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to Bishop David's blog. Here you can find news, information, articles and pictures about the Church of England Diocese in Europe. We have over 300 congregations or worship centres serving Anglican and (mostly) English-speaking people in Europe, Morocco, Turkey, Russia and some central Asian countries.


For official diocesan information please click the diocesan logo on the right.



Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Prayer for Greece

Photo by Philly boy92, via Wikimedia Commons
Europe is the world's richest continent. Yet we in Europe cannot seem to find a creative way to assist the struggling members of our own family in their time of need. The policies of our institutions, as well as the prescriptions of the IMF seem, inadvertently, to be punishing the entire population of a country. I speak, of course, of Greece.

Yes, it seems clear that Greece cannot pay its debts. Yes, it was likely that in the past Greek governments were not entirely transparent about their financial situation. Yes, there was a huge degree of overspending when there was little in the coffers but borrowed money anyway. Yes, there was likely no culture or consistent enforcement of tax collection. A litany of mistakes could go on.

But it was not the hard-hit pensioners and workers (those that still have jobs) that negotiated huge bailout loans, for which there now seems to be a ruthless demand for repayment. Our priests, lay ministers and parishioners of our Anglican Churches in Greece certainly do not report that the people benefited from the loans. It is likely that the bulk of these funds were sent out of the country right away to pay off other creditors. On the other hand, austerity has increased the suffering of the people.

I am not an economist, and have a very limited understanding of all these things. I do recall that both economic prosperity AND social justice were central pillars of the EU vision. But it is not as an economist, merely as a pastor and bishop in this diocese that I urge us all to pray for those in the Greek government, the EU institutions, the European Central Bank and the IMF. There is no shortage of great minds, or economic and technical expertise, surely! Have we tried a creative, even a risky solution - perhaps one that has never been tried before for fear of overturning global economic principles? I can't help thinking about the NRSV translation of the Lord's prayer in St Matthew 6.12: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

Churches, especially the Orthodox Church, with whom we Anglicans in our small way seek to work alongside, have limited resources to respond to the scale of need. Let us in this Diocese continue to pray for our sisters and brothers in Greece, and for the work of all volunteers, clergy and lay ministers who are seeking to respond to those whose lives have been so seriously impacted by the measures imposed. Let us pray earnestly for a just and fair solution that does not cause even greater hardship.
God of all the world, give us wisdom in troubled economic times. May we never forget the true victims of financial crisis: those who go to bed hungry, those in utter despair. Strengthen all those who seek to bring your comfort and support to those in any need. Lead us all towards a fairer and more just world. And may your Kingdom come. 
The Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, Chaplain of Greater Athens

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Charlotte Sullivan ordained deacon in Limeuil

St Catherine's Church

On Sunday 28 June, in the ancient parish church of St Catherine on a hilltop in the remote village of Limeuil in the Dordogne, over 150 people gathered for a historic and moving service, the ordination of Charlotte Sullivan to the diaconate.

The church is not easily accessible by car, and there is virtually no parkng at the top, so a shuttle service ferried parishioners from the Anglican Chaplaincy of Aquitaine from the bottom of the hill to fill the church to overflow. Several local French people from the village attended, including the Mayor and his wife, and the former Mayor and his wife. St Catherine's Church has been given over for Church of England sole use by kind agreement of the Mayor and the local Bishop.

Charlotte is presented by the Archdeacon of France and the Director of Ordinands
8 of the priests who serve the parish attended, as well as 4 of the parish Readers. This was virtually the last official function of the Chaplain of Aquitaine, the Revd Dr Paul Vrolijk, who is shortly to move to Holy Trinity Brussels.

Also present with a major part to play were the Archdeacon of France, the Venerable Ian Naylor, and the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, who officially presented Charlotte to me for ordination. The deacon of the rite and preacher was my own chaplain, Deacon Frances Hiller, which was most fitting, as Charlotte is a "distinctive" or permanent deacon, like Frances, and is not simply in transition to the order of priest.

In fact, Charlotte's call to the diaconate is strong and clear, despite not having many models of this ministry to observe, and despite some mild pressure on her to consider priesthood. Her own faith is based on humble service; she has a particularly strong sense of reliance on God, and a deep calling to be alongside those who are marginalised, those in pain and distress, and those on the edges or even beyond the Church's reach. The number of distinctive deacons in the Diocese in Europe is now at 6 with two more in training.

Deacon Frances reading the Gospel

Charlotte hears the acclaim of the people, assenting to her ordination
Charlotte is very well known in this local Church having come to faith there many years ago, and was confirmed there. It is not surprising then, that there were loud shouts of ‘We will’ as I asked the congregation if they were in accord with Charlotte’s wish to be a deacon and if they would support her. The response was strong and moving!

Canon Gulliford leads the singing of the ordination litany
The Revd Dr Paul Vrolijk exhanges the peace with Deacon Charlotte

The choir under the direction of Nasrine Talog-Davies led the beautiful music of the liturgy, and were joined by flautist Clare Monceret. The music continued after the service when, at a celebratory lunch, at Charlotte's, a Jazz Band played for our entertainment. Charlotte's late husband Kevin, who died just over a year ago, was a cornerstone of that Jazz Band, so many felt his own presence at the celebration through the music.



Charlotte with her family

Deacon Charlotte thanks the Jazz Band
Deacon Charlotte, I am sure, is also the first person to be ordained in the diocese in red "sneakers" or "trainers". Red for the Holy Spirit, of course, and the style of shoe in keeping with her active ministry!

Friday, 26 June 2015

St Ursula's Berne squeezes in double the usual capacity for a service of Baptism and Confirmation


Anglican worship in Berne, the Swiss capital, dates back to about 1832. The present church building St Ursula's was built in 1906. It holds 100 comfortably, but on Sunday 21 June, over 200 squeezed in (and spilt outside) for a festive service of Christian initiation. It certainly does not feel like the Church of England in Europe is on the decline!

Candidates for Holy Baptism an Confirmation from Berne were joined by others from Christ Church Lausanne and the Anglican Church in Neuchâtel.


The chaplain of St Ursula's is the Venerable Peter Potter, who is also the Archdeacon of Switzerland and Acting Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe. He is assisted by the Revd Linda Bissig. The Revd Adele Kelham accompanied her candidates from her two Churches in Lausanne and Neuchâtel.

A moving part of the confirmation rite itself was when each sponsor presented their candidate to me, mentioning a couple of biographical details. It is humbling to take part of the lives of such interesting and beautiful people!


As is typical of our parishes in Europe, the candidates came from backgrounds in 4 continents. I had great conversations with people from Kenya, Nairobi, Zimbabwe, Iran, Sri Lanka, the USA, and Canada, not to mention Switzerland.

St Ursula's clearly enjoys their fellowship meals. Groups of families and friends gathered for a multicultural feast in the gardens around the church as well as in the parish hall.



Monday, 22 June 2015

French Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee launches its work on Daily Prayer

French ARC and other leaders of the Anglican and RC Churches at Evensong at the French Bishops' Conference Chapel
The members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee of France (French ARC) presented the fruit of their work of the past five years last Wednesday 17 June, when they launched their study of the Daily Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.

The document, available in both French and English, is entitled “O Lord, open our lips” or “Seigneur, ouvre nos lèvres”. It points out the convergence between the Anglican and Roman Catholic liturgies for the daily office, and promotes common prayer between communities of both traditions. (There are over 80 Anglican congregations in France, served by about 35 priests. Many of these congregations use Roman Catholic buildings for their services). A range of practical suggestions are offered in the document to encourage a rediscovery of this common tradition and to how such common prayer can bring Anglicans and Roman Catholics in France even closer in our ministry and witness.

French ARC is chaired by the Revd Canon Matthew Harrison of St George’s Paris, and Archbishop Robert Le Gall, Archbishop of Toulouse.

Canon Matthew Harrison introduces the work of French ARC at the launch
At the launch it was noted that, although there is a similar obligation on the clergy of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church to pray the daily office, the services of Mattins or Morning Prayer and Evensong or Evening Prayer is much better known among Anglican laity than the equivalent Lauds or Vespers among the laity of that Church.

Increasingly there are Roman Catholic parishes in France where weekly eucharistic worship is not possible due to a shortage of priests. In an Anglican context it would be quite normal in such a circumstance for a lay minister to lead a service of morning or evening prayer. It was noted that thanks to our common tradition, many Catholic laity may be able to rediscover a liturgical practice, which is certainly not absent from their tradition, but from which another ecclesial family - the Anglican Communion - draws more life.

It was also noted that even in an increasingly secularised Europe, cathedral style celebration of Evening Prayer – Evensong – are alive and flourishing in English cathedrals and major parish churches, despite being a very ancient and traditional form of prayer. The committee noted that this expression of liturgy, deeply rooted in our common heritage, may be saying something important about our evangelisation strategy.

Canon Debbie Flach, a member of French ARC, points out some features of the document
Significantly the French version of Seigneur, ouvre nos lèvres has been published by the official documentation service of the French Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

To conclude the launch of the document a service of Anglican Evensong was celebrated in the chapel of the RC Bishops’ Conference, sung by the choir of St George’s Church, Paris.

Copies of the report in English are available from St George's Paris. French copies can be obtained from the office of the French Catholic Bishops' Conference.



Thursday, 18 June 2015

Pastoral care by Athens Chaplaincy mentioned in new autobiography


Extradited is a memoir written by Andrew Symeou who was extradited to Greece from UK in 2009 on a murder charge dating back to an incident Andrew was not connected with in 2007 on a Greek island, where another young man sadly lost his life. Andrew spent a gruelling two years in detention and on bail in Greece where he was lovingly supported by his family and friends.

This true story has a connection to the pastoral work of our diocese: the Athens Chaplaincy, and particularly Reader Christine Saccali, were involved in providing on-going pastoral care to Andrew.

He was finally acquitted in 2011. Christine Saccali says, "He is a remarkably courageous individual who has sought not to be embittered by his dreadful experience at the hands of the law. He has written his story in order to prevent anyone else suffering the same miscarriage of justice".

In Extradited special mention is made of our Athens Chaplaincy and the pastoral work of its priest and Reader.

Athens Chaplain Canon Malcolm Bradshaw and Reader Christine Saccali
As a result of this case “The Symeou Clause” added to legislation in 2014 reforms the European arrest warrant by barring extradition where no decision has been taken by the issuing state to try the requested individual.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Lambeth Declaration on Climate Change


Faith leaders in Britain and Ireland have have pledged to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change in a new declaration warning of the challenges facing the world over global warming. They released today a declaration on climate change which I post below.

Today is also the eve, of course, of a much anticipated Papal Encyclical on this subject which will be published tomorrow, 18 June. The Papal Encyclical is entitled Laudato Sii, or “Praised be”, from words used by St Francis of Assisi in a canticle in which he praises "Brother Son","Sister Moon", "Brother Wind" and "Sister Water".

The canticle can be found in our Church of England Common Worship: Daily Prayer as canticle 84 on page 641. Perhaps it could be prayed daily between now and the Climate Summit in Paris in December. Many may also know a hymn version "All Creatures of Our God and King".

The text of the Lambeth Declaration is below:

____________________________________________________________________

Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change

As leaders of the faith communities we recognise the urgent need for action on climate change.

From the perspective of our different faiths we see the earth as a beautiful gift. We are all called to care for the earth and have a responsibility to live creatively and sustainably in a world of finite resources.

Climate change is already disproportionately affecting the poorest in the world. The demands of justice as well as of creation require the nations of the world urgently to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 degrees C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun. We have a responsibility to act now, for ourselves, our neighbours and for future generations.

The scale of change needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy is considerable and the task urgent. We need to apply the best of our intellectual, economic and political resources. Spirituality is a powerful agent of change. Faith has a crucial role to play in resourcing both individual and collective change.

We call on our faith communities to:

  • Recognise the urgency of the tasks involved in making the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Develop the spiritual and theological resources that will strengthen us individually and together in our care of the earth, each other and future generations.
  • Encourage and pray for those engaged in the intellectual, economic, political and spiritual effort needed to address this crisis.
  • Work with our communities and partners in the UK and internationally to mitigate the effects of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world;
  • Build on the examples of local and international action to live and to work together sustainably,
  • Redouble our efforts to reduce emissions that result from our own institutional and individual activities.

As representatives of the vast numbers of people of faith across the globe we urge our Government to use their influence to achieve a legally-binding commitment at the international Climate Change talks in Paris, and with the continuing programme beyond.  Through our various traditions we bring our prayers for the success of the negotiations.

We call with humility, with a determination enlivened by our faith and with awareness of the need for courage, justice and hope.  We are faced with a huge challenge. But we are hopeful that the necessary changes can be made - for the sake of all who share this world today - and those who will share it tomorrow.

Signatories to the Lambeth Declaration 2015 include:

Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Rt Revd Dr Joe Aldred, Acting General Secretary, Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations, Churches Together in England
Rt Revd John Arnold on behalf of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Rt Revd Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston
Most Revd David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Most Revd Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh
Gauri Das, ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Bhaktivedanta Manor
Mrs Gill Dascombe, Vice President of the Methodist Conference
Rt Revd John Davies, Church and Society for the Church in Wales
Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
Revd David Grosch-Miller, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Revd Torbjorn Holt, Chairman, on behalf of the Trustees of the Council of Lutheran Churches
Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and lead bishop for the Environment
Revd Kenneth Howcroft, President of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
Rt Revd James Jones, former Bishop of Liverpool
Mr James Laing, on behalf of the Trustees of the Council of Lutheran Churches
Rt Revd Martin Lind, Lutheran Church in Great Britain
Rt Revd Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius, The Mar Thoma Church, New York
Mervyn McCullagh, Executive Officer, Irish Council of Churches
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Ibrahim Mogra, Shia President of the Christian Muslim Forum
Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
Revd John Proctor, General Secretary, The United Reformed Church
Ven B Seelawimala, Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain
Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Indarjit Singh, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak
Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley
Revd Dr Donald Watts, Irish Council of Churches
Vivian Wineman, Co-Chair of the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg Masorti


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Licensed Lay Ministers at Diocesan Synod gather for an update and planning for the future

Readers with Senior Tutor, the Revd Elaine Labourel (3rd from right) and Director of Training Canon Ulla Monberg (right)
At the diocesan synod in Cologne last week an important "fringe" meeting was held for the Readers who are synod members. Readers (also known as Licensed Lay Ministers) are a vital part of the ministry team of our diocese. As lay theologians and trained preachers, they lead worship, preach and teach the faith, in many of our over 300 congregations.

Reader Angela Mirani, who is based in St John the  Baptist Church, Varese, Italy, now represents this diocese on the Central Readers' Council of the Church of England, in its executive committee. It is good that the Diocese in Europe is represented at this strategic level in the body which seeks to support and serve the over 10,000 Licensed Lay Ministers in the Church of England. Angela reported to the Readers at the Synod on the latest developments in Reader Ministry in the Church of England, including plans to celebrate 150 years of this ministry in 2016.

A small group has formed which will begin the planning for a diocesan-wide conference for Readers towards the end of 2016.

Angela (left) reports on the Central Readers' Council while Reader Madeleine Holmes takes notes

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Dr Ursula Glieneke of Costa Brava, artist and theologian

Dr Ursula Glieneke is a postulant for holy orders in this diocese, and a member of one of our newer parishes, Costa Brava. A truly international person, typical of our diocese, Ursula was born in Latvia and has lived in Germany, Norway, Ireland before her current residence in Spain.

Besides being a theologian, Ursula is also an artist. She has a current exhibition in Germany, in the City Church in Bad Windungen, entitled "Listening to Fragility".

On the day after the opening of the exhibition in the Bad Wildungen Church, there was a particularly moving encounter at a service at which Ursula was taking part, as she talked about vulnerability and fragility to the congregation which included many who were confirmed there in 1945 and were celebrating their confirmation anniversary that day.

Ursula sees her art as a way to convey her Christian faith in a contemporary world. The themes of her art range from the environment, inter-religious dialogue, psychology and theology.

Ursula with her husband Michael and parish priest Anne Jenkins
Back in her home parish of Costa Brava, Ursula keeps busy working alongside her parish priest the Revd Anne Jenkins, on a variety of duties including preaching, leading meditations and Bible study, worship planning, and youth group meetings.

Some of her art on exhibit in Bad Windungen is below






Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Conference of European Churches statement on migrants



The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has just issued a press release on the situation of migrants seeking to reach Europe. I am posting the full release below. There are some requests of the Churches in particular which I have emboldened. 21 June is a day recommended for us to focus our prayers in particular.

The CEC is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959.

________________________________________________________________________

Press Release No: 15/26, Strasbourg, 3 June 2015

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13: 2)

Statement on external borders of the EU especially the Mediterranean

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) expresses its deep concern about the repeated loss of life in the Mediterranean. CEC deplores that for over two decades tens of thousands of migrants have drowned in their attempts to reach safety or find a more dignified life in Europe.

Conflicts on the doorsteps of Europe have led to ever more migrants fleeing within and beyond their region. Many are trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy or Malta, others climb barbed wire border fences in Ceuta in Melilla or cross to the Greek Aegean islands or Cyprus. Less known are flight routes across Eastern external borders of Europe, but observations from the field suggest that human suffering and death might also be a reality here.

Smugglers are able to carry out their shameful lucrative business thanks to European migration policies. These policies, make it practically impossible to come legally to Europe even for those in the greatest need of protection.

Political reactions to the crisis have often focussed on stopping people rather than prioritising rescue of life.

Using military means to stop irregular migration is presented as a priority in EU documents. Little has been proposed by policy makers to allow for regular and safe migration.. Reception and welcoming of those who arrive in Europe is still a task left to a few European states.

At the same time churches and civil society organisations have in many places mobilised remarkable support for those arriving on European shores. They are extending welcome on the island of Lampedusa, giving legal advice on Greek islands, offer church sanctuary in Germany or housing in Sweden, and in many places shelter those having survived dangerous journeys.

CEC recognises that ending the unacceptable and shameful situation of deaths at EU borders will require a multifaceted response and include short-and long-term measures. The most desirable situation would be that no one is forced to leave their home country.

CEC therefore wishes to reiterate its message of December 2014 (http://www.ceceurope.org/index.php?id=1774) on the situation in the Middle East and commends the peace-building efforts undertaken in the region.  CEC also welcomes further efforts which would reduce harmful effect of EU policies on arms or on trade, for livelihoods in other regions of the world.

CEC is however mindful that seeking protection in another country or even another part of the world will be a necessity for many people for the foreseeable future. CEC therefore urges:

Churches in Europe:

  • To continue to pray for those who flee conflict, war and destruction 
  • To commemorate those who have lost their lives on their way to Europe and use material developed for the annual day of commemoration proposed by CEC and CCME for 21 June 2015 
  • To continue to work on addressing the root causes of forced displacement 
  • To build up capacity to welcome refugees.  We commend the examples given by churches in the Mediterranean and elsewhere 
  • To provide places where fears about the arrival of strangers can be discussed and constructive ways of living together can be found 
  • To cooperate in changing policies in the EU and associated statesfrom migration deterrence to those putting the human at the heart of migration policies. This could happen in part by cooperating with CCME in the “safe passage” project 
  • To address national governments and responsible authorities in EU member states in order to support such human centred migration policies.

European institutions: 
  • To develop and adequately finance fully fledge search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean, carried out by qualified specialised staff
  • To refrain from militarising European migration policy including through plans to bombard boats potentially used by smugglers
  • To put in place policies which enable safe and legal pathways into Europe including more resettlement places, issuing  of humanitarian visas, lifting of visa requirements for persons fleeing from conflict zones (e.g., Syria or Eritrea), and easier family reunification for persons in need of international protection or humanitarian admission
  • To support efforts of countries in the Middle East and other conflict regions as well as UNHCR to adequately support persons seeking international protection
  • To establish a system of solidarity between EU member states for the hosting of asylum applicants and refugees, which takes into consideration the wishes of asylum applicants and refugees
  • To refrain from efforts to put the responsibility of for the protection of refugees destined for Europe on non-EU countries
  • To advance plans for an accessible and known system of legal migration in countries of origin, thereby providing viable and humane alternatives to smuggling
Conference of European Churches


 


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council in Zurich


The Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council (AOCICC) is the official instrument which serves the relationship of full communion between Anglican and Old Catholic Churches. Its most recent meetings concluded last week, in Zurich. The hosts of this round of meetings was the Old Catholic Augustinerkirche in that city. The priest of the Augustinerkirche is the Old Catholic Co-Secretary of the Council, the Revd Lars Simpson.

I have been privileged to be a member of this body since helping to establish it, just after the Lambeth Conference of 1998.

During the course of the meeting, services were held both at St Andrew's Anglican Church, and the Old Catholic Augustinerkirche.

Bishop Michael Burrows preaches at St Andrew's Anglican Church


The (Old Catholic) Augustinerkirche
The communiqué from the meeting is below:

_____________________________________________________________________________

Zurich, Switzerland, 30 May 2015

The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) met in Zurich, Switzerland, from 26 to 30 May 2015. The host of this meeting was the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland / Christkatholische Kirche der Schweiz. This was the third meeting of the Council under its current mandate.

The work of this meeting included:
Reflecting on the nature and meaning of our communion
Updating each other about developments within each Communion
Briefing each other about developments in the bilateral and multilateral ecumenical relationship in which both Communion are engaged
Finalising the text of a booklet, Anglicans and Old Catholics Together in Europe, which introduces the faithful of both Communions to AOCICC’s 2011 publication, Belonging Together in Europe—a joint statement on aspects of ecclesiology and mission http://bit.ly/1FJSvle
Planning an Anglican-Old Catholic Youth Pilgrimage in 2017 to Echternach, Luxembourg, the site of the shrine of St Willibrord
Designing a survey which will map existing cooperation between Anglicans and Old Catholics in specific locations
Considering how to develop concrete proposals for the common mission of the Anglican and Old Catholic Churches on the European continent
Preparing for the Council’s meeting with Archbishop Joris Vercammen (Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches), Bishop Robert Innes (Church of England, Diocese in Europe), and Bishop Pierre Whalon (The Episcopal Church, Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe) in 2016

A significant feature of the 2015 meeting of the Council was its intentional encounters with local church communities. The members of the Council visited St Andrew’s Church (Anglican), the Augustinerkirche and the Christuskirche (Old Catholic), as well as the Grossmuenster and the Fraumuenster (Reformed). The Council met cantonal church leaders at an ecumenical dinner. The Council engaged with the Bishop of the Swiss Old Catholic Church, Dr Harald Rein, in a lively dialogue on his vision of deepening the communion between Old Catholics and Anglicans in the local context of Switzerland – a discussion in which the Anglican Archdeacon of Switzerland, the Venerable Peter Potter, participated.

The Council prayed the Daily Office together according to the Anglican and Old Catholic traditions, engaged in Bible study, and celebrated the Eucharist together in St Andrew’s Church and the Augustinerkirche along with members of the local congregations.

The Council is grateful to the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland and especially to the Parish of Zurich for its generous hospitality and use of its parish centre. It particularly records its appreciation to the Revd Lars Simpson.

The Council will meet again in Belgium, 7–11 June 2016, hosted by the Anglican Communion.

For further information, please contact the Revd Lars Simpson (lars.simpson@christkath.ch) or Canon John Gibaut at the Anglican Communion Office (john.gibaut@anglicancommunion.org)

Websites: www.utrechterunion.org  and www.anglicancommunion.org


Members of the Council:

Anglicans
The Right Revd Michael Burrows, Co-chair
The Revd Jennifer Adams-Massmann
The Right Revd David Hamid
Mrs Jennifer Knudsen
The Revd Tony Litwinski

The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, Co-secretary
The Revd Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office

Old Catholics
The Right Revd Dr Dirk Jan Schoon, Co-chair
The Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis
The Revd Dr Heinz Lederleitner
The Revd Prof Dr David Holeton (unable to attend)
The Revd Lars Simpson, Co-Secretary

The Council at work

Co-chairmen Bishops Dick Schoon and Michael Burrows taking a stretch from the meetings

Monday, 1 June 2015

St George's Paris - an oasis of prayer and a caring community


St George's is one of two Church of England congregations in central Paris. (There are another 4 in the Paris suburbs). St George's is just a short walk from the busy and frenetic Arc de Triomphe, but in the words of its website the church seeks, "in the very heart of this busy city, to be a place of the holy, a place of silence and of prayer". Visitors are made to feel very welcome in the community, and, it is hoped, enabled to experience "something of the wonder and loving mystery of our God, and may feel drawn gently into His sacred presence".

The Chaplain is the Revd Canon Matthew Harrison, and he is assisted by the Revd Andrew Bigg. Fr Matthew also has a major ecumenical role on behalf of the Diocese. I have appointed him the "Ecumenical Delegate" for France, which involves many duties with the French Council of Churches, and very importantly, as Co-Chairman of the French Anglican-Roman Catholic Joint Committee.


The main Sunday Sung Eucharist is a joyful occasion, and the Feast of Pentecost was no exception. A young member of the parish was baptised and confirmed, the choir and organ were in fine form, and three languages were used in the liturgy: English, French and Malgache.

As part of the welcome after mass, coffee or a glass of wine is available. Parish lunches are very popular events and help to build the community spirit. After the Pentecost mass over 40 stayed for a delicious 3 course meal, prepared by Ginette, a parishioner from Seychelles.


Ginette, who makes sure the parishioners are well fed!


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Signs of growth and much joy in Costa Almería and Costa Cálida


It is quite often in our parish of Costa Almería and Costa Cálida, that attendance at the Sunday Eucharist in San Pascual Church near the town of Mojácar has to spill out onto the patio outside the Church. (Thankfully in this part of Spain, weather is usually reliable). On the Sunday after Ascension, during my parish visit, this was also the case.


Two members of the congregation were confirmed in a joyful service. The singing is particularly splendid and enthusiastic in the parish, no doubt due to the fact that the priest, the Revd Pauline Williams is from Wales! The hospitality after the service is also quite splendid.







Pauline is assisted by Honorary Asst Priest Canon Alan Bennett, Reader Duncan Burr, Church Army Captain Edwin Bates, and some Congregational Worship Leaders. It is a growing parish which presently has 4 worship centres. Additional vocations to Reader ministry are being discerned. At some point, it is clear that an extra priest may be needed as well.

During my visit I was also able to induct the newly elected Churchwardens and raise a glass of Cava to toast our confirmands.

Churchwardens Ann Marshall and Pam Carter
The parish website is here.