of the Twin. So it is vital to send letters (or e-mails if available) regularly (and at least twice a year) to make contact, share information, learn from each other. It is also important that messages received are shared with all members of the Conference so that every member is involved and feels part of the world-wide Vincentian family.
– There will be a need to offer financial support
This may be by some regular commitment to send financial support to help the regular activities of the Twin and is most likely if the Twin is in an area suffering from financial hardship or in a developing country. More specific support, often over a defined period, to support a particular work or project being proposed by the Twin.
Within the SVP in England & Wales the responsibility for maintaining support for our friends in our twinned countries rests with the National Twinnage Committee. The members of the committee include:
National Twinnage Organiser – Terry Brown
India – Terry Brown
Grenada – Stephen Hogg
Guyana – John Wild
Romania – Mary Abel
Sudan – Ian Mawdsley
Projects – Vincent Naylor
Indian Students Sponsorship – David Wiles
Spiritual Advisor – Rev Tim Murrill
Board Member – Ian Mawdsley
Gift Aid Co-ordinator & Archivist – David Wiles