WELCOME...

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, 23 May 2017

An international and cross-cultural event: laying the foundation stone of St John's Casablanca development project

The Compound of St John's
Foundation stones of the St John the Evangelist Development Project were laid last Wednesday 17 May in Casablanca. It was a joyful international gathering convened by the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, the Chaplain of St John's.


The Church has been serving the English-speaking expatriate Christian community in the city since 1906. The time has come to expand the facilities in the Church compound, including a renovation of the Church itself, and the construction of rooms for community and educational use. As St John's is part of the historic architectural patrimony of the city, some complicated permissions and approvals had to be obtained from several government departments.

HE the Wali signs the guest book
His Excellency, Khalid Safir, the Wali of Casablanca and Settat, has been very supportive of the project and we were honoured by his presence at the ceremony on the 17th. (The Wali is the representative of the King, in an administrative region of Morocco).

His Excellency with Canon Medhat

His Excellency joined me and several others - Archdeacon Geoff Johnston, UK Consul Mr David Harries, US Chargé d'Affairs, Mrs Stephanie Miley, and Churchwardens John Peterson and Angie Bermudez - in laying the ceremonial stones. The Wali spoke of the important place St John's has within the diverse, international, multicultural city of Casablanca. The support we have received from the Moroccan authorities has been very encouraging, and we are thankful for His Majesty King Mohammed VI's commitment to helping foreign religious communities such as ours, flourish in his country.

The Churchwardens, the Architect and the Archdeacon enjoy the moment
Members of St John's, who themselves come from around the world were in attendance, as were representatives of St Andrew's Tangiers, the other historic Church of England congregation in the country.

One of the interesting pieces of St John's history is that US General George S. Paton regularly attended services during WWII. The General, in fact, donated the oak pulpit to the Church in memory of troops who died in the defence of the city.

Canon Medhat with US diplomats

Canon Medhat with UK diplomats
This whole development project is a result of the vision of the Chaplain, Fr Medhat. It was fitting and joyful coincidence that the foundation stone ceremony was on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. The Diocese is supporting the project through last year's Advent Appeal.






Monday, 22 May 2017

Liturgical formation for curates at Post Ordination Training

Canon Monberg (centre) with our curates
All newly ordained clergy or curates in the Church of England must complete what is known as IME 4 - 7, a period of 3 - 4 years when further training is given. This is also known as Post Ordination Training or POT. The Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Diocesan Director of Ministerial Development, is the staff person responsible for our own IME 4 - 7 programme in this Diocese in Europe.

Our curates recently participated in a POT seminar focussing on the Church's liturgy. At the end of the years of curacy our priests and deacons are required to demonstrate solid rootedness in the liturgical traditions and practices of the Church of England, and to use their gifts and abilities in leading public worship in a variety of settings. In addition the curates are to show an understanding of the insights and practices of the liturgies and traditions of ecumenical partners.

Canon Monberg was assisted in this recent IME session by the Revd Canon William Gulliford, the Director of Ordinands; the Revd Dr Ben Gordon-Taylor, our Diocesan Liturgical Advisor and Dean of Chapel and Lecturer in Liturgy at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield;  the Revd Canon Dr Julie Gittoes, a residentiary canon at Guildford Cathedral; and the Revd Steve Beak, a parish priest who teaches worship for curates in the Guildford Diocese and for the Arrow Leadership Course.

Dr Ben Gordon-Taylor (4th from rt) with Canon Monberg and curates
Practical liturgical skills were shared at the seminar, such as how to conduct weddings. Fr William "presided" at a typical marriage service, with model bride and groom the Revds April Almaas and Mike Waltner, (Canon Monberg was a bridesmaid!)


On the Sunday the IME group was warmly welcomed from the pulpit of Guildford Cathedral where they attended the Eucharist. Our current curates are serving in Paris, Aquitaine, Vienna, Trondheim, Athens and Istanbul. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Diocese in Europe well represented on Nikaean Club Executive

The Nikaean Club was established at the 1600 anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, in 1925. It exists primarily to support the ecumenical ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Its members offer hospitality on behalf of the Archbishop to representatives of other Churches who visit Lambeth Palace or other institutions of the Church of England. It also gives small grants to assist theological students from ecumenical partner Churches who are studying in England.

The Club’s affairs are managed by an Executive Committee and at the recent Annual General Meeting of the Club, two of its members from the Diocese in Europe were elected to the executive, Lay Canon Ann Turner from St Boniface, Antwerp and Deacon Frances Hiller from my office. The 400 members clearly appreciate the ecumenical work of our diocese and her members, and thus have chosen Ann and Frances to help in the governance of this venerable ecumenical Club.

A Club Dinner at the Great Hall of Lambeth Palace

 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

CEMES. Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme


Are you under the age of 30? Are you interested in exploring a possible vocation to ministry in the Church of England? If so, there are still a couple of places left for participants in the CEMES programme for 2017-2018 in the Diocese in Europe.

CEMES, the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme, is intended for young adults to provide a way to help with the discernment of possible vocation in the Church of England. Information on the entire scheme is available on the Church of England's "Call Waiting" website, here. Essentially the scheme offers an opportunity to:

  • Explore and deepen faith
  • Discern where and to what God might be calling you
  • Spend a year learning about yourself and your faith tradition with a caring support structure
  • Acquire life-long life-skills and formative experiences which will enrich your life and your Christian discipleship and faith.

The CEMES programme in the Diocese in Europe consists of three basic elements:

  • Practical experience in an Anglican church on the continent, filling three quarters of a participant’s time and comprising a breadth of ministry opportunities working within the church and the wider community including some leadership responsibility.
  • Personal development through regular meetings with a mentor/pastoral advisor
  • A tailor-made theological programme under a theological supervisor based at the University of Leuven

The participating churches for 2017-2018 year are:

  • Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Brussels 
  • St Michael's, Paris 
  • Christ Church, Vienna 
  • St Martha and St Mary, Leuven
  • The Anglican Church in Lyon  
  • Holy Trinity Geneva
  • La Côte, (a suburb of Geneva) 

In the Diocese in Europe CEMES scheme participants will:

  • be plunged right into the middle of the current debates about the future of the Christian Churches in the 21st century
  • receive close, gentle and committed supervision from experienced international clergy and laity
  • expand linguistic and cultural skills
  • spend time in Canterbury, Jerusalem and Rome on the educational and ministerial trips organise for our interns
  • enjoy an unforgettable and formative year in the best diocese in the Church of England!

If you are a young adult, under the age of 30, and are interested in exploring a possible vocation to ministry in the Church of England, come and see how the C of E lives, prays, thinks and talks... abroad!

For further details and an application form, contact:

The Revd Canon William Gulliford (DDO Diocese in Europe)
14 Tufton Street
London SW1P 3QZ
william.gulliford@churchofengland.org
Telephone: 07957 451419

2016 - 2017 CEMES Interns and Mentors

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Prayers in solidarity with Armenian Christians today

Divine Liturgy at St Yeghiche Church
It has been 102 years since the start of the Armenian deportations and genocide. Today I was invited by His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukian, the Primate of the Armenian Churches of the UK, to assist at the Divine Liturgy in St Yeghiche Church in London, and to take part in the prayers commemorating the estimated 1.5 million Armenians who were killed during the period 1915 to 1923.

The solidarity of Christians in this solemn commemoration is vitally important. As Bishop Hovakim said in his homily today, we should never be indifferent to those who suffer violence and endure hate and death at the hands of others.


His Grace also pointed out that this week a film debuts in cinemas, called "The Promise". It is set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. It is essentially a love story involving an Armenian medical student but set in the midst of these historic and cruel  events. The main character prays "Dear Lord, Help us survive these cruel times so we may once again sing your praises." It might be worth putting on your list of films to view.

PHOTO: GRACE HILL MEDIA


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Welcoming, active, inclusive .... and youthful. St Thomas Becket Hamburg


The Church of England parish in Hamburg has existed since 1612. However, St Thomas Becket Church is far from being an "old" community nor even a particularly ethnic English one today. It is, as its website proclaims, "a welcoming, active, inclusive Church". The electoral roll includes folk from many national backgrounds.

Indeed the international make-up is at the heart of its leadership. The Chaplain, the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel, is originally from India. His wife (who assists at St Thomas's when she is not at St Catherine's Stuttgart), the Revd Dr Julie Lippe-Nathaniel, is German. Many on the servers guild are from Ghana. The excellent choir and other musicians come from around the world and make the liturgy at St Thomas's rich with music.

Discussing details of the liturgy before the service

One of the exciting and growing dimensions of ministry in St Thomas's is the inclusion of children and young people. Already an integral part of church life through a flourishing Junior Church, it is clear to me that ministry by and with young people is on the cusp of taking off in an encouraging way.

On Easter Eve, at the Great Vigil, 15 persons were confirmed, among them 9 younger candidates. As part of their preparation for the sacrament Fr Leslie invited the young class to prepare theological questions to quiz the older candidates. The youth put forward about 70 questions all together. Fr Leslie had to select about a dozen only, so as not to completely overwhelm the adults! (I am glad the Chaplain did not ask the young confirmands to ask questions of the bishop!)


From amongst the junior confirmands it is anticipated that a youth group will form. Also on the parish's plans is the development of a youth choir.

The Revds Julie Lippe-Nathaniel and Leslie Nathaniel

 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Christ is risen, alleluia

To followers of Eurobishop I wish a joyful Easter, filled with the love of Christ and with the hope to which we are called.

 

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Veneration of the Cross in Hamburg

The Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday has many words: the substantial lessons and of course the proclamation of the entire Passion story from the Gospel of St John, plus a sermon. But It is also a liturgy of movement which dates back to the 4th century when pilgrims flocked to Jerusalem on Good Friday to venerate the precious relic of the True Cross, discovered by the Empress St Helena. About the 7th century the practice of devotions before a wooden cross was introduced into local churches for the benefit of the vast majority of Christians who cannot journey to Jerusalem.

Of course Christians come to the cross, to kneel before it, touch it, even kiss it, not to venerate a piece of wood but to give honour and praise to Christ who died on the cross. For many, coming into contact with the hard wood is a reminder of the reality of what he has done, for us and for our salvation.

So with Christians around the world and across the ages, on this Good Friday in St Thomas Becket Church Hamburg, from the very young to the not so young, the faithful came forward to venerate the cross, each in his or her own way, according to their devotional instinct. It was a dignified, loving, unhurried and prayerful procession of God's people, sustained by the choir and congregational singing of 5 of our best known passiontide hymns.

O Tree of beauty, tree most fair,

Ordained those holy limbs to bear:

Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough

Proclaims the King of Glory now.

 

 

Mandatum novum

Mandatum novum - a new commandment. From this phrase from the Gospel of St John, the Thursday before Easter, Maundy Thursday, takes its name. The new commandment of our Lord was, of course, to love one another, as he loves us.
In St Thomas a Becket Church Hamburg, following the solemn liturgy of the Lord's Supper and Washing of Feet, some members of the parish, including some of the adult candidates who will be confirmed at the Easter Vigil joined the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel, the Chaplain and me for a simple meal, and some rich conversation. The mood of the sacred rites we had just celebrated seemed to be still among us and we reflected on the meaning of love, and what it means to say that God is love. We spoke about what that signifies for those who are not Christian, or who never will be, in terms of God's gracious embrace of them. We reflected on how we address this central teaching in our dialogue with this of other religions. We spoke of the wonder of our salvation, through the Eternal Word, born among us, living as one of us, dying on the cross and rising again, to bring us home to the Father.
This is a congregation which clearly likes to talk theology!
Post Maundy Liturgy meal and discussion

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Chrism mass in the city of St Ambrose


The Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, the Venerable Vickie Sims, hosted a Chrism Mass in her parish of All Saints, Milan on Tuesday. Clergy and Readers from Italy, Denmark and Spain gathered for the annual service at which the oils used for baptism, anointing the sick and confirmation are blessed, and the diaconal and priestly vows of ordination are reaffirmed, along with the promises made by licensed lay ministers, or Readers.

The celebration was enhanced by the presence of Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, who was able, along with me, to reaffirm his vows as a bishop in Christ's Holy Catholic Church. Archbishop Moxon retires from the Anglican Centre in Rome later this year. We were able to pay tribute for the way has has opened so many doors in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations during his time as Director, and for the warmth of our present A-RC relations, which is due in no small part to his remarkable ecumenical ministry. His Associate Director, the Revd Marcus Walker, was accompanied him to Milan for the mass.

Fr Giovanni, 2nd from right
An added joy during the service was the formal reception of the Revd Giovanni La Rosa into the communion of the Church of England. I will be writing more about Fr Giovanni's remarkable ministry later.

As always in our scattered diocese, it is with a real sense of fellowship that clergy and lay ministers gather on occasions such as this, and it does offer me a chance, as bishop, to thank them for their dedicated service. Archdeacon Vickie was an excellent host, and she and volunteers from the parish provided a warm reception and lunch for the guests who had come from near and far for the service.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Prayers for Coptic Christians in Egypt



As the news of another terrorist attack on the Christian community in Egypt emerges, on behalf of the people of this diocese, I have sent the message below to my dear friend Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Church in the UK, and the Moderator of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

_____________________________________________

Your Grace Bishop Angaelos, my dear Brother in Christ
I can hardly believe the news that has just reached me, that on this most Holy Day when the Christian faithful begin our commemoration of the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, a passion and death which was for the reconciliation and peace of humankind, the Coptic community attending the sacred liturgies in Alexandria and Tanta have been victims of a bloody terrorist attack. I understand that at least 36 have been killed and many more are seriously injured.
I assure you of my closeness in prayer to you and to your Church at this most sad and troubled time. With other Anglicans in this Diocese in Europe, we pray for those who have died in this attack, that Christ our God will grant them rest with his saints, where there is no pain or grief, but life everlasting. We pray for all who are injured and for those who mourn, for the strength and comfort of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  May the Holy Angels keep your people in Egypt safe from further violence.  As we have carried our branches of palm we carry in our hearts the lament of your people, who are our brothers and sisters in Christ, trusting in our Lord, who is victorious over sin and death. 
Now the authorities in Egypt must act swiftly to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice, and to protect with ever more vigilance, the Christian minority. 
And may God turn the hearts of those who seek to do violence to their neighbour.
With sincere condolence and fraternal love
+David

_____________________________________________

This prayer comes from the Coptic liturgy:
Disperse the fantasies of the adversaries. Still the tempest. Walk with us and calm our terror. Quench our thirst, kindle the flame of thy love in our hearts. Abide with us, for the day is far spent, and accompany us until daybreak. For thou are our goal and our happiness, Thou alone, O Lord, for ever + Amen.
HG Bishop Angaelos

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Holy Ghost Genoa - International and outgoing, like this ancient maritime city


There has been an Anglican Church in Genova (Genoa) since at least 1818. The first services were held in the home of the British Consul. The present building, dedicated to the Holy Ghost, dates from 1873 and is an architectural gem. It was designed by the famous British architect George Edmund Street who also designed the Law Courts in the Strand, London. The Romanesque style draws from typical architecture from this Ligurian region of Italy.


The city of Genoa has a long maritime history. Christopher Columbus is perhaps the most famous son of the city. Today it is still the second busiest port in Italy. True to this heritage the congregation of Holy Ghost Church is very international and outgoing. At last Sunday's Eucharist I met parishioners who hailed originally from England, Italy, Ghana, Chile, Japan, Switzerland, and Nigeria.


The congregation is also growing in faith and modestly in numbers. Eight persons were confirmed last Sunday. A splendid community lunch was held in the church after the mass, providing a time for members and visitors share a convivial meal.


For many years the Church of the Holy Ghost Genoa has been served by a rota of very dedicated locum priests. With the future development and growth of the Church in mind, the Archdeacon and I are now in conversation with the parish leadership about a possible resident priest. But I must pay tribute to the locum clergy and to the energetic lay leaders who have nurtured the congregation to the point where I believe there is a very bright future ahead.