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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

Friday, 13 May 2022

Post-Covid life returning in Italy: in-person clergy chapter and Church of England in Italy AGM

It has been a while due to COVID, but this week some of the the clergy of the Italian deanery were able at long last to meet and to enjoy a meal together as colleagues. The Revd Jules Cave Bergquist is the Area Dean and convoked a clergy chapter in Rome to have some time to share together and to hear from an invited guest, Don Giuliano Savina, the Director of the National Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue for the Italian Bishops' Conference.

After the conviviality of the chapter, some serious work followed: the Annual General Meeting of the Association of the Church of England in Italy (ACDI), the first such assembly since the final signing of the treaty between the Church of England and the Italian Republic which grants us some significant rights in Italy. The meeting was hosted in the Anglican Centre in Rome and the clergy were joined by the lay representatives to conduct the essential business of this important body in the life of our diocese.

Tribute was paid to several individuals who have laboured for over 15 years in the long process towards official recognition of our Church in Italy, including Canon Vickie Sims, one time Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, and presently Chaplain of All Saints, Milan. Mother Vickie stepped down as President of ACDI and handed over the presidency to Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, the Ven. David Waller.


Monday, 9 May 2022

40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood


It is hard to believe as the time has flown by, but 9 May is the 40th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, which took place in St Jude’s Church, Oakville, Ontario, in the  Diocese of Niagara. 

St Jude's Oakville, the concelebration with the Bishop following the ordination, as is the custom in the Canadian Church

In the presence of Colleen and some close friends I was able to celebrate the anniversary with a quiet eucharist.

Ecumenical relations have been central throughout the years of my priestly ministry, so I was particularly moved that a friend arranged for me to use a a particular chalice and paten for the anniversary mass. 

The sacred vessels were from the 16th century and were used by St Edward Campion and other English martyrs, and so are linked to that fraught time in our history when Anglicans and Roman Catholics were persecuting each other in England. I thank God that despite this tragic history, Anglicans and Roman Catholics have made a huge progress towards restoring visible communion, due to the progress of our official dialogue over the past more than 50 years. The homilist for the anniversary celebration was Professor Fr Keith Peckers SJ, professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University.  

I was asked by a friend to reflect on each decade of priestly ministry so far, and to consider what are the highlights. I never thought that would be such a difficult question! But I could only conclude that the highlights are the gifts and generosity I have received from those I have served over these years, for their kindness, patience, understanding and support. 

The service was in a rural Italian Church in the Le Marche region. By happy coincidence the patron of the region is St Christopher, who was the patron of my title parish, St Christopher’s Burlington.  

St Christopher's Burlington, Ontario

St Christopher, patron of Le Marche

Saturday, 30 April 2022

The Revd Ronald Andrew Corne - RIP

Last Wednesday 27 April, in St Swithun's Church, Headbourne Worthy, we laid to rest the Revd Ronald Corne, chaplain of All Saints Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, with St Martin de Porres, La Palma, Spain. Fr Ron fell ill in February, and after a brief time in hospital in Tenerife, decided to return to the UK to be close to his family. He died shortly after his return. 

The moving tributes given at the funeral recalled Ron's cheeky smiles and infectious laughter, his quick witted jokes, but above all that he was a spiritual and wonderfully giving person, loved by so many. He will be sorely missed by his parishioners in Tenerife/La Palma. Many had not been aware of how seriously ill their priest was, as Fr Ron, always a private man, did not wish them to worry or fret about him.  

Fr Ron wanted to be buried in St Swithun's, one of the churches in a benefice he once served in the Diocese of Winchester. His entire ministry prior to coming to the Diocese in Europe three years ago was in the Diocese of Winchester, where he was the Area Dean of Romsey. Clergy colleagues from both dioceses were present at the funeral to bid farewell to their brother priest. The service was led by the Revd Gill Nobes, who had been Ron's curate at one point. I was privileged to deliver the homily and to preside at the commendation.

Lord God, may your servant and priest Ron, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, now rejoice in the perpetual company of your saints.

All Saints, Puerto de la Cruz

St Swithun's Headbourne Worthy


A wedding in Gloucestershire - with Diocese in Europe touches!

On Friday 22 April, I had the great joy and privilege of presiding at the wedding of the Ven. David Sutch and Gwendolyne Thurley. Archdeacon David is a former Archdeacon of Gibraltar, and Chaplain of Costa del Sol East. The wedding in St George's Church, Brockworth Village, was also very much a Diocese in Europe event, although in the middle of Gloucestershire. The best man was the Very Revd Alan Woods, former Dean of Gibraltar (and Archdeacon of Gibraltar), with some parishioners from Fr David's Costa del Sol East parish, (the bride is from there), and a former Chaplain, Fr Alaric Lewis.

Fr David, though now retired, clearly had not forgotten some of his technique honed from years as a priest in Spain:

Warmest blessings to Fr David and Gwendolyne!


Sunday, 17 April 2022

Happy Easter


A joyous and happy Easter from Holy Cross, Palermo. Cristo è risorto!  Христос Воскрес!

For the spirit of joy and hope of Easter to fill our hearts and our lives, for peace in the world, for peace in Ukraine during this time of war, for an end to all persecution, violence and aggression, we pray to the Lord.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Good Friday in Palermo ended with public prayers for Ukraine

At the end of the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday at Holy Cross, Palermo, Fr James Hadley, the Chaplain and I were invited to a prayer vigil for peace in Ukraine. Local clergy, civic dignitaries, carabinieri and military officials were in attendance. I was very moved to be asked, after the introductions, to lead the assembled crowd in prayer (in English) for peace.

The Good Friday procession which had been taking place for the past several hours ended up joining the vigil, which enabled special prayers to be offered to Our Lady of Sorrows to intercede for those suffering in Ukraine. It was a slightly livelier ending to Good Friday than I normally experience, but an emotional and significant one.

Hear the cries of your people, O God. May peace and justice become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for all the world. 


Thursday, 14 April 2022

Maundy Thursday - a moment of ecumenical sharing

How appropriate on Maundy Thursday to join with some of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palermo for a meal together and some sharing of the joys of priestly ministry. Sicilian hospitality is second to none!

Right next door, the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria was preparing a very simple Altar of Repose for tonight. Just a couple of candles and a few flowers to honour Our Lord's presence.

Chrism masses - moments of collegiality and mutual support

Clergy and lay ministers normally try gather with their bishops in Holy Week for the Chrism Mass, when the sacred oils for the sacraments are blessed and consecrated and vows of ministerial commitment are renewed. Given our vast geography in the Diocese in Europe, one such gathering would not be logistically possible if a good number of clergy and lay ministers are going to be able to attend. So customarily 4 such services are held, two at which Bishop Robert presides (Brussels and Paris) and two at which I preside, in Madrid and Rome. 

These are privileged moments when we gather in the midst of the busiest week of the year, to show our unity in the mission and ministry of Christ's Church to which we are called, and to demonstrate that unity through renewing our vows together and blessing the sacred oils which we use throughout the year. 

More than 45 clergy and Readers were in attendance in Madrid and Rome. We were blessed also by the presence of ecumenical partner clergy from the Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic Churches who graciously affirmed their unity with us in these words: we commit ourselves to God and one another, to live, work and pray as one body in Christ". In Rome, colleagues from the Episcopal Church in Europe and Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, were among our distinguished colleagues present. 

I am grateful to Canon Medhat Sabry (St George's Madrid) and Fr Robert Warren (All Saints Rome) and their parish teams for their work of preparation for these services and for the hospitality they offered to those who gathered. 

The Deacon's role includes the careful decanting of the oils of the catechumens and the sick and the Holy Chrism into bottles to be taken back across a continent and islands by the clergy and Readers. Helpers for this important task are always welcome!