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.

Friday, 28 October 2016

An unusual "concelebration"

The blessing of pets and animals is often celebrated on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, or on a Sunday near that date. This coincides with the end of "Creationtide", originally an Eastern Orthodox initiative, which has spread to other Churches.

Our Director of Ordinands, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, is also the vicar of St Mark's Regent's Park in London. The London Zoo happens to be in his parish so obviously St Francis Day has to be celebrated in style.

On 2 October, he gathered with one of our diocesan curates, the Revd Doreen Cage, and about 100 parishioners at the Zoo, for a service before the penguin pool. Mother Doreen is a great animal lover, and in addition to her priestly duties runs a home for dogs in the hills above Malaga city, where is an assistant curate in St George's.

There are two remarkable things about the photo above. One is to observe Fr William engaging in an action song! The other is the penguin in the bottom left, dressed not too differently from the priests, apparently concelebrating the feast!

Fr William and Mother Doreen

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Fr Amos's refugee ministry is back on the road again!

Fr Amos in his new (second-hand, that is) vehicle
Fr Amos is mobile again! Thanks to a generous grant from USPG, matched by funds from the Diocesan Board of Finance, the Revd Amos Manga is back on the road ministering to refugees in Finland.

Fr  Amos is himself a refugee from South Sudan. He is the priest-in-charge of what we call the White Nile congregations in Finland. This is a remarkable ministry among the many refugees who have been resettled in Finland, from Sudan and South Sudan. This pastoral work requires extensive travel across this vast country to where the refugees have been resettled. A vehicle is an absolutely essential tool for this work. A while back, his former, very old car, simply died. Since then, Fr Amos has been limited in the scope of his work which requires him to travel to very scattered communities in this vast country.

According to Fr Amos, in recent months, several hundred new families have arrived and are now settled around mainly Northern Finnish cities: Kokkola, Kotka, Närpiö, Vaasa, Oulu, Lahti, with a small number in Helsinki and environs itself.

South Sudanese refugee youth at a confirmation in Vaasa
Fr Amos holds services (in Juba Arabic!) in many centres and also has camps for refugee youth, to assist with their cultural integration. Many adults in the White Nile congregations are also engaged in English-language classes, preparing for the day when they might be able to return to South Sudan, where English is now an official working language.

Here is a short interview with Fr Amos, recorded at the Nordic/Baltic synod meeting in Riga in September:

Many thanks to USPG (and the Diocesan Board of Finance) for their generous support to make this vital ministry possible.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Diocese in Europe, accompanied by our Anglican Communion and Ecumenical partners, consult on refugee issues in Europe

The Revd Dr Rachel Carnegie of the Anglican Alliance leads discussions on the Church's engagement
Representatives from our Diocese in  Europe, together with representatives from the congregations of the Episcopal Church in Europe came together for a 24 hour consultation in Cologne, Germany this week, to consider the matter of refugees and migrants in Europe. The consultation was sponsored by the Anglican Alliance, USPG, and the Weidenfeld Foundation,  We were joined by representatives from the Church in Wales, the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East’s Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, and the Diocese of Canterbury. Ecumenical partners included the Roman Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Lutheran World Federation, the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, the UNHCR, and the Church Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME).

There was a rich sharing of experiences and a realisation that there is a wealth of good practice, models, partnerships, and wisdom among our Christian communities on the continent of Europe, Morocco and Turkey. The challenges are great - even global, but the Church is able to provide a flexible, local, human response. A summary of the many ways and potential ways for engagement will be produced by the Anglican Alliance for our use. There was fruitful discussion around four varieties of ways of engagement as Christians:

  • Hands - practical help and skills
  • Hearts - spiritual gifts, prayer, wisdom
  • Heads - legal, linguistic, communications, project management skills and expertise
  • Human - networking, relationship building, providing space for discussion, linking to local NGOs and governmetn services. 

Gavin Drake from the Anglican Communion Office Communications department reported on the event for the Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS, He summarised a reflection I gave at the end of the event: 

Bishop Hamid said "that Europe was suffering from “an epidemic of amnesia” in which the Church had a role to be the “bearer of memory . . . to remind the community of who we are, where we have been, and where we have come from.”

He said: “The collapse of our moral leadership in the EU states, in the face of the current movements of peoples that we experienced in the past couple of years, is incredible in light of what this very continent has experienced during and in the aftermath of World Wars. . .

“We know, living in Europe, that there is growing conservatism, nationalism and in some places a right-wing ascendency. It is all feeding and growing fear and xenophobia. In all of this the church’s role is to make sure the truth is told.”

He challenged churches to “gently to correct the narrative” and to challenge in preaching and teaching, “the growing toxic narrative around the world.”

But it wasn’t all bad news. He said that the diocese was in a unique position to develop the practice of “migrants helping migrants.”

He said: “I know there is some dispute about the use of that term, but we as Anglicans in Europe are largely – not exclusively, but largely – a migrant church. We are a diaspora. We are not in our homeland, most of us. We are not in the land of our birth.

“So we should have a natural set of gifts to be able to share with other Christians in these lands – charisms that go with being a migrant church.”

He recognised that the consultation was addressing the needs of people who “are not voluntary migrants” but said that the experience of church members who “had to find in the land they moved to” local knowledge, local values, language skills, networks of support, and ways that families could flourish were “gifts that we know and can share . . . migrant to migrant.”

He asked: “Can it be that God has planted us here as Anglicans on this western fringe of the Eurasian continent to, at this day, take up this particular missionary challenge?”  

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Gift to St Nicolas Ankara from Iranian parishioners

In our parish of St Nicolas, Ankara, there are a number of members from Iran. These members have often faced great hardship because of their religion. The priests and people of St Nicholas offer pastoral care, counsel, and fellowship in a warm Christian community in this parish situated at the crossroads between East and West.

Three Iranian women parishioners recently painted a mural for St Nicolas, as a gift to the community which has welcomed them and supported them. The mural which depicts the Resurrection in Eastern style is pictured above.

The women have written this comment about their work:
We are three Iranian sisters who live in Cankiri, a city in Turkey.
We are interested in art and painting. We used to paint portraits and landscapes, but were always searching for our own style. On the day we were born again and received Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we knew that we were to paint the word of God . We believe that people can turn to God through painting, just as well as through sermons. We therefore call our work a "visual sermon". By the help of God and the support and assistance from the Church, we were able to do a small service to St Nicolas' Church in Ankara.
The subject of this painting is the resurrection of Christ. We hope that our picture conveys the message of God's endless love for all mankind. We wish that with each brush stroke that we can bring hope to those who have lost it.
Our desire is this work is appreciated and we believe that with grace the of God we will be able to do this type of service more in the future. We sincerely thank all whom helped us in this service.
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

IARCCUM summit concludes and a new chapter in Anglican-Roman Catholic official relations begins

IARCCUM Bishops exchange the peace with the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury

The IARCCUM summit meeting of 36 bishops chosen as official representatives by their Churches from around the world for a momentous pilgrimage together to both Canterbury and Rome, has now drawn to an end. The summit marks the beginning of a new chapter of the official relations between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.

IARCCUM stands for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. I have the great privilege of being the Anglican co-chairman of the commission; my Roman Catholic counterpart is Archbishop-designate of Regina, Canada, the Most Revd Donald Bolen.

Dr Anna Rowlands accompanies the bishops on their (theological) journey

It was a packed week with significant times for prayer and worship in such places as Canterbury Cathedral, St Peter's Basilica and St Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome. Much hard work was done in plenary and small group work and drafting sessions. There were very important meetings and encounters with the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pietro Parolin (the Vatican's Secretary of State), Cardinal Kurt Koch (President of the Pontifical Council for the Promoting Christian Unity) and other officials. We received major theological input from Dr Anna Rowlands of Durham University on the Social Teaching of Anglicans and Roman Catholics. We made and heard presentations at a major academic symposium held in the Gregorian University.  And deep and committed friendships were formed.

Archbishop Don Bolen (rt) co-chairs IARCCUM session with Archbishop Welby

It is impossible to summarise the many fruitful outcomes of the summit. In the days and weeks ahead these will appear on our official IARCCUM website, which is linked to from this blog. Nevertheless here are some very brief highlights which point to the historic nature of this meeting:

We affirmed our common faith

  • We recognise each other as brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism. 
  • We have found significant agreement about Eucharistic doctrine, ministry and salvation. 
  • We have reached important convergence on authority, the Church as communion, moral principles, Mary and the saints, and episcopacy (including the role of the bishop as the symbol and promoter of unity). 
  • We share common traditions in liturgy, spirituality, and forms of consecrated and monastic life.
  • We have noted the complementarity of our social teaching and of our pastoral efforts to live the Gospel of mercy and love. 

IARCCUM bishops at Mass in St Peter's, Rome

We discovered deep dimensions to the "certain but imperfect communion" we share: 
  • "An ecumenism of the cross" uniting us as we bear together the plight of our people who face the challenges of our troubled world, as we stand with the poor, and reaching out together to reveal Christ’s presence among those at the margins of our world. 
  • “An ecumenism of humiliation” as we share the brokenness of our church communities, our failure to protect children and vulnerable people from abuse, women from violence, and indigenous people from exploitation.
  • "An ecumenism of hope" as we commit to working in the power of Holy Spirit, walking alongside each other in healing the world’s wounds, "dispelling the gloom of this world with the light of the Gospel, with the non-violent power of a love that conquers sin and overcomes death.” 
Anglican Co-Secretary Canon Dr John Gibaut (left) and RC Co-Secretary, Fr Tony Currer (right)

A commission from Pope and Archbishop 

At a service they jointly led at the Church of San Gregorio al Celio, while referring to obstacles to our full unity, Pope Frances and Archbishop Justin Welby nevertheless stated that despite these differences "we are undeterred". The Pope and Archbishop commissioned the IARCCUM bishops

  • to engage in an "ecumenical mission to those on the margins of society" 
  • to "work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ", 
  • to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon. 
  • to be "artisans of healing and reconciliation in the power of the Gospel", and 
  • to "go forth as pairs of pilgrims, returning to our home nations and regions to encourage common prayer, mission and witness".

IARCCUM bishops

So much more can be said, and our IARCCUM work in a new and vigorous phase now begins.

Dr Anna Rowlands with Bishop Alwin Samuel from Sialkot, Pakistan 

Below is the official communiqué from the IARCCUM summit.


Commnuniqué from IARCCUM Summit
"New steps on an ancient pilgrimage: Together from Canterbury to Rome"

30 September – 7 October 2016

IARCCUM 2016 has been an extraordinary, historic summit, rich in symbolism and significance for the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church.

It brought together 36 bishops from around the world for a week in Canterbury and Rome to celebrate the deepening relationship between the two traditions over the past 50 years – and to find practical ways to work together to demonstrate that unity to the world and address its social and pastoral issues.

The highlight was the mandating of the bishops by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a service they jointly led at the church of San Gregorio al Celio. The service also saw the Pope and Archbishop exchange gifts as a sign of friendship – echoing the moment in 1966 when Pope Paul VI presented his papal ring to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey – a moment that ushered in a new era of dialogue.

The days in Rome also saw the formal presentation of a document detailing 20 years of work on reconciling the two traditions by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. And the bishops attended a symposium on current relations between the churches and the possibilities of future co-operation and dialogue.

The time in Canterbury was also rich in symbolism. The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, David Hamid, gave the homily at a Catholic Vigil Mass in the undercroft of the Cathedral. The following day, the Archbishop-elect of Regina, Donald Bolen, preached the sermon at the Sung Eucharist.

Bishop David – who co-chairs IARCCUM with Archbishop Don – said the summit had been an historic time in the history of our official dialogue, and deeply valuable.

“This has been an immensely rich occasion, full of significance for our two traditions. It has been a source of deep joy to all the bishops gathered from all over the world, who have shared their experiences, their challenges and their wisdom. It was a profound time of collegiality and communion, and they are inspired now to go out into the world and work together for unity and common mission.”

Archbishop Don said it had been an incredible time and he was excited about the future.

“The bishops engaged in everything in a way that was beautiful to see. Strong friendships have formed. In our discussions, we did not shy away from the difficulties we sometimes face. But the possibilities for our two traditions working together in a needy world are abundant and promising.”

One of the bishops, Archbishop Paul Nabil El Sayah from Beirut said the summit had been a joyful occasion that would yield practical results.

“The atmosphere has been very positive,” he said. “You can feel there is deep, sincere fellowship and a willingness to bring new things forward. I am completely sold on practical ecumenism. I see lots of potential. This is not about looking inwards but about coming to the outside world together. The more we come together, the more our message has credibility.”

Bishop Alwin Samuel, from Sialkot in Pakistan, has been working alongside Archbishop Sebastian Shaw from Lahore during the summit. Bishop Alwin said he was looking forward to collaborating more with the Catholics at home.

“We have been looking at how we can take concrete steps towards unity. One example is where we have existing projects of our own. We looked at how we could begin to work together on them. For example, in areas such as health, especially women’s health, where one church might provide the resources and the other would deliver them.”

Presenting the work of IARCCUM at a symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University

Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Welby with IARCCUM bishops at the Anglican Centre in Rome

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

IARCCUM bishops have begun their work in Canterbury

The Bishops process into Canterbury Cathedral

After more than a year in planning, the summit of IARCCUM bishops is now underway. IARCCUM stands for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. Since 2012 I have been the Anglican Co-chairman of this Commission. The Roman Catholic Co-chairman is Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon, Canada. (Bishop Bolen is soon to be the Archbishop of Regina).

The summit has together pairs of bishops, Anglican and Roman Catholic, from 19 regions of the world, for prayer, study, and preparation for joint witness and action. The summit is called "New Steps on an Ancient Pilgrimage: Walking Together from Canterbury to Rome".

IARCCUM was established by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church as an official component of our international dialogue, working in parallel with the theological commission known as ARCIC. IARCCUM’s purpose is:

  1. to facilitate the development of strategies for translating the degree of spiritual communion that has been achieved into visible and practical outcomes;
  2. to promote and monitor the formal response and reception of the agreed statements of ARCIC;
  3. to strengthen relations between ARCIC and national Anglican-Roman Catholic Commissions (ARCs), and between different national ARCs, providing support and resources in order to foster an exchange of information and practice;
  4. to encourage Anglican Provinces and Roman Catholic Episcopal Conferences to establish ARC dialogues where they do not exist;
  5. to encourage Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops to develop projects and programmes of joint witness and mission in the world.
The bishops pray at the site of St Thomas Beckett's martyrdom

This weeks "pilgrimage" provides an opportunity for the pairs of bishops to receive spiritual sustenance for their task as they join in prayer and liturgy. We have been inspired by the witness of the saints of Canterbury, particular St Thomas Beckett. Now in Rome, where our journey continues, we will receive a commission for our work from the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We recognise that in these days, greater witness to our common faith is necessary, and greater collaboration in mission and service in the world is an imperative.

Preaching at the Roman Catholic Vigil Mass

The bishops began their work in Canterbury with energy and dedication, sharing the challenges they face in their regions, their present joint work and future hopes for such work. In Canterbury we were graciously hosted by Dean Robert Willis and the Cathedral community. Now in Rome, the work of formulating new paths on the journey to full communion continues, drawing from the rich tradition of social teaching imbedded in the life of both Communions.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

UN Summit: A very cautious optimism

With Canon Andrew Khoo
Last week I was privileged to represent the Anglican Communion at the United Nations General Assembly meeting on refugees and migrants. Along with a colleague, Lay Canon Andrew Khoo of Kuala Lumpur, in the Province of South East Asia, we were able to observe the summit close at hand for 48 hours and witness the historic signing of the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants signed by the leaders at the UN.

I came away from the summit impressed by the sheer vast nature of the gathering: the 193 member states of course who are the key players, but also the range of groups from around the world representing civil society, Christian and other faith representatives, NGOs, UN and Development agencies and others, who together recognise that we are facing a global crisis, a crisis that needs a new approach that will need solidarity from all.

A Syrian Refugee gives his testimony before the UN
There were some very significant voices that said we needed to recognise that the systems for dealing with refugees and migrants have failed. In those moments of honesty the world leaders admitted that this new, better, comprehensive approach is urgently needed.

The New York Declaration is not perfect.There are huge gaps in the new initiative, particularly around the funding commitments which have to be negotiated separately. Many of the 90 paragraphs in the Declaration are phrased vaguely or are only “considerations”. There is now a process of 2 years work ahead of the member states to agree further concrete details of the global "Compact". So my enthusiasm about the global community gathering to address this vital issue is tempered by these realities. I am only cautiously optimistic.

Among the hopeful signs that I would point to however, from the perspective of our Churches, is the fact that embedded in the New York Declaration is a recognition that faith based organisations have a role to play in this new comprehensive approach. As to what that role may be, it must certainly involve us in the constructing of a new narrative about refugees. The New York Declaration boldly about the need to counter xenophobia, racism, blaming migrants and refugees for all sorts of problems. Here the Churches and our own Anglican Communion have a role in helping to change this toxic narrative. As Christians, embedded in our biblical tradition are stories of exile, refuge, sanctuary, migration and persecution of peoples. God's message to his people through the biblical stories is a clear challenge to respond with welcome and hospitality to strangers, sojourners and refugees. While the Churches of the Anglican Communion and indeed other Churches do not have much money to contribute to addressing the scale of the crisis, nevertheless, Christians can play a vital part in helping to counter the growing worldwide xenophobic demonisation of refugees and migrants.

Another hopeful sign from the Declaration is the identification of the vulnerability of certain groups, particularly children and women, who need special and heightened protection and attention. This coincides with the Churches' own perspective and commitment to serving the most vulnerable among the vulnerable.

I commend the Anglican Communion Office at the UN for its close monitoring of these issues on our behalf, and for their engagement with partners in advocating for the necessary changes.

Cardinal Perolin, Vatican's Secretary of State, at a fringe meeting

Monday, 19 September 2016

A warm parish and ecumenical welcome to the new priest of St Thomas Becket, Hamburg


The richness of our ecumenical life became evident last Saturday as I licenced the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel as Chaplain of St Thomas à Becket Church in Hamburg. Many seafaring nations have long-established churches in this ancient Hanseatic city, which are now in communion with the Church of England thanks to the Porvoo Agreement. Of course the Lutheran Church is the local church and we have warm ecumenical partnerships with them through the Meissen Agreement. The Bonn Agreement of 1931 brought us into full communion with the Old Catholics. Additionally we have very fruitful dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church and the Methodist Church. All this contributed to a splendid turnout for Fr Leslie's licensing service with clergy and representatives from the Churches of Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Old Catholics, Lutherans, Roman Catholics and Methodists joining members of the parish who welcomed their new priest.

Fr Leslie comes to this post as one of the Church of England's leading ecumenists; his immediate past position was the European Ecumanical Secretary for both the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Combined with his own international background, fluent German language skills, and a passion for mission, outreach, fine music and liturgy, he is poised to lead this vibrant and historic parish into a bright future.

It was joyful musical liturgy to inaugurate Fr Leslie's ministry, with members of the parish presenting him with symbols of his priestly and pastoral ministry which will build them up in their own life in Christ. European and African hymns and psalms were sung and greetings and words of welcome exchanged in German.

We welcome Fr Leslie to this diocese

Photos: Roland Magunia


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Learning about an inclusive church in Latvia

Members of the Nordic/Baltic Deanery Synod
The theme of inclusion was explored in many ways during the recent Nordic/Baltic deanery synod of the Diocese, which met in Riga, Latvia. The Bible studies, led by the Revd April Almaas, used a technique which encouraged us to read the scriptures from the perspective of a variety of characters which she assigned to us, as a way of understanding how different people often hear different things from the scriptural text.
April Almaas leads Bible Study

Synod delegates at work
The Area Dean, the Revd Nick Howe, led us through an exercise which was based on a questionnaire filled in by parish reps and their clergy as to various ways in which their parish was, or was not inclusive of differently-abled persons, visible minorities, men and women and people of different sexual orientation. It was interesting to compare and contrast the views from the clergy and the laity!

Area Dean Nick Howe
The Principal of the Theological Faculty of the University of Riga, Professor Dace Balode, gave us an engaging lecture about the status of women in Latvia since the regaining of independence from the Soviet Union. She included in her lecture the situation of women presently in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, which is, sadly, an example of non-inclusion in the life of the Church.
St Saviour's
The synod joined the congregation of St Saviour's on Sunday for the liturgy. It was a joyful celebration, with two choirs giving excellent musical leadership, a sumptuous community lunch following the mass. At the end of the service, I was invited to dedicate the crypt which had been recently renovated and which is used for the many outreach programmes of the Church, with the elderly, the homeless, those suffering from addictions and refugees.

The blessing of the renovated crypt
St Saviour's, led by their priest, Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, is known to be a unique parish in Latvia, with a particular ministry of openness to those who feel, for whatever reason, excluded from other Christian congregations. I recorded a moving testimony from one of the members of St Saviour's, Irma, who spoke of how the outreach ministry of the parish in the crypt first attracted her, then she soon found herself worshipping "upstairs". Although Irma, by her own admission, is still exploring what life in Christ means for her, she is convinced that there is something beautiful and welcoming happening at St Saviour's which makes it a place to grow in her faith.

Friday, 9 September 2016

A diverse clergy chapter gathers in Riga

Clergy of the Nordic/Baltic Deanery

From Iceland to Estonia, the clergy of the Nordic and Baltic Deanery have gathered in Riga, Latvia, for a chapter meeting, prior to the full deanery synod. "An Inclusive Church?" is the intriguing theme for the synod and the clergy are spending some time in prayer, bible study and fellowship, considering dimensions of this theme and the extent to which it is a challenge in the parishes they serve. In terms of national/ethnic inclusivity, the Deanery Chapter is very diverse indeed! I count 11 countries of origin for the priests and deacons of this part of the Church of England.

The tower of St Saviour's Riga

The chapter began with a tour of the historic old town of Riga, with a particular focus on the ecclesiastical history of this ancient city. St Saviour's Anglican Church has a prominent and historic place in the old town, within walking distance to ancient Churches of Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist traditions. St Saviour's is helpfully located on "Anglican Street".

An introductory session was led by the Very Revd Karlis Zols, the Dean of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELCA) Deanery in Latvia. The LELCA is a Church in Communion with the Church of England, as a signatory to the Porvoo Agreement. The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia, however, is not a member of the Porvoo family. Dean Zols gave an interesting overview of the history of the Latvian Lutheran Church which largely went into exile abroad (with its Archbishop) when the Soviet occupation of the country began. Many pastors who did not leave the country were deported to Siberia. In 1989 an Archbishopric IN Latvia was restored, hence the existence today of the two jurisdictions. The Latvian Church abroad jurisdiction now has 5 parishes back in the Latvian homeland itself.

Dean Zols with priest of St Saviour's the Rt Revd Jana Jeruma-Grinberga


Monday, 5 September 2016

Fr William Gulliford DDO reports on new interns being placed in our parishes

Four new interns on the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme (CEMES) have just attended a two day residential induction. Fiona Hill (back middle), Joshua Peckett (front middle left), Alison Speed (front middle right) and Annie Bolger to the right of Alison have started their programme which lasts until the end of June 2017.

CEMES is part of a strategy to give those considering ordination a parish-based framework for the discernment of their Christian vocation. As well as structured time in parishes alongside clergy and lay people, taking an active part in the ministry of the place, there is time for personal reflection and spiritual guidance with a mentor and monthly academic input from a theological educator.

After a pioneer year in 2015-2016 with two UK interns being placed in Brussels and Ghent, this year 3 of the interns are from the UK and one from within the diocese. Fiona will be based in St John and St Philip The Hague, Joshua will be based at Holy Trinity Brussels, Alison at Holy Trinity Geneva and La Cote, and Annie in Sts Martha and Mary Leuven. Parishes are asked to cover expenses and all accommodation costs, while the National Church provides a grant per intern of £2,000.

The mentors on the scheme are the chaplains: the Revd Andrew Gready (The Hague), the Revd Canon John Wilkinson (Holy Trinity, Brussels), the Revd Canon Alex Gordon, (Holy Trinity, Geneva), the Revd Carolyn Cooke (La Cote), the Revd Canon Professor Jack McDonald (Leuven).
The North West Europe hub is served by Mrs Janet Sayers (Pastoral Supervisor) and Jack McDonald (Educational Supervisor). The Geneva hub’s team consists of Miss Mary Talbot (Pastoral Supervisor) and Dr Clare Amos (Educational Supervisor).

The Diocesan Director of  Ordinands, Canon William Gulliford, has been working with this wider team to plan the event and to co-ordinate the growth of the scheme. We hope that the scheme will grow. (The Diocese in Europe was actually offered grants for up to 8 candidates this year). We look to be able to find places for more candidates next year, so if your chaplaincy is interested, please contact the DDO.

Please pray for the new interns and their chaplaincies.

Friday, 2 September 2016

We have got the means. Have we got the will? Fr Malcolm at Greenbelt on refugees

Fr Malcolm at Greenbelt. Photo: Leah Gordon, USPG
It was a year ago today that the photos of three year old Alan Kurdi, dead on a Turkish beach, triggered a grass roots wave of conscience that moved governments and international agencies to take action on the refugee crisis. The refugee crossings from Turkey to Greece have reduced considerably this year due to the EU-Turkey migration deal. (However, that the numbers risking their lives to cross from North Africa to Italy and Malta are not reduced). But now over 57,000 asylum seekers are trapped in Greece, held in squalid conditions, despairing of their future. Only about 5,000 refugees in Greece have been relocated to other EU countries, out of a total of over 66,000 promised such resettlement.

Our Anglican Church in Greece, headed by Senior Chaplain, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw MBE, has been active in motivating ecumenical partners and agencies to coordinate activities and share resources to address the complex changing situation in the country. The Anglican Mission Agency, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), has been supporting our diocesan efforts and continues to support Fr Malcolm and our Church in Greece in reaching out to the refugees now stuck in camps and detention centres.

USPG invited Fr Malcolm to speak at the Greenbelt Christian Festival last weekend about this work with refugees in Greece. The challenges have changed from a year ago, but the efforts are as intensive as ever. "In the camps", says Fr Malcolm, "a huge diversity of cultural groups live side by side crating a tinderbox that can flare up at any time. People are in despair having fled their warring homelands to find new homes in Europe and now find themselves long-term residents in camps, struggling to feed their families and obtain the basic necessities for survival. In these desperate circumstances, when a person from one cultural group is finally entered into the asylum process, this can trigger a violent reaction from another group who has not received this status".

This is the focus presently for the Anglican Church and USPG: reaching out to refugees in the camps with medical support, nutritious meals, legal advice and support for vulnerable children.

Here is a very moving clip from Fr Malcolm's presentation at Greenbelt:

Father Malcolm Bradshaw at Greenbelt from USPG on Vimeo.