The origin of our Swiss Old Catholic charity dates back to a resolution of the 87th National Synod 1961 in Zurich. The Rev. Arthur Moll spoke on the theme "Mission as a duty of the church". Subsequently, the National Synod passed a motion recommending the individual parishes to concentrate their attention to mission work in heathen countries. This work was to be financed by a collection on Holy Trinity Sunday, proceeds of which would be managed by the National Synod.
After intensive preparation, the 1972 National Synod in Rheinfelden, accepted the statutes of the "Central office for missionary work, development and emergency aid", with responsibility for raising funds, the use of the funds and financial reporting. In 1973, the first president, Rev. Franz Murbach, gave his first report. Of particular note was the decision by the Board of the National Synod to support the charity with CHF 5'000 and to assume all expenses of the charity (management, meeting and computer costs etc.). This latter decision guaranteed to parishes and individual supporters alike that all financial support flowed into the various projects without deduction of any administrative costs. This support was a major factor in the growth of our charity.
Early in the 1990's, the charity widened its ecumenical links and began to work with the Lenten Campaign of the Swiss Roman Catholic and Reformed churches (Fastenopfer and Brot für alle). Almost at the same time, the name of the charity was changed to "Partner sein. Charity of the Swiss Old Catholic church". The chosen new logo was a fish, cleft by a cross, on a round plate. The chosen colours were blue and turquoise.
1998 came further cooperation, this time with various charities of other Old Catholic churches in Europe. The idea being to increase efficiency by bundling resources. Since 2004, the association of the charities is known as the "Internationale Altkatholische Diakonie und Mission". Relief organisations from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are full members. The Old Catholic churches of the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland and France are associate members.
In 1998, the Rev. Franz Murbach, better known to the National Synod as “Catastrophe Franz”, retired as president of Partner sein. To assist the new president, the Rev. Christoph Schuler was appointed Project Leader and took responsibility for the various projects worldwide. At the same time, the statutes were revised and the fields of activity were redefined as "Mission, development aid and emergency relief". The fundamental decision was also taken that the Swiss Old Catholic church would continue to make payments to cover the running costs of Partner sein. Furthermore, it was confirmed that Partner sein is an institution within the Swiss Old Catholic church and would not be converted into an independent charitable foundation with more autonomy.
In the years 2014 and 2015, with the retirement of Rev. Christoph Schuler as Project Leader, various changes in the board were made and the workload placed on more shoulders. Today the board consists of 4 clergy and 5 lay members, one of whom is the Swiss Anglican Synod delegate. In addition, a Secretary to the Board, with a 10% pensum has been appointed.
At national and international level Partner sein is today the largest Old Catholic relief organisation. Approximately 35 projects in Africa and Asia for a total of over CHF 260'000 are supported annually. Even today, more than 95% of the monies received flow directly into these projects. On the income side, in addition to our regular partners, the Anglican parishes in Switzerland, we receive financial support from Solidarität Dritte Welt and from the Swiss Womens World Day of Prayer collection which are entrusted to us by the Association of Old Catholic Women. Partner sein is always grateful for legacies and contributions outside of the Lent period.