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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.



Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council meeting

Břevnov Monastery
The Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council has recently concluded its meetings, which were held at the Břevnov Monastery in Prague. This was the final meeting of the Council's present mandate and much of the work was focussed on preparing the final report to the Anglican Consultative Council and the (Old Catholic) International Bishops' Conference. The AOCICC is the official instrument serving the communion between Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Churches of the Anglican Communion which was brought about in 1931 through the Bonn Agreement.

At the closing Mass in the Old Catholic Cathedral (in sub-zero temperature), Mrs Jennifer Knudsen, a member of the Council from the Chaplaincy of St Boniface Bonn with All Saints Cologne, and a Reader in Training in this diocese, read a lesson. 

Jennifer Knudsen
Of course, being Prague, the monastery produces its own beer!



Below is the official communiqué:

____________________________________________________________________________


The Anglican–Old Catholic International Coordinating Council
Internationaler Anglikanisch/Altkatholischer Koordinierungsrat
(AOCICC)

Communiqué 2019

AOCICC with Cardinal Duka and Bishopp Malý

Prague, 19 January 2019


The Anglican–Old Catholic International Coordinating Council (AOCICC) met in the central European capital city of Prague, Czech Republic, from 16 to 19 January 2019. The meeting was hosted by the Union of Utrecht. This was the seventh and final meeting of the Council under its current mandate (2013–2019).


The work of this meeting centred on:

  • finalising the Report of the Anglican–Old Catholic International Coordinating Council 2013–2019 to the Anglican Consultative Council and the International Bishops’ Conference;
  • the importance of and progress made in Safeguarding in both Communions;
  • formulating recommendations for the next mandate of the AOCICC.


The Council was invited to the Archbishop’s Palace for a meeting with Cardinal Dominik Duka OP, Archbishop of Prague, and Auxiliary Bishop Václav Malý. The members were grateful for the opportunity to learn about the challenges facing the Czech Churches throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Worshipping together has always been integral to the life of the Council. Alongside the (Anglican and Old Catholic) Daily Office the Council celebrated the Eucharist in the Old Catholic tradition at the Old Catholic Cathedral of St Lawrence in Prague, at the invitation of the Dean the Revd ThDr. Petr Jan Vinš. The Council thanks him, his bishop, the Rt Revd PhDr Pavel Benedikt Stránský, and the Bishop’s Office for organising and hosting the meeting.

For further information, please contact the Revd Neil Vigers (neil.vigers@anglicancommunion.org) or the Revd Lars Simpson (lars.simpson@christkath-zuerich.ch).

Websites: www.utrechterunion.org and www.anglicancommunion.org



Members of the Council:


Anglicans


The Right Revd Michael Burrows, Co-Chair
The Revd Jennifer Adams-Massmann (not present)
The Right Revd David Hamid
Ms Jennifer Knudsen
The Revd Tony Litwinski
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, Anglican Communion Office (not present)
The Revd Neil Vigers, Co-Secretary, Anglican Communion Office
Ms Lucy Cowpland, Administrator for Communications & Unity, Faith, and Order, Anglican Communion Office


Old Catholics


The Right Revd Dr Dirk Jan Schoon, Co-Chair
The Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis
The Revd ThDr. Petr Jan Vinš
The Revd Lars Simpson, Co-Secretary


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Baptism of Our Lord at St John the Evangelist, Casablanca


The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord was an occasion for joyful celebration at St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca when several members of the congregation were confirned.

The services at St John's tend to be lively affairs, with much music and rhythm from sub-Saharan countries alongside western songs and hymns. During the sprinkling of the people, reminding them of their own Baptismal vows, a song composed by one of the Liberian members of the parish was sung. Fittingly, referring to God's grace, the song is called "It is Raining!"





Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, the Chaplain of St John's, was joined on the occasion of my visit by the Revd Canon Joanna Udal, who is an (ecumenical) member of a religious community in Casablanca. Canon Udal was the former Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs for the Archbishops of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and Justin Welby.


Meanwhile work continues apace on the St John's community centre, which will provide accommodation for educational programmes for young and old, a priest's office and other facilities for the community.



Monday, 21 January 2019

Celia Paterson, supporting Godly Play ecumenically and internationally



Celia Paterson is a Reader who serves in St George's Madrid. She is also one of Europe's leaders in Godly Play, a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture for those in early, middle and late childhood. It is without doubt a significant movement supporting the exploration of faith by children and young people in today's Church.

The diocese is justifiably proud of Celia's leadership in Godly Play internationally and ecumenically, a clear outworking of her Reader vocation to teach the faith and nurture disciples.  Here is an account from Celia of a recent event in Northern Spain:

_____________________________________________________________


I was invited to take part in a Young people’s retreat run by the De La Salle brothers in the north of Spain. It was immediately after Christmas – 26th-28th December – and was held in a beautiful monastery in Bujedo in the Province of Burgos.
I knew the brother organising it, Guillermo Moreno Barrero, from one of the Godly Play courses I had run and I was asked to help José Andrés Sánchez Abarrio run the Biblical ‘Itinerary’. He had chosen the theme of Abraham and we used several Godly Play stories among other things over the two days. José Andrés is a Biblical Scholar, who teaches at the De La Salle University near Madrid and has run some Godly Play courses with me, along with a nun, Mercedes Méndez Siliuto.
There were around 130 of us at the retreat. Most of our group were in their twenties, with two or three older people, including José Andrés’s secondary school headmaster! They were a lovely group of people.

I was asked to give a ‘Testimony’. I found the idea quite scary, but agreed to do it. I had to talk a bit about my life and faith, my role in the church and especially about Anglicanism. Then the people could ask questions.
There were some 40 to 50 people and I had a mixture of questions from the young people and de La Salle Brothers. I was worried I might get a deep theological question from one of the older de La Salle Brothers, but I managed to answer all the questions and anyway had Guillermo and José Andrés either side of me as my guardians!!
I found it very encouraging that so many people wanted to find out about the Anglican Church. I think I was probably the only person on the retreat who was not Roman Catholic.

There was a concert the last evening given by Sister Glenda, a Chilean nun who evangelizes through her singing. 
The two days were fantastic. The atmosphere was wonderful. I also learned a lot from José Andrés over the two days. The people came from all over Spain and many from Portugal and were so enthusiastic. I had met a few brothers through Godly Play courses, but now know a lot more. I felt very privileged indeed to have been part of the retreat.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

St Thomas à Becket, a very English and very European saint, patron of the Anglican Church in Hamburg


For over 400 years, since 1611, the English Church in Hamburg has been serving the English speaking community in the city. At first the congregation was made up of English residents who were largely engaged in shipping and trade. Today the Church is a multinational community; typically at the Sunday mass the congregation, which is regularly more than 100, represents over 15 nationalities.


The Church is dedicated to St Thomas à Becket. On 9 January a window depicting the saint was blessed, having been restored, mounted and illuminated in one of the upper galleries of the building. The glass, dating from the late 19th century, was donated by Graham Dry and his wife Beate Dry-von Zerschwitz who discovered it among other stained glass in a specialist shop in London.

The members of the congregation are proud to have this saint as their patron, particularly in these days when the relationship between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe is uncertain. They know that St Thomas à Becket is a very European saint. Just a couple of years after his martydom in 1170 in a provincial city on an off-shore island, he began to be honoured across the entire continent. As early as a decade after the martyrdom people from as far away as Iceland were including Canterbury on their pilgrimage agenda along with Santiago de Compostela and Rome. St Thomas is is a reminder that we in Europe share a history; we share a story; we share heroes; we share an identity. For over 800 years St Thomas has joined the English community to other European communities. His widespread veneration is a reminder that we are essentially one as people, united in proclaiming and living the great values and truths of the Gospel. 

Apart from speaking of our fundamental European solidarity and unity St Thomas's martydom, on the orders of King Henry II, reminds us our Christian calling to resist all abuse of power in our world today, and to stand with courage against all distortion of the Christian message and Christ’s values of justice, love and peace.  




Thursday, 3 January 2019

Spectacular, most beautiful. An ecumenical compliment!


Well, it is the 10th day of Christmas - no "Lords a-Leaping",  but instead here is one account of the ecumenical impact our traditional Christmas carol services have. It is from Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, the Chaplain of St George's Venice. Not a bad testimony from the city of the Gabrielis and Monteverdi!
____________________________________________________________________________

"Spectacular, most beautiful. To see and hear those young people singing really filled my heart."
Such were the remarks of Don Andrea the Roman Catholic priest of the parish in which St George’s Anglican Church, Venice, is situated. He had attended and participated in the service of Nine Lessons and Carols held in St George’s on 15th December. Immediately on returning home he sent the above words to Mr David Newbold the Churchwarden.

St George’s was privileged by having the contribution of thirty six voices from the choirs of Eton College and St Paul’s Girls' school, London. This was the first occasion that these two choirs toured together. The service (standing room only) proved to be a powerful act of worship. It also highlighted what a rich inheritance the UK has in its tradition of Christmas carols and music – something not found in southern Europe but increasingly appreciated in these parts.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Happy and blessed Christmas to Eurobishop readers

The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity Gibraltar, quietly awaits the first mass of Christmas
When peaceful silence lay over all, and night was in the midst of her swift course: from your royal throne, O God, down from the heavens, leapt your almighty Word (Christmas antiphon on the Magnificat) 
I wish all members of the Christian communities of the diocese in Europe, along with all friends and family, a joyful celebration of Christmas. As Jesus lived in love with Mary and Joseph, may every member of the human family live in peace and love.



Friday, 7 December 2018

Santiago Camino Chaplaincy prepares for 2019


The Diocese in Europe Camino Chaplaimcy is preparing for its second year of operation in 2019. It is proposed to extend the ministry from April/May through to October/November, and will be expanding to include not only the ministry on offer in Santiago itself, but chaplains who will be walking with pilgrims on the various caminos.

The Santiago base is "Egeria House" which is the home of Sybille Yates, the local coordinator for this ministry. 2018 was a fruitful pioneering year, some of the highlights being:
  • 27 church services (Sunday mornings in a chapel-like room the Parador Hotel has given us for free, Wednesday afternoons at Egeria House, followed by a shared meal).
  • Open House each weekday afternoon, for coffee/tea and chat.
  • Hospital and albergue visits to ill pilgrims, and ad hoc meetings with pilgrims on request.
  • Being present around town, and on the last kilometres of many Caminos to meet pilgrims, encourage them, welcome them and listen to them. 
  • Working closely together with ecumenical partners here in Santiago.
  • Providing practical help (food, equipment etc) to pilgrims that either came directly to us or were referred to us by our ecumenical partners.
One of the first congregations in 2018 with the Revd Liska Stefko, volunteer priest.
Plans for 2019, besides offering a presence throughout the pilgrim season, include, increasing the frequency of weekly eucharisstic celebrations followed by a shared meal, in addition to the Sunday Eucharist.  The “walking chaplains” ministering to pilgrims on the way, will be an important new dimension to this ministry as well.

Father Bob Bates, Camino Chaplain, blessing Estela the Camino Kitten on Saint Francis Day
These priests/chaplains, like all other volunteers, pay their own expenses, but we are seeking some funds to offer hospitality on arriva in Santiago and a welcome meal. There are other small overhead costs, such printing of material and basic supplies for the mass, and also costs of Egeria House.  It costs about €15 per day to run the Camino Chaplainc. Perhaps you might consider sponsoring one or more days? The ministry is run entirely on donations.

Please pray for this growing ministry of our diocese. For information on the Camino Chaplaincy follow this link. (http://egeria.house/chaplaincy/)

And if you would like to contribute financially through paypall, please follow this link.

Photos courtesy of Egeria House


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

CEMES Pilgrimage to the Holy Land


Six interns on the Diocese in Europe CEMES scheme, (a Church of England programme to encourage young vocations to the sacred ministry), 4 mentors and guests were led by Fr William Gulliford, the Director of Ordinands, on an 8 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 12 - 20 November. I was privileged to be part of the pilgrimage for a few days, along with the Revd Dr Matthias Grebe, (a former ordinand of this diocese and now on the staff at the Council for Christian Unity).

Director of Ordinands, Fr William Gulliford
The purpose of the Study Pilgrimage was to give a focus for the first term’s academic study for the interns and for to research one site of historic importance, about which a 4000 word essay is being written. On site, at each place, respectively each intern introduced the location to the group, and then fielded questions. For the many other sites, the group was most fortunate to have in support Dr Clare Amos, Director of Lay Discipleship in the Diocese, Hebrew Scholar and veteran of the Holy Land, having lived there for three years in the 70s and having visited multiple times since.

Director of Lay Discipleship, Dr Clare Amos
A strong focus, beyond exploring the Biblical significance of the Holy Land was getting exposure to Christian Orthodoxy, and a central part of the visit was a meeting with His Beatitude, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. Considerable discussion of the foundational aspects of Orthodoxy in the Holy Land took place, and resonated in the actual meeting with the Patriarch. For all of the interns this encounter with the Eastern Church was new, and of a particular contextual relevance.

The Revd Dr Matthias Grebe
Visits to the Al Aqsa/Temple Mount, and a Reform Synagogue meant some engagement with questions of Islam and Judaism was possible. A wider encounter with people from a range of backgrounds meant that the reality of life either side of a large separation wall was possible to get some sense of, with all the tensions, paradoxes and fears. Meeting people trying to overcome the entrenched positions gave hope and inspiration; but no one came away underestimating the task before all concerned.

The Tomb of Christ
Fr William notes that "the friendship of fellow pilgrims helped give a sense of the Church’s prayerful accompaniment and support of discernment. And the inspirational teaching of Clare Amos will live with all who sat at her feet".

A booklet of the entire pilgrimage has been prepared. There are many more photos and an account of the journey written by participants. I have uploaded the journal to this blog on a separate tab called CEMES Holy Land Pilgrimage.

Erik Heemskirk - Utrecht; Mark Van Eker - Brussels; Ben O’Neill - Vienna;
Isle Swart - Leuven;  Sharon Ejinkonye - Tervuren; Jonty Brawn - Lyon

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Solidarity in prayer with the Coptic Church

St Samuel the Confessor Monastery, Egypt

I have sent a message of solidarity on behalf of the people of this Diocese in Europe to Archbishop Angaelos, the Coptic Archbishop of London, on learning the news of the killing of 7 pilgrims travelling to St Samuel Monastery yesterday. Dozens more have been injured.
Your Eminence, dear Brother in Christ: once again our beloved Coptic sisters and brothers are mourning the deaths of pilgrims killed by terrorists in Egypt. I assure you of my prayers and those of our own communities for those who have died and for those who now mourn. May the Lord grant strength and consolation to your people and deliver Egypt from these acts of violence. In fraternal love +David
Please remember the victims, their families and the Coptic Church in the intercessions on Sunday.
Eternal God, in whose perfect realm no sword is drawn but the sword of justice, and no strength known but the strength of love: guide and inspire all who seek your kingdom, that peoples and nations may find their security in the love which casts out fear; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. 
Archbishop Angaelos

Friday, 2 November 2018

St Philip and St James Church in Palma: a vibrant community church


The Anglican Church of St Philip and St James in Palma de Mallorca is one of three congregations on the island (the others being Puerto Pollensa and Cala d'Or). Last weekend on a brief parish visit to Palma, I was able to catch up with the priest, the Revd David Waller, the Churchwardens and the members of the Chaplaincy Council to hear of their life and activities.

The chaplaincy seeks to maintain a profile in the English speaking community in Palma through many of its own activities and through providing a venue and support for other groups. On any given week, one can find times for meditation, prayer, and mindfulness, as well as drama, music (choirs and jazz) and fund raising events. Of course at the heart of the community life is the Sunday sung eucharist. One senses that the spiritual and community life of the parish is in a healthy state, with much joyful and committed lay support. 

On 28 October at the Sunday mass, several persons were confirmed. Like so many of our Spanish chaplaincies the diversity of the congregation at St Philip and St James Church continues to grow, as Anglicans from all over the world (and English speaking Christians) find a warm welcome and spiritual nurture in our congregations.

Fr David Waller is also Area Dean for Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. In Palma he is assisted by two clergy from the Uniting Church in Australia, the Revds Viv and Ron Larkin, who have permission as ministers of the Word, under the provisions of the Ecumenical Canons of the Church of England.


Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Pan Africa Day in St George's Madrid


Pan African Sunday, 30 September, at St George's Madrid included a service of confirmation, a Nigerian choir and an African feast after the mass. It was a day of exuberant joy. It felt like St George's was truly an place of international encounter for the many Christians in Madrid who speak English or who are from an Anglican background.



However, there was sad news for the chaplaincy that day. I had to announce that their beloved Chaplain, the Revd Canon Paul Ormrod, would be leaving. Fr Paul has been appointed to St John's Montreux and he and his wife Jill will be saying farewell to St George's at the end of December.

Book Sale at St George's
It has been such a fruitful time for the Ormrods in Madrid. He will leave behind a thriving multicultural community as was in evidence that Sunday. There is a vibrant Sunday School and three services each Sunday. The Church Council includes a good cross section of the parish, including some young adults. (I think possibly the youngest Churchwarden in the diocese serves St George's). There are numerous events which serve both the wider community in Madrid as well as bringing people to the Church and helping them make contact with this historic Anglican parish. Fr Paul has also been a key link to ecumenical partners in the city, especially the Roman Catholics. My pastoral visit coincided with one of the important outreach events in St George's, the Book Sale. Fr Paul also took me to visit the Misioneras de la Unidad, a Roman Catholic order in the city who run an ecumenical centre. There we met a young woman, Syrian Orthodox, who is a refugee from her home Syria, and heard her moving story.

The Archdeacon of Gibraltar will soon be beginning the to work with the parish in preparing the search for a new priest to build on the outstanding work of Fr Paul

Syrian refugee (left) at the Ecumenical Centre in Madrid
.

St George's ministry team includes Reader Celia Paterson, who is also an international leader in ministry with young people through her work on Godly Play. Celia serves on the board of Godly Play España and on the Godly Play International Council. Solomon Ike, originally from Nigeria, is a member of St George's now preparing for the Sacred Ministry.

Fr Paul, Solomon Ike, Celia Paterson in back row



Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A recent Reader training workshop: "Total joy and inspiration"

Canon Elaine Labourel introduces the weekend workshop
Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) and those in training for that ministry recently came together in Woking, England, for a workshop on the ministry of preaching. Organised by the Director of Reader Ministry, Canon Elaine Labourel, this workshop included some theological reflection on the doctrine of revelation, how God communicates divine truth to the human community, some principles of Anglican preaching, as well as practical guidance and skill enhancement in homiletics. The Revd Dale Hanson of St Mark's Versailles was a key resource person for the event. As Warden of Readers, I was also able to spend some hours with the participants.

Reader Angela Mirani (left) was the first Reader I admitted to this office back in 2003


These training events are very well supported by the Readers, and are generally oversubscribed! One participant thanked Canon Labourel for her encouraging leadership, "because of her, the reader workshops are always a total joy and inspiration".

Another participant, Simone Gallop has written a report on the event for the Diocesan website, in which she says,
"We were treated to excellent talks from Bishop David and Dale covering the theology behind preaching the Word as well as practical advice and tips on how to preach effectively. All this to help us to lead people to an encounter with the living Christ.
On the final day we were ‘put on the spot’. Each person was given a page of the newspaper. We were asked to pick a headline or an article. We were given 30 minutes to write a ‘four minute thought for the day’, which we were to present to the rest of the group. It was a fascinating exercise, intended to teach us to ‘think on our feet’. Everyone entered into the spirit of the event with enormous creativity. Elaine and Dale gave ‘honest’ but constructive comments on our efforts. It was a wonderful weekend with good friends, inspiring worship, excellent teaching, fellowship and fun. It was another very successful Reader workshop." 


A couple of short videos were made at the workshop, interviewing some of our Readers who speak about their ministry: