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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.



Thursday, 21 June 2018

Fr Joe Ponic RIP


It is with great sadness that I announce the death of the Revd Joseph James Ponic. Known to everyone as Fr Joe, he died on 20 June in Saskatoon, Canada, after a brief illness. Fr Joe was a past Chaplain of St Andrew’s Tangier, and a priest who had served on our Diocesan Locum List for a number of years. He considered this diocese to be part of his family.

Joe was a citizen of the USA by birth and of Canada by adoption. He had a long ministry as a priest, first in the Roman Catholic Church, then in the Anglican Church of Canada where he rejoiced in its blend of tradition and openness.  In his own words, Fr Joe described the Anglican Church as “a wide gate that led to a nurturing environment”.  In his ministerial life he had specialised in what we now call “interim ministry”, using his gifts in helping parishes through times of change and transition. He also had a distinguished career as a teacher.

Fr Joe’s term in Tangier was at the time of a marked increase in the migrant and refugee population. Joe was profoundly moved by their plight and encouraged St Andrew’s to be alongside them and open their doors to those who needed pastoral care. He was deeply grieved when those seeking a better life in Europe died when their flimsy boats capsized off shore.

Former Churchwarden of St Andrew’s, Christopher Gibb, described Fr Joe as “Gentle Joe, a priest of many gifts, and one of the most precious was his capacity for healing local problems and misunderstandings. His wide reading and historical interests enlivened his sermons, sometimes leaving the congregation wide-eyed with wonder! He had a beautiful modesty, how rare and attractive is this!”

Joe was cremated on Thursday 21st and a memorial service will be held on Saturday 23rd June. May he may now find eternal rest and happiness in the company of the saints in light.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Fr Gordon Reid's Golden Jubilee of Priesthood


On 11 June, the Feast of St Barnabas, the Revd Canon Gordon Reid celebrated 50 years as a priest in God's Church. The occasion was marked by a High Mass in St Mark's Philadelphia, at which I was privileged to be the preacher. The church was full for the celebration, at which the Bishop of Pennsylvania, the Rt Revd Daniel Gutierrez, presided "from the throne".


Fr Gordon was ordained in Edinburgh and has served there and in Salisbury and Inverness. In the Diocese in Europe he has served in Ankara, Izmir, Stockholm, Gibraltar (as Dean), Milan (as Archdeacon of Italy and Malta) and London (as Vicar General). From Europe he moved to Philadelphia where he was Rector of St Clement's Church for many years.


Fr Gordon has retired from stipendiary ministry but is still very active. Bishop Gutierrez has made him Dean of Southwark (a deanery in the Philadelphia, pronounced "South-Wark") and presently Fr Gordon is providing priestly cover for St Mary's Church, which is also the centre of campus ministry for Penn State University, while the Rector is on maternity leave. He also continues to be an active priest on our diocesan locum list.


Following the service there was a warm reception for Fr Gordon, then a small dinner party hosted by the Rector of St Mark's, the Revd Fr Sean Mullen. The Associate Rector of the parish, the Revd Mother Erika Takacs was the Deacon of the mass.



In my sermon I was able to assure Fr Gordon of the good wishes, love and prayers from his many friends in the Diocese in Europe. His has been a distinguished ministry, so far!

Fr Sean, Bp Daniel, Fr Gordon
Photos courtesy of Marc Coleman

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Congregation with largest Sunday attendance in Copenhagen is St Alban's Anglican Church


St Alban's Anglican Church in Copenhagen describes itself as a growing, diverse and inclusive Christian community. I can certainly attest to this being the case from my many years of episcopal oversight of this parish. Children and adults from every part of the world form the congregation, united by Eucharistic worship in English, according to the rites of the Church of England. The diversity contributes to making St Alban's a parish rich with varied gifts. 

The ministry team itself is very diverse. A new chaplain has just arrived, the Revd Smitha Prasadam. Smitha comes originally from Bangalore India. On my parish visit last weekend, which had been arranged about a year ago for confirmations, Smitha had not yet even been licenced. (That will happen this coming Saturday at a service at which Archdeacon Colin Williams will preside). Smitha has two priests who assist her in an auxiliary capacity, one is a Dane but a priest of the Church of England, none other than our own Director of Ministerial Development, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg. The other is also a Dane but a priest of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, the Revd Palle Thordal. Also part of the ministry team is a Deacon, Christophe Ndikuriyo who is from Burundi. Three licensed Readers, two who are UK nationals and one a Norwegian, are joined by another two studying for this Licensed Lay Ministry. A children's, youth and student worker is also part of the team, Joakim Steiner-Johnsen. 

Auxiliary priests Palle and Ulla (left and right) with new Chaplain Smitha Prasadam
My visit was also an occasion for me to introduce Smitha to the Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, who is a good friend of the parish. Bishop Peter is also the “first among equals” of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, which is of course in communion with the Church of England thanks to the Porvoo Agreement. Bishop Peter has told me that St Alban’s is the best attended church of any tradition in the Danish capital. 

Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen, 2nd from left
The candidates led the congregation assembled on Sunday in the reaffirmation of baptismal faith at the font, an integral part of the confirmation mass. At the end of the service as I led them out with their lit candles into the sunshine in Churchillparken in front of the church, hordes of tourists descended upon them to take pictures. St Alban’s is very close to one of the “must see” sights in the city - the Little Mermaid, so there is always a lot of visiting tourist traffic. Volunteer members of the congregation are on hand every day to welcome visitors into the church for a look around, to enjoy some silence, say a prayer or light a candle. Our confirmation candidates will have the pleasure of knowing that they are part of the holiday snaps of scores of casual visitors to Copenhagen from around the world! 

Making the sign of the cross with baptismal water after the reaffirmation of baptismal promises
Youth Worker Joakim (left) and Reader Victoria, who prepared the candidates
The confirmation preparation was undertaken by Reader Victoria Wadsworth-Hansen and Youth Worker Joakim.




Saturday, 9 June 2018

Tapio Luoma becomes the new Archbishop of Turku, Finland

Bishops lining up for the procession
The Most Revd Tapio Luoma was installed as Archbishop of Turku, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF), in the 13th century cathedral in Turku on 3 June. The new Archbishop succeeds Archbishop Kari Mäkinen, a good friend, whom Colleen and I ran into, looking understandably relaxed, as he was enjoying his first day of retirement!

Archbishop Tapio Luoma

Archbishop Kari Mäkinen and Mrs Mäkinen 
The senior bishop in the Church of Finland, Bishop Samuel Salmi of Oulu presided at the installation mass for Archbishop Tapio, and blessed and commissioned him through a ceremony of laying on of hands, assisted by Archbishop Emeritus Anders Wejryd from the Church of Sweden, Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien from the Church of Norway, Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Bishop Agnes Sigurdardottir from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, Archbishop Urmas Viilma from the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Archbishop Michael Jackson from the Church of Ireland.

Photo courtesy of LWF
The Cathedral was filled for the mass, and I was privileged, as the representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion.

The ELCF is a member of the Porvoo Communion of Churches, and is thus in communion with the Church of England. According to ancient tradition the Church of Finland was founded by St Henry,  an English missionary bishop and martyr in the 12th century.

The occasion was also a chance to catch up with the clergy serving our own congregations in Finland, including, Fr Tuomas Mäkipäa, the Chaplain of St Nicholas Helsinki, second from left below.




Friday, 8 June 2018

Ecumenical colleagues in Rome bid fond farewell to Canon Jonathan Boardman


On 30 June the Revd Canon Jonathan Boardman takes leave of his post as Chaplain of All Saints Anglican Church in Rome to assume a new position as Vicar of St Paul’s Clapham. Fr Jonathan has been serving in Rome for 19 years. In addition to his parochial responsibilities, he has been a key player in the rich ecumenical environment in the Italian capital. He has also served as Archdeacon of Italy and Malta for 9 years and guided Anglican life in the Archdeaconry through some major developments, including the legal recognition in Italy of the Church of England. He has also in the past as senior tutor for courses at the Anglican Centre in Rome, for 10 years. It has indeed been a rich ministry in Rome. 

On 6 June Fr Jonathan’s colleagues from many churches hosted a service of evensong to thank him for his ecumenical leadership in Rome. The service was in the Roman Catholic Church of St Francesco Saverio (St Francis Xavier) del Caravitaa 17th-century baroque oratory in Rome, home to an English language Roman Catholic community, and itself place of significant Anglican-RC encounter. The director of the community of Caravita is the Revd Professor Keith Pecklers SJ, a professor of Liturgy in Rome, a close friend of Anglicans and a valued ecumenical partner. 

Oratorio del Caravita
I was privileged to preside at the ecumenical vespers. Along with other ecumenical colleagues, Fr Tony Currer from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Revd Tim Macquiban, Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome, representing the Churches Together in Rome, I give a word of thanks to Fr Jonathan for his work, parochial, archidiaconal and ecumenical. Fr Jonathan preached the homily, which on the feast of Blessed Ini Kopuria, the Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, was particularly apt as Ini Kopuria’s community has produced martyrs who are honoured, uniquely as Anglicans, in the Roman Catholic Basilica of St Bartholomew on Tiber Island, along with other modern martyrs of the Church. Fittingly, on the morning of 6 June, Fr Jonathan was greeted at the  General Audience by Pope Francis. Fr Jonathan asked for the Pope's prayers as he takes up his new post. In turn the Pope as Fr Jonathan for his prayers. 

Canon Boardman will remain an honorary canon of the Diocese in Europe, and we pray his rich ecumenical and cross-cultural experience will now enhance his ministry in Clapham.


Fr Jonathan, Fr Tony Currer (Pontifical Council for Christian Unity), Prof. Fr Keith Peckers SJ, the Revd Tim Macquiban (Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome), the Revd Prof. Prof. Eric Noffke (Waldensian Theological Faculty) 

Saturday, 2 June 2018

An inspiring Anglican-RC initiative in Malawi, carrying forward the vision of IARCCUM


The article below is not directly connected to the work of the Diocese in Europe, but is a project to which I am indirectly linked through my co-chairmanship of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, IARCCUM, which has endorsed this ground-breaking work. But furthermore  this programme could not have happened without the active leadership of Anglicans in Rome, Fawn and Ken White, and long-time friends of our Diocese, namely Archbishop Sir David Moxon (former Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome), and Fr Keith Peckers SJ, (Director of the Caravita Community in Rome). 

The project is an outstanding witness to fruitful Anglican-Roman Catholic cooperation, jointly serving the poor. I hope will be an encouragement to other projects and programmes, whether great or small, which demonstrate Anglican and RC commitment to working and witnessing together throughout the world. 

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Joint Anglican-Roman Catholic Delegation Visits Malawi
to Celebrate Ecumenical Scholarship Programme

4 of the "St Timothy" Scholars
A joint Anglican-Roman Catholic delegation visited southern Malawi last week to celebrate the success of an ecumenical scholarship programme started last year by the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi.

The delegation of eight included Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Anglican Co-Chairman of ARCIC, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission; Father Keith Pecklers SJ, Director of the Caravita Community in Rome, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute; and Mathilde Nkwirikiye, the internationally recognised human rights lawyer, whose husband Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

The St. Timothy Scholarship Programme was launched in September 2017 as a direct response to the Common Declaration of His Holiness Pope Francis and His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, issued at San Gregorio al Celio in Rome on 5 October 2016, wherein they and 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic Bishops commissioned by them pledged to work together in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth” to give voice to their common faith in Jesus Christ. The programme has been warmly endorsed by IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

Mathilde Nkwirikiye (R) with the grandmother of one of the scholarship winners


The programme, which is funded by offshore donors and managed jointly by the two Dioceses, provides scholarships to enable children from the poorest families to attend residential secondary schools run by the Dioceses on an all expenses paid basis. The scholarships, valued at c. €600, cover tuition fees, room and board, school uniforms, school shoes, athletic wear, stationery, toiletries, bedding, school bag, scientific instruments and a travel allowance funding the student’s cost of travelling from home to school and return by public transport at the beginning and end of each school term.

For the academic year commencing September 2017, a total of 558 applications were received for the 40 scholarships offered. The scholarship winners, 20 girls and 20 boys, are each attending one of four residential secondary schools run by the two Dioceses.

On the initiative of delegation members Kenneth and Fawn White, a new charity called the “Walking Together Foundation” has been formed to raise funds on a tax-deductible basis for the Malawi scholarship programme and for future ecumenical projects that may be initiated by other bishop pairs anywhere in the world.

The delegation was welcomed by Bishop Brighton Vitta Malasa of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and Bishop Montfort Stima of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi, whose ecumenical partnership gave rise to the scholarship programme. The delegation visited the schools, presented medals to the scholarship winners and visited some of the scholarship winners’ homes. At the end of the four day visit, an ecumenical prayer service was held at the chapel of the Chilema Ecumenical Centre at which stoles were presented to the Bishops in recognition of their strong commitment to ecumenism and the success the scholarship programme has achieved since its introduction last year.


L to R: Fr Keith Pecklers, Bp Montfort Stima, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Bp Brighton Malasa

 Photos courtesy of Cristiano Barbarossa 



Tuesday, 29 May 2018

St George's Venice hosts anniversary of council of churches



The Revd Canon Malcom Bradshaw, the Chaplain of St George's Venice, continues to lead the chaplaincy forward in its growing ecumenical commitment. Fr Malcolm has sent me this report on an important anniversary of interchurch life celebrated in St George's.  
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‘Rejoicing in the work of the Spirit’ was the theme of an ecumenical service compiled and hosted by St George’s Anglican Church in Venice. It was held in the evening of Thursday 24th May to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the ‘Council of Churches in Venice’.

The service took the form of a Liturgy of the Word, including the reading the Pentecost narrative in a variety of languages. Other elements of the liturgy came from the rich and varied traditions of the Christian Churches, in several languages. For example, the service included a Pentecost Troparion (liturgical hymn) from the Romanian Orthodox Church, Taize chants, Veni Creator Spiritus sung in Latin, Agios O Theos of the Greek tradition and Church of England material for Pentecost from Common Worship: Times and Seasons.


The priest of the Roman Catholic parish in which St George’s is located was invited to preside. He was supported by the pastor of the German Lutheran Church, the Ecumenical Secretary for the (RC) Patriarch of Venice, the parish priest of the Romanian Orthodox Church (preacher for the occasion), the lay leader of the Waldensian Church (who led the Peace and the Commitment parts of the liturgy), the priest for the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC) in Venice and the Churchwarden and Chaplain of St Georges. 

Sadly, some of the committed members of the Council, such as the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Adventists and the Greek Orthodox Church, had to send their regrets to this occasion, but nevertheless, about 100 people attended. A much appreciated anniversary cake was prepared and donated by the local Charismatic Episcopal Church – a Filipino congregation.

Canon Bradshaw cutting the cake

Photos courtesy of Paula Rudinoff

Friday, 25 May 2018

Ascension Day joy in Malaga


Ascension Day this year was especially joyful as I visited St George's Malaga for confirmations. There were 7 candidates who had been prepared by the Revd Doreen Cage, the Assistant Curate, and the Revd Gilly Pawson, honorary assistant priest.

St George's is the oldest Anglican Church in mainland Spain and over the years has given birth to the other chaplaincies along the Costa del Sol from Estepona to Almuñécar. Today it is a multicultural congregation, with members from the USA, Canada, Spain, Ireland, the UK and Nigeria among other countries.  


Candidates lead in song
Frequently part of the confirmation mass includes a moment when the candidates speak a word or two of testimony, witnessing to the reasons why they are taking this step. In St George's, the candidates led the congregation in song instead. Bearing witness is not always about words!



A festive gathering in the patio concluded the celebration.



Unknown to the parishioners, earlier that day the Churchwardens and I concluded the final steps in the appointment of a new Chaplain for St George's Malaga. (We could not announce it at the time of the Confirmation, as things had to be coordinated with London), but the word has now been made official and the Chaplaincy is very pleased indeed.

Canon Wignall with the Churchwardens 
The new Chaplain is the Revd Canon Paul Wignall. Fr Paul has held a number of parochial and diocesan posts in Truro, Coventry, Hereford and Lichfield dioceses. He has also taught at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. Besides being a priest, he is a trained social worker and a playwright. He is married to Carlynn, a Scot from the north-eastern town of Peterhead, who after more than 30 years as a civil servant has now found her true vocation working with young people in and out of school. Both are very excited about moving to Malaga. We welcome them to this diocese!


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Added joy at a confirmation in Torrevieja

With the bottle of water from the Jordan River
A recent confirmation service in the parish of SS Peter and Paul, Torrevieja, Spain, was special in two ways.

First of all the water that was used for the recalling of baptism was from the Jordan river itself. One of the candidates was given this as a gift to mark the occasion. The gathering at the font is a key part of the rite of confirmation, when those already baptised sign themselves with the water to remind them of their baptismal covenant and that moment when they were born anew in Christ.


Secondly, a candidate, Carole, from the neighbouring parish (2 hours away!), Costa Almería, joined the candidates from Torrevieja. Carole has mobility challenges which unfortunately prevented her from being able to attend her planned confirmation in her home chaplaincy, but was able to receive the sacrament in Torrevieja, joined by friends from Costa Almería who accompanied her. Torrevieja Chaplaincy is known for its warmth of welcome, and Carole was made to feel most at home. In her own words: "To say that our hosts at St Peter & St Paul, Torrevieja put on a superb display of hospitality would be an understatement."


SS Peter and Paul Torrevieja is a chaplaincy consisting of eight churches extending from just south of Alicante down the coast to La Manga near Cartagena. The Chaplain is the Revd Fr Richard Seabrook SSC.



Monday, 21 May 2018

Three members of our Gibraltar Archdeaconry Synod are honoured by the UK Ambassador to Spain

Canon Ormrod, Sandra Wrightson, Fr Seabrook
On Saturday 19th May, the UK Ambassador to Spain, HE Mr Simon Manley CMG, hosted a garden party for the Royal Wedding. Quite to their surprise, three members of our Gibraltar Archdeaconry Synod who were present were awarded certificates by the ambassador to acknowledge their contributions to the British communities in Spain, where they live, work and serve. The three honoured were the Revd Canon Paul Ormrod (Madrid), the Revd Fr Richard Seabrook SSC, (Torrevieja) and Sandra Wrightson (Nerja).

With HE the UK Ambassador
This award was completely unexpected, and the recipients feel very honoured indeed. It is good to know that the UK Embassy is aware of the vital role our congregations in Spain play in serving the large numbers of UK citizens in the country. Of course, we serve people of dozens of nationalities, but in Spain there are over 300,000 UK citizens resident full-time and so many of them look to our Churches for pastoral care, friendship and support.

We are very proud of the three recipients for this honour, and congratulate them!



Friday, 18 May 2018

A prayer for a brother being confirmed

Rosemary Selle with Candidate Danny
The English Church in Heidelberg is currently without a resident priest (we are actively recruiting) but that has not stopped the growth in faith among members of the congregation. Reader Rosemary Selle recently prepared a candidate for confirmation and presented him to me at a recent parish visit.

Testimonies are frequently given by the candidates for the sacrament of Confirmation, but in Heidelberg something different happened, which moved us all. A prayer was prayed for Danny, which had been composed by his big sister Divya. I post it below. It is beautiful.

Danny’s confirmation prayer written by his sister Divya:
Dear God,
Thank you for letting us all come and gather here today, under your watchful eye.
Thank you for guiding my brother all through his life and for staying with him through all these years both as a mentor and as a friend to turn to in times of need.
We are unendingly grateful to you, Oh Lord, for bringing my brother to this point in his life, where he is ready to become a part of your flock and ready to walk in the path that your son Jesus Christ has set before us.
We know, dear Lord, that you are always watching over us and protecting us, and for the constant holy presence of your Spirit, we give you thanks.
We learn and remember, every year, the sacrifice your beloved Son Jesus Christ made to save us from death and deliver us into eternal life in heaven, and we give you thanks.
We know that our beloved grandfather is also witnessing this incredible moment in my brother’s life with you, my Lord, through your almighty power, and for that we give you thanks.
I pray that you will continue to watch over my brother for the rest of his life, and that he will always have someone to turn to in times of trouble.
I pray that you will help my brother and keep him safe as he grows into a wonderful, caring person, as you have done so far.
And I pray, Oh Lord, that you make today special for my brother, so that he may carry the memories of this day well into his life and always remember you as well as always follow in the ways of your Son.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen
There has been Anglican worship in Heidelberg for over 400 years. The first services were held in the chapel of the castle.


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Bishop Michael Curry, preacher at the upcoming royal wedding, a friend of our diocese

Catherine Jackson and Bishop Michael Curry
It is surprising news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have asked the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the Most Revd Michael Curry, to preach at their wedding this Saturday. Many in the Church of England may not even have heard of him. However, he is known to this diocese in Europe, and we are known to him. When Catherine Jackson (former Appointments Secretary) and I had discussions with colleagues in New York about recruitment and appointments, Bishop Michael made himself available to us and was genuinely interested in the work and mission of our Diocese in Europe and fully supportive of it. He was pleased to know of the many priests of the Episcopal Church USA who have served or are serving congregations of our diocese, or who are on our extensive locum list. 

We found Bishop Michael to be a most warm and engaging person. I have never heard him preach, but he has a reputation of being one of the Communion's best preachers. My sense is he will present an attractive and exciting face of our global Anglican family at this high profile event.