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.

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Spanish language confirmation in Southwark

A bit of a different experience for me last weekend. 

People across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and our Diocese are is in the midst of the official mourning period following the sad death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. However, in parish churches everywhere much of normal church life also continues, including in a Spanish speaking parish in the Diocese of Southwark, San Mateo where I was invited by the Bishop of Southwark to preside at baptism and confirmations last weekend. The candidates had waited close to two years as the visit was necessarily postponed due to the COVID pandemic. They came from Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay. 

It was a joyful celebration, and particularly good to be alongside the parish priest, Fr Hugo Adán, a citizen of Spain, whose candidacy for priesthood in the Church of England was handled through our Diocese in Europe.

¡Felicitaciones y bendiciones a los maravillosos candidatos!

Monday, 25 July 2022

The Anglican Lutheran Society Conference in Trondheim


Bishop Michael Ipgrave

The Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave opened the Anglican Lutheran Society Conference in Trondheim Norway today, and introduced the opening speaker, Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway, the Most Revd Olav Fyske Tveit. Bishop Olav both inspired us and challenged us in recounting his years of experience in the ecumenical movement, including being the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches of 10 years. 

Presiding Bishop Olav Fyske Tveit of the Church of Norway, 

The theme of the Conference is “A Pilgrimage Towards Hope” and we are blessed to have such a gathering of Christian leaders, pastors and laity, who are committed to our common pilgrimage as Anglicans and Lutherans world-wide, to manifest the unity which is Christ’s will for the Church.

The first day of the conference coincided with the feast of St James the Apostle, the patron of pilgrims. It is a tradition in the Nidaros (Trondheim) Cathedral to honour St James, one of the saints whose statues adorn the great west front of the Cathedral, with a wreath at the start of the pilgrim’s mass, at which our conference delegates received a warm welcome. A priest was raised up on a boom lift to bring the wreath to St Olav. Now that is a new definition of "high church". 

Trondheim is itself at the climax of an ancient pilgrimage route, being the final resting place of St Olav. But the pilgrim mass was not merely a commemoration of the past, but reminded today’s pilgrims (and all Christians are pilgrims through this life, surely) of our need to tread lightly on our beloved planet, with the breathtaking model of our precious planet, just behind the nave altar with the image of our crucified Lord.

Our own Diocese in Europe has a presence in Trondheim with a vibrant community, part of the Anglican Church in Norway. Present at the mass were several members of our Anglican community, together with their Senior Chaplain, the Revd Canon Joanna Udal, who is attending the conference.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

The mind of the Communion


Lambeth 1998 Bishops

In the last few days the bishops going to the Lambeth Conference received the first information about decisions that may be before us. “Calls” is the term used, for declarations and affirmations that the bishops will be asked to consider and vote on. The Calls are largely non-controversial and many of them are, in my view, very good statements related to our work in areas of evangelism, reconciliation, Christian unity, environment, sustainable development and safeguarding among others. One particular reference in a section entitled Human Dignity has attracted some attention. The bishops will be asked to affirm:

It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same gender marriage is not permissible. Lambeth Conference I.10 (1998) states that the “legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions” cannot be advised.

I am likely one of only a few bishops going to this year’s Lambeth Conference that was present in 1998. I was not a bishop then, but on the ACC staff as Director of Ecumenical Relations and Studies and thus involved as staff of Section IV which dealt with ecumenical relations. (In 1998 the 800 bishops were divided into four sections, roughly 200 in each, for the best part of 2 weeks deliberations.) I had the privilege of being part of the daily steering group meetings when we received reports on the progress of the section discussions. I recall Archbishop Njongonkulu, the then Primate of Southern Africa who headed up Section I which dealt with human sexuality (among many other topics), reporting towards the end of the 2 weeks that there would be no resolution from the section bishops on human sexuality, as they did not believe the Communion was ready to agree such a resolution at that time. He did say that they had prepared a report, however, which summarised the range of the discussion and the journey so far. Resolution I.10 did not originate from the bishops in the section where the discussion on human sexuality issues took place.

In light of the insertion of reference to I.10 in the Lambeth 2022 preparatory document which we have just received, it is perhaps useful to recall what the bishops in the section which discussed the matter in 1998 actually said. It is a conservative statement overall and can be found here: Section I.10 - Human Sexuality ( But it makes some important points as to where the bishops were at that time. Here is an extract (emphasis mine):

We must confess that we are not of one mind about homosexuality …

We have prayed, studied and discussed these issues, and we are unable to reach a common mind on the scriptural, theological, historical, and scientific questions which are raised. There is much that we do not yet understand …

The challenge to our Church is to maintain its unity while we seek, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to discern the way of Christ for the world today with respect to human sexuality. To do so will require sacrifice, trust and charity towards one another, remembering that ultimately the identity of each person is defined by Christ.

24 years ago the bishops honestly stated they were not of one mind. In 2022 can we reliably state what is the “mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole”?


Monday, 18 July 2022

Scripture, Stones, Spirituality and human encounter: the MES study-pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The MES (Ministry Experience Scheme) is a programme largely funded by the National Church which places young persons, 18-30, who may be exploring ordination into parochial settings to get a sense of life in parish ministry. The MES programme of this diocese is one of the most successful across the Church of England. It is headed by Dr Clare Amos, our Director of Discipleship, with support from Fr William Gulliford our Director of Ordinands.

Dr Amos at the Dome of the Rock

One part of our diocesan MES programme which has not been able to be realised for the past two and a half years due to COVID has been a study-pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Finally this year we were able to restore this trip and so 10 interns spent from 7 to 15 July, visiting the Biblical lands, accompanied by Dr Amos, Fr Gulliford, the Revd Carolyn Cooke from the chaplaincy of La Côte, and myself. We were further very pleased that an intern from a similar programme of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in Europe, who is serving in Emmanuel Church, Geneva, was able to join us.

Birthplace of Christ

The days of pilgrimage, prayer and study began followed to a degree the earthly life of our Lord,  beginning with Bethlehem, journeying through various points in Galilee and ending up in Jerusalem, where the events of the passion, death and resurrection occurred. There were conversations with Palestinian Christians, including the Anglican priest in Nazareth, Fr Nael Rahmoun and Dr Elias Deis, of the Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem, as well as with Debbie Weissmann, an Orthodox Jewish leader and member of the International Council of Christians and Jews. Our visit co-incided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, so we also were able to witness the devotion and the joy of the Muslim community as they prayed and celebrated this feast.

Dr Elias Daer at the Holy Land Trust

Fr Nael at Christ Church, Nazareth

Eid Prayers in Bethlehem

The Philip Usher Memorial Fund which focusses on the relations between Anglicans and the Orthodox East helped to finance the study-pilgrimage, so we took every opportunity to encounter the great Churches of the Christian East, Greek Orthodox, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian and Greek Catholic. We were received most warmly by His Most Holy Beatitude Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Greek Catholic (Melkite) Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Jules Zerey

With the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

We joined in the joyful Sabbath worship at Kehillat Yedidya Synagogue. We gathered to celebrate the Eucharist on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and in the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu. Finally on the morning of our departure, we met at Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of “Emmaus”, where we celebrated a mass with confirmations for three of the interns, when we felt once again the presence of the Risen Lord encouraging and equipping his disciples.

On the shore of the Sea of Galilee

St Peter in Gallicantu

Confirmations at Abu Ghosh

The whole visit was designed to enable archaeology, biblical history, the biblical texts themselves, the sweep of Christian Tradition and the present context to come together to build a rich, multi-faceted impression of the Holy Land which will surely stay with the interns for years to come.

Thanks to all the interns for their excellent and stimulating company and to Clare, Caroline and William for their wonderful care and leadership. 

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Fr Solomon Ike ordained priest in Madrid

"Is it your will that Solomon be ordained priest?" was the question posed to the congregation of St George's Madrid. "IT IS!" was the resounding answer from those present. Fr Solomon Ike was thus ordained a priest in Christ's Holy Catholic Church.  

I was assisted in the ordination by Archdeacon David Waller, Canon Ulla Monberg the Diocesan Director of Ministerial Development, Fr Ray Andrews the Diocesan Spirituality Advisor, Fr Paul Dean from the Chaplaincy of Costa Blanca, and of course Canon Medhat Sabry, the Chaplain of St George's and Solomon's training incumbent. Deacon Frances Hiller was the deacon for the ordination mass, and Reader Celia Paterson, the Diocesan Director of Reader Ministry, was on hand to assist in the liturgy.

Fr Ray had led Solomon's pre-ordination retreat and was the preacher at the ordination. Fr Solomon is is a native of Nigeria but has lived in Spain for many years and is a fluent Spanish speaker. In his sermon, Fr Ray recognised that Solomon is a "bi-vocational" or a worker-priest, who has a demanding secular job, where most of his time as a priest will be spent. Fr Solomon was urged to remember that his priesthood is about being, rather than doing, and that his very presence among his secular co-workers is an essential part of his ministry. He continues as Assistant Curate in St George's Madrid.

A joyful meal of African dishes followed the liturgy, with warm testimonials in three languages from Fr Solomon's family and esteemed members of the Nigerian Community in Madrid.

¡A muchos años, Padre Solomon!

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Malines Conversations in Madeira

In 1889 an English aristocrat, Viscount Halifax (Charles Lindley Wood) and a French Roman Catholic priest, Abbé Fernand Portal, met on the beautiful island of Madeira. A friendship began that led to the Malines Conversations of the 1920s which were the precursor of the modern bilateral dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, which now has two official commissions, ARCIC and IARCCUM. 

The Malines Conversations continue in a modern form today as a theological working group, supporting the official dialogues through exploring ways to address some vital points which may still hinder our journey towards the unity to which we are committed as Anglicans and Catholics. Last December we published Sorores in Spe an evaluation of Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo XIII's negative judgement on Anglican Orders dating from 1896. 

A recent session of the Malines Conversations were held in Madeira, returning to the place where one could say that the journey towards the restoration of full communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics began. It was in many ways a pilgrimage to the roots of our dialogue.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Funchal

Fr Thomas Pott, preaching at Holy Trinity Church

The Anglican Chaplain of Holy Trinity Funchal, the Revd Michael Jarman, and the Bishop of Funchal, Dom Nuno Brás da Silva Martins, both played their part in hosting the dialogue group. On Sunday 15 May, the Revd Fr Thomas Pott delivered the sermon at the Anglican Eucharist in Funchal, and Dom Nuno later in the week presided at an ecumenical service at which I preached, and hosted the group for a reception and dinner. Ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Madeira are very good indeed. It was wonderful that Fr Michael and his parishioners at Holy Trinity could host the group at their Sunday mass; it is quite likely that Viscount Halifax worshipped at Holy Trinity in the late 19th century.

Bishop Nuno (4th from left) with the Malines Conversations Group

The full communiqué from the meeting is below:




20TH MAY 2022

The postponed eighth international meeting of the Malines Conversations Group took place between Sunday 15th May and Thursday 19th May 2022. Initially proposed to take place in 2020, prior to the centenary celebrations of the Malines Conversations in 2021, the Group was delighted to meet in Madeira, commemorating the meeting of Viscount Halifax and Abbé Portal on the island in 1889/90. This encounter, and the subsequent friendship that developed, was foundational for the initial Malines Conversations and the subsequent international theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Under the patronage of The Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Williams of Oystermouth (former Archbishop of Canterbury) and His Eminence Cardinal Josef de Kezel (Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels), the Malines Conversations Group comprises Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians from seven different countries and meets with the encouragement and support of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Lambeth Palace. It includes members of both ARCIC and IARCCUM.

The Group was welcomed by the Bishop of Funchal, The Most Revd Nuno Bras da Silva Martins, who co-presided at a service of Ecumenical Vespers alongside The Right Reverend David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese in Europe. The Anglican Parish of Holy Trinity, Funchal, welcomed the group for a Sunday Eucharist, and was warmly hosted by Fr Michael Jarman and his parishioners.

In December 2021, the Group was delighted to publish Sorores in Spe, arguing for a reassessment of the negative judgement on Anglican Orders made by Pope Leo XIII in 1896. There have subsequently been two public seminars on this text and its reception, at the Angelicum and at the Centro Pro Unione in Rome. During the course of their Madeira meeting, the Group deepened its own thinking on issues surrounding apostolicity, sacramentality, gender and ministry. During seminars and conversations, the Group was once again guided and challenged in its thinking by several companions and guests including The Revd Professor Gordon Lathrop, Professor Barbara Hallensleben, Mme Olga Lossky, The Revd Professor Angela Berlis and Professor Thomas O’Loughlin.

The meeting took place within the context of daily prayer. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for May 2023.

The text of Sorores in Spe can be accessed in English, Italian, German, French and Spanish at


The Revd Canon Professor Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emerita, University of Cambridge, UK; Washington DC

The Revd Dr Jennifer Cooper, Director of Initial Ministerial Eduction, Dioceses of Durham and Newcastle; Research Fellow, Campion Hall Oxford, absent

The Most Revd Ian Ernest, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, observer, absent

The Right Revd Dr David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Church of England Diocese in Europe; Co-chair of IARCCUM

The Revd Canon Dr James Hawkey, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey; Bye Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge; Visiting Professor in Theology at King’s College, London; member of the Faith and Order Advisory Commission, Church of England

The Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris, National Ecumenical Officer, Church of England; Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

The Most Revd Sir David Moxon, Former Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome; Former Co-Chair of the Anglican- Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)

The Very Revd Canon David Richardson, Former representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome

The Revd Canon Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Former Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey; former member of ARCIC II and III


The Revd Anthony Currer, Secretary to the Anglican and Methodist dialogues at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome; co-Secretary of ARCIC; observer

Professor Joris Geldhof, Professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Chair of the Liturgical Institute Leuven; Editor-in-chief of the bilingual journal Questions Liturgiques/Studies in Liturgy; President of Societas Liturgica

Dr Maryana Hnyp, Coordinator of Inter-Religious Affairs, KU Leuven; Institutional Development Officer, Caritas Europe

Professor Arnaud Join-Lambert, Professor of Practical Theology and Liturgy at the Université Catholique de Louvain

The Revd Professor Keith Pecklers, SJ, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo (Rome); Founding president of the International Jungmann Society

The Revd Professor Thomas Pott OSB, Chair of the Steering Group, Monastery of Chevetogne (Belgium); Professor of Oriental Liturgy and Sacramentology at the Pontifical Atheneum Sant’Anselmo and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome); Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches and of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

The Revd Cyrille Vael OSB, Monastery of Chevetogne (Belgium); Advisor of NNE (New Narrative for Europe) of the Department for Promotion and Protection of the Regional Cultural Heritage of Europe (European Commission)


The Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis, University of Bern

Professor Tamara Grdzelidze, University of Tbilisi,

Professor Barbara Hallensleben, University of Freiburg, Switzerland

The Revd Professor Gordon Lathrop, Professor Emeritus of Liturgy, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

Mme Olga Lossky, Paris

Professor Thomas O’Loughlin, Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology, University of Nottingham, UK

Companions :

The Most Reverend Donald Bolen, Archbishop of Regina, Canada 

The Right Honourable The Earl of Halifax

The Right Revd Dr David Stancliffe

His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R, Archbishop of Newark, USA