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.

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Saturday 9 December 2023

Advent in Helsinki: Mary, the Church's calling, and the One who brings us out of darkness to light

Outside the Cathedral in Helsinki

Yesterday, 8 December, was a very full Advent day, with activities redolent of the themes of the season. It was, of course, the Feast of the [Immaculate] Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary when we contemplate the mystery of the one who was prepared, through grace, to become the Mother of the Redeemer. 

At the Vallila Help Centre (above, with Coordinator Eeva and Fr Tuomas)

St Ambrose of Milan (whose feast we also celebrated this past week) was the first to refer to the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of the Church, Mater Ecclesiae, a title which helps us consider not only her role in giving birth to the Redeemer from whom the Church itself was born, but also how in her own life she responded to God's call in faith and love, as the Church today is also called to respond to the needs of the world. 

It was with this in mind that I was so moved by a visit to the Ukraine Vallila Help Centre, a project supported by USPG and this diocese, which provides holistic support to so many of the thousands of refugees, mainly women and children, who have fled their native Ukraine due to the war. It is heroic work, largely led by tireless volunteers, who express love and charity to those in need. 

Santa Lucia, Finnish Orthodox Style

In the early evening I joined with Finnish ecumenical partners in the chapel of the headquarters of the Orthodox Church of Finland for vespers and a celebration of Lucia, Finnish Orthodox style. With the liturgy in Finnish, Swedish and some English, we commemorated St Lucy, the fourth century Sicilian martyr, so beloved of Nordic peoples. In the darkness of Advent in the northern hemisphere,  Santa Lucia, with the crown of candles and the red sash of martyrdom, reminds us of the Light which pierces the powers of darkness. 

Bishop Daniel (2nd from left) and Metropolitan Leo (right, Finnish Orthodox Church)

Finally, at the end of the day the Cathedral of Helsinki was filled with more than 500 people attending the Carol Service of the Anglican Chaplaincy of St Nicholas. Led by the Chaplain, Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, clergy and laity of the congregation and many visitors joined in that great service which recalls God's plan of salvation for humanity, culminating in the birth of the Word Made Flesh. 

A special guest at that service was Bishop Daniel from the Ancient Church of the East who is based in Erbil, Iraq, and who ministers to one of the oldest continuously existing Christian groups in the world. Christians in Iraq continue to encounter many difficulties, including persecution and terrorism. It was a special moment to ask a bishop from the Middle East to pronounce the blessing at the conclusion of the service marking the advent of the Holy One, born in the Holy Land.

St Nicholas Chaplaincy Carol Service

Some photos courtesy of Leena Jalkanen and Linda Jämsén  

Thursday 26 October 2023

Christ the King Tampere Confirmations

The congregation of Christ the King in Tampere was established as a joint ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Diocese in Europe back in 2006. Both the Finnish Church and our own see this as a concrete way to put the Porvoo Agreement into action. The Church now has a very interesting outreach to the neighbourhood in Tampere, especially with younger folk and students. The congregation members are a very international group from Finland, other parts of Europe including the UK, Africa and Asia. Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, the Chaplain of Helsinki, and Area Dean of Finland, oversees the Anglican collaboration in Christ the King. 

Fr Amos Manga, an assistant priest in the Anglican Church in Finland, lives in Tampere and has a particular relationship to this congregation which ministers to many from the South Sudanese community, most of whom were refugees who were welcomed to Finland close to 2 decades ago.

Fr Amos Manga and Bishop and Mrs Repo

I was able to preside at confirmations in the Church on 15 October, and was very happy to have conversations with my old friend, Bishop Matti Repo of Tampere diocese, who was instrumental in setting up this joint work 17 years ago, before he was a bishop! 

Confirmation candidates came from South Sudanese and Pakistani backgrounds.

Incidentally, the journey from Helsinki to Tampere (some 180 km) was not able to be done by train, which would be our first choice. There was too little time after the Sunday mass in Helsinki itself, at which I was presiding and preaching, and we were required to make a stop at a priest's home before the service in Tampere. The Chaplain of St Nicholas Helsinki therefore rented a car and negotiated an upgrade with the agency, to look after his bishop in style!

Fr Tuomas with the rented bishopmobile

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Peacemaking - the theme of the Nordic/Baltic Synod


The Nordic/Baltic synod met in Copenhagen from 29 September to 1 October. This is one of the most scattered of our deaneries. Clergy and lay representatives came together from our chaplaincies from Iceland to Estonia. Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel chaired the synod.  Bible studies were led by Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga. The synod theme was “called to be peacemakers”.

As is happening a lot these days, virtually every place I go, there was a time for me to hear very generous words (and receive some very beautiful gifts) from the gathering, marking my upcoming retirement on 29 February. I am deeply moved by all the kind words that synod members have shared, both in the Italy/Malta and Nordic/Baltic gatherings. 

The closing service was in St Alban’s Church, again with some words of thanks and farewell from members (and an Indian shawl as a mark of gratitude). 

I will miss you all.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

St Francis, St Clare and Creationtide at Italy/Malta Synod


It is synod season once again for much of the Diocese in Europe. 

The synod of the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta met from 26 to 29 September in Rome. Fittingly there was a strong focus on St Francis and St Clare and Franciscan spirituality, given that we were in the midst of the season of creation, and St Francis of Assisi is the patron of the environment. Bible Studies were led by Fr Chris Williams (Florence) and Fr Tony Dickinson (Genoa), and presentations on St Francis and St Clare by Fr James Hadley (Palermo) and Mthr Jules Cave (Naples and Area Dean). 

At one of the synod masses, I had the joy of collating Fr Rob Warren to the canonry of St Catherine of Siena. Canon Warren is the Chaplain of All Saints Rome. St Catherine, a 14 century mystical theologian, is celebrated as a patron of Europe and a Doctor of the Church. Her body (minus her head!) lies in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome.

Monday 16 October 2023

Ecumenical, civic and diplomatic welcome to Chancellor David Wright

Chancellor David Wright (on the right)

On Sunday 24 September, the Revd Prebendary David Wright became the Chancellor of St Paul’s Pro Cathedral in Valletta, Malta, and Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Malta and Gozo. The Cathedral was packed as parishioners gathered to welcome their new priest. It was a joyful ecumenical occasion with significant Roman Catholic presence at the service, including His Grace Charles Scicluna, the Archbishop of Malta. 

Archbishop Scicluna giving the blessing at the end of the installation mass

The President of the Republic, and High Commissioners and Ambassadors from the UK, Australia, and Ireland were also present, underlining the significant role of the Pro Cathedral and the Chancellor’s ministry in Malta, even though Anglicans are a minority. 

Saturday 16 September 2023

Canon Frances Hiller

Most people in this diocese know Frances Hiller. Deacon Frances has served as my chaplain since 11 November 2002! She is a member of the Diocesan Ministry Team, the Bishop’s Senior Staff, advises at many levels across the diocese, manages my office, my diary, and much of my correspondence, prepares my liturgical celebrations and generally helps to keep me sane.

Last Wednesday she was collated as a canon of our Cathedral Chapter, with the stall of Our Lady of Europe.

Congratulations to Canon Deacon Frances Hiller! 

Saturday 9 September 2023

4 New Bishops for the Polish Catholic Church (Union of Utrecht)


History was made today for the Union of Utrecht, the Old Catholic Communion of Churches, with which the Churches of the Anglican Communion are in full communion. The Polish member of the Union of Utrecht is called the Polish Catholic Church. It consists of three dioceses at present, but with the death of the late Bishop Wiktor  Wysoczański earlier this year, there were no bishops remaining. A synod this summer elected 4 to fill the three dioceses and provide an auxiliary for Warsaw as well. So today, the 4 new bishops were consecrated, the first time for such a multiple consecration in an Old Catholic Church. It also marks the beginning an entirely new chapter in the life of the Polish Catholic Church.

Bishop Dick Schoon

The service, slightly over 3 hours in length, was presided by Bishop Dick Schoon, the Bishop of Haarlem, assisted by Bishop Pavel Stránský of the Czech Old Catholic Church, and Bishop John Okoro, Bishop Emeritus of the Old Catholic Church of Austria. Archbishop Bernd Wallet of Utrecht and I were also participants in the laying-on-of hands. The Cathedral of St Mary Madgalene in Wrocław was filled for the consecration mass. Ecumenical guests included bishops from the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Orthodox Church and the Mariavite Church.

The four new bishops are Andrzej Gontarek, Bishop of Warsaw and Lead Bishop of the Polish Catholic Church, Antoni Norman for the diocese of Kraków-Czestochowa,  Stanisław Bosy for the diocese of Wrocław and Henryk Dąbrowski, auxiliary bishop for the diocese of Warsaw.

The Bishops for the Laying on of Hands

The Polish Catholic Church is now ready with new leadership to engage more intensively in mission and ministry across the country. We pray for them in this new stage of their life.

Being present for this historic occasion was a huge privilege. It was also a time to connect with old friends, and ome new ones, over some excellent Polish refreshments.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

An announcement made today

The following announcement was made today by the Diocese in Europe:

Bishop David Hamid, suffragan bishop of the Diocese in Europe and one of the longest serving bishops in the Church of England, has announced his plans to retire in February 2024.

Bishop David said: “For over 20 years I have been blessed to have one of the most fulfilling and enriching jobs in the Church. At times the Diocese in Europe is difficult to explain to outsiders and to many in other parts of the Church of England, but I can sum up from my experience that it is a family, a family of committed and loving people, a truly rich and diverse, if scattered community, which seeks to live the Christian life in the Anglican way. The diocese embodies a profound vision of ecumenical outreach and collaboration and is a beautiful multicultural and multiethnic mosaic. These particular aspects of her life are very close to my own heart and have added to my joy in serving the diocese as one of its bishops.

"I am grateful beyond words for the kindness and generosity that is shown to me in my pastoral visits, and I give thanks to God for all the many signs of growth in faith and Christian witness and service that I see from the shores of the Baltic to the Mediterranean, and beyond. Throughout these years, I have been dependent on the encouragement and support of both the late Bishop Geoffrey Rowell and Bishop Robert Innes, as well as from a wonderful group of colleagues in the Senior Staff, and the wisdom, patience and commitment of my Chaplain Deacon Frances Hiller who has served me throughout my episcopal ministry.

"I am 68 right now, and while I can continue until I turn 70, the time seems right for Colleen and me to look towards the next phase of our life. However, there is still much on my agenda before the end of February! But when the day comes, I know that I will take into retirement a heart filled with thanksgiving for these past couple of decades and a heart which will always hold the people of this wonderful diocese in my prayers”.

Bishop David was consecrated as a bishop in October 2002, and installed as suffragan bishop of the Diocese in Europe, where he has served for almost 21 years.

Bishop Robert, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, said:

“Bishop David’s retirement will leave a huge hole in the diocese. We will miss his vast knowledge, mature experience and personal friendship. These days, senior roles in the Church are extremely demanding, arguably all the more so in our diocese with the demands of frequent international travel. The Church therefore owes Bishop David an immense debt of gratitude for more than two decades of devoted episcopal service.

"He has supported and encouraged the diocese and its chaplaincies through numerous international crises: banking, sovereign debt, migration, Brexit and Covid. At the level of individual chaplaincies, he has overseen numerous recruitments of chaplains, baptized and confirmed hundreds of candidates, advised on mission initiatives and building projects, dealt with situations of conflict, and exercised a highly skilled ministry of oversight so as to build up the faith of individuals and communities.

"Bishop David is a skilled ecumenist. He has, for example, served as co-chair of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, the chair of the Church of England’s Porvoo Panel, which serves the links between Anglicans and Scandinavian and Baltic Lutherans and President of the Society of St. Willibrord, which brings together Anglicans and Old Catholics. A proficient linguist, Bishop David has nurtured personal relationships with ecumenical colleagues for the good of the whole Church. He retires with prayers and love from across our diocese.”

Once Bishop David retires, the process to seek to appoint the next suffragan Bishop in Europe will begin.

I woke up knowing that this was the day when the public announcement of my retirement would be made. So I have to admit I chuckled at God's sense of humour, as the first psalm assigned for Morning Prayer today was 132, which begins, "Lord remember for David all the hardships he endured" !

Of course, the last 21 years of ministry in this diocese (and I pray the next 6 months before 29 February!) have not been a hardship. Yes, there have been times of challenge, and moments of sadness shared with so many, but overwhelmingly it has been a wonderful time of joy throughout. What a privilege it is to know and love the people that God has granted me to serve. 

Monday 14 August 2023

1.5 million young people in Lisbon gathering and St George's played its part!


The Roman Catholic World Youth Day (which lasted a week from 1 to 6 August!) was likely the largest gathering of youth within the geographic territory of the Diocese. 1.5 million young people from around the world gathered in Lisbon for the week’s events which included times of prayer, teaching, worship, cultural activities and meetings with Pope Francis.

St George’s Anglican Church in Lisbon, with their priests, Mthr Ruth Bendrey and Fr Iain Bendrey, had a vision of collaborating with a key Roman Catholic movement, the Chemin Neuf Community to host a series of ecumenical gatherings at St George’s during the week. They were assisted 
by Honourary Assitant priest at St George's, Fr Steve Danzey. 

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell and the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop Ian Ernest, were among the key speakers invited for the week.

Young adults from the Diocese in Europe joined us, from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine. Some Anglicans even came from as far away as East Malaysia!

St George’s was filled with young people at every event, and it is clear that we have a great potential to host young people for such gathering in future. Fr Iain, who is also our Diocese’s Young Vocations Champion, is keen to make this happen!

The week ended with a young person receiving the sacrament of baptism (by immersion) and others receiving the sacrament of confirmation. A fitting end to a week of vibrant faith!

Sunday 13 August 2023

Sta Margarita, patron of Menorca Chaplaincy, has her annual (ecumenical) outing


Transporting Sta Margarita to the start of the procession

One of the privileges of work in the Diocese in Europe is being part of the rich local ecumenical relations in so many places. A recent visit to our Chaplaincy in Menorca, dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, coincided with the patronal festival. It was a joy to be part of the local fiesta in honour of Santa Margarita. Her statue from our Church was the main attraction for the procession from the Roman Catholic Church to ours.

The Chaplain, Fr Paul Strudwick was also able to arrange for me to have conversations with the new RC Bishop of Menorca, Mons. Gerard Vilallonga Hellín.

Sta Margarita back in Church!

Thursday 11 May 2023

Ecumenical and multicultural ministry in Norway


On Saturday 22 April, the Church of St Edmund’s Oslo, with its Chaplain the Revd Canon Joanna Udal participated in a city-centre ecumenical event designed to bring the quite secular Norwegians back into touch with their Church once again. The Cathedral in Oslo and two other parish Churches hosted celebrations highlighting history, culture, music, and, importantly, the Church’s work to combat environmental degradation and to encourage interfaith understanding and respect. 

Canon Udal was able to speak to the gathering and bring Anglican greetings to this important event. I was pleased to be able to have conversations with Bishop Kari Veiteberg of Oslo, who is a leading voice for the social justice work of the Church.

The weekend was principally for pastoral duties, at St Edmund’s for baptisms and confirmations and in Bragernes Church in the city of Drammen, for the confirmation of members of the South Sudanese Maban Community, a community of refugees who are largely of Anglican background. 

I was assisted with translation in Drammen by Fr Isaac, an Anglican priest from South Sudan, who was ordained in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Fr Isaac is in the process to receive PtO in this diocese.

Pastor Isaac

Tuesday 18 April 2023

The southernmost Cathedral in the Church of England

Good Friday at St Paul's

The Diocese in Europe is blessed with three cathedrals: The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar, Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral in Brussels, and St Paul's Pro-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. It was a joy to be at one of them, St Paul's, for the sacred Triduum, leading the congregation through the mystery of the passion of Our Lord, and then sharing in their festive mass of the Resurrection on Easter Day at which parishioners also attended from the daughter congregation of Our Lady and St George, on the island of Gozo. 

St Paul's is the southernmost cathedral in the Church of England, with its spire (now under renovation) an iconic feature of the skyline of this Mediterranean island.

Fund-raising continues for the spire restoration. Donations can be made here: