WELCOME...

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.



Monday, 24 August 2015

Where do you think this Church is?


Where is this church? Somerset? Wiltshire? Actually Copenhagen! St Alban´s Church, looking very English, is in a peaceful corner in the centre of the Danish capital. Although very English in style, and often referred to as "the English Church", there are 28 different nationalities on the electoral roll of this vibrant parish.


Last weekend was a busy one for St Alban's with the annual fête on what ended up to be a gloriously sunny Saturday, which brought crowds to the event to buy English language books, British food delicacies, or enjoy a barbecue and beer and watch a performance of some traditional British dances from a bygone era.


The organisation of the fête would be enough for one weekend, but on top of that, I happened by to confirm and receive several candidates on Sunday. And it was also a new organist's first Sunday on the job!

Photo courtesy of St Alban's Webmaster
The candidates came from English, Nigerian, English/Indian, Nigerian/Danish, and English/Russian backgrounds. One Churchwarden is Canadian and the other is from New Zealand. Oh, and the parish priest, the Revd Darren McCallig, is Irish. So a Scottish/Burmese bishop felt very much at home in this international community.  

Photo courtesy of St Alban's Webmaster
A reception following the service provided a welcome to many visitors who came for the confirmation as well a chance for the regular parishioners, including the British Ambassador, HE Vivien Life, to congratulate the candidates.

An Ironman competition in Copenhagen on Sunday, meant that many of the streets in the centre of the city were closed to vehicle traffic, including those around St Albans. Nevertheless, the Church was full.
HM Ambassador Vivien Life
St Alban's has a website here, and one of the most active social media presences in the Diocese. The Facebook page is here, and its Twitter feed is @AnglicanDK.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Stuttgart and Freiburg pilgrims in Canterbury

Fr Ken Dimmick with some of his pilgrims
"To Caunterbury they wende"... so says Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales. And off to Canterbury, from Stuttgart and Freiburg, went a group of pilgrims last week, led by the Revd Canon Ken Dimmick. Fr Ken is priest-in-charge of St Catherine's Stuttgart and is Area Dean of Germany.
The pilgrims spent time worshipping at the Cathedral and touring the venerable building with its shrine to the martyrdom of St Thomas Becket. They also visited other sites in the area, including St Martin's Church which St Augustine used as his mission headquarters upon his arrival in England from Rome in 597, and the ruins of the abbey he founded. 

The Ven Jonathan LLoyd
I was invited to join the pilgrims for Evensong on the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and for a splendid dinner afterwards. The former Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd, who is now a parish priest in Canterbury diocese, was another guest for dinner.

A special blessing was shared with Fr Wolfgang Siebenpfeiffer and his wife Edeltraud who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Fr Wolfgang is an honorary assistant priest in St Catherine's. 

Fr Wolfgang and Siebenpfeiffer

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Migrants in Athens - an update from Fr Malcolm Bradshaw


The Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw of St Paul's Anglican Church in Athens, continues to report on the influx of migrants and refugees into the city. Most are arriving in the capital after a journey from the Greek islands such as Kos, a popular destination for British tourists, just a half-hour sea crossing from Turkey. Many arrive in small dinghies. It is true say that the Greek government is not prepared for such numbers. 7000 are on the tiny island of Kos alone.



In the early morning, Fr Malcolm, with his colleague Captain Polis Pantelidis of the Salvation Army, visit the migrants to distribute milk and sandwiches. It is not long, however, before the arrival of the traffickers, and desperate migrants and refugees begin haggling with them about the cost of the next part of the journey, which could be a coach to the Macedonian border, or 3 nights stay in Athens while (false) documents and sorted for entry into Germany or Scandinavia.

Human trafficker (in green) negotiating payment for the next step
Huge amounts of money is being made by the traffickers from these migrants/refugees. Before long, the gathering places begin to empty as the migrants/refugees are led away by the traffickers.

So it happens each morning.

_________________________________________________________________

Here are instructions about how to donate to these emergency needs which are being coordinated by the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, the Senior Chaplain in Athens.

Donations can be sent to:

The Diocese in Europe
Attention Nick Wraight - Finance Officer
14 Tufton Street
London, SW1P 3QZ

Please mark the donation: Migrant Emergency Needs - Athens

Money may be transferred directly in to the diocesan bank account (details below). Please inform the Finance Officer, Mr Nick Wraight, if you are contributing in this way, so that the destination of the gift is clear.

Barclays Bank plc,
27 Soho Square,
London, W1D 3QR,
United Kingdom

Account name:                        Diocese in Europe Fund
Bank sort code:                       20-06-05
Account number:                    40317039
IBAN Account number:         GB43 BARC 2006 0540 3170 39
Swiftbic:                                 BARCGB22

Please do not hesitate to be in touch with Nick Wraight (nick.wraight@churchofengland.org) if you have any questions regarding transferring money.

UK tax payers may wish to take advantage of the Gift Aid scheme where for every £100 donated a further £25 is reclaimable by the Diocese, as a UK registered charity. The form is available for download here.






Saturday, 15 August 2015

Diocese in Europe and Diocese of Visby: Partnership in the Gospel

Some clergy of the Diocese of Visby outside St Mary's Cathedral; Deacon Ulf Kundler (centre) is known to many in the Diocese in Europe
"Spiritual Hearths and Movable Altars" was the theme for the priests and deacons meeting of the Diocese of Visby, Sweden. Visby is twinned with our own Diocese in Europe within the Porvoo Communion of Churches.

It is a diocese divided into two parts: the historic parishes on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, plus the communities of the Church of Sweden Abroad (SKUT). It is because of SKUT that Visby makes a logical partner for our own Diocese in Europe, even though SKUT covers the whole world beyond Sweden, not just continental Europe and Morocco.

Statue of Our Lady in Visby Cathedral
Gotland itself has 93 parish churches which were built between 1100 and 1350, most of which have many well preserved medieval features, wall paintings, reredoses, fonts and roods. The cathedral is dedicated to St Mary and was dedicated in 1225.

About 160 priests and deacons gathered for the meeting in Visby from Sunday 9 to Wednesday 12 of August. About 65 of them came from SKUT; some journeyed from as far away as Melbourne and Los Angeles, others from nearer parishes such as Oslo and London.


Bishop Sven-Bernhard Fast (above) invited me to be part of the gathering. It was a joy and a privilege. I was able to meet many old friends who are priests and deacons serving in several parishes close to ours as well as make some significant new contacts. There are many places in the area covered by our diocese where Swedish clergy are also serving their own communities. As Churches in Communion, I would encourage us to find ways to build on and strengthen these links in Europe.


The theme explored subjects close to our own heart - such as being pilgrims in a strange land, and how to manifest the fullness of the life of our Church outside its native context. Besides the time of worship, presentations and small groups, there was very generous hospitality in Swedish style, including a splendid medieval closing banquet.


Bishop Sven-Bernhard dismissed the gathering in a candlelit ceremony when candles were exchanged with a partner, as a sign of continuing to pray for one another.





Friday, 14 August 2015

Nominations for General Synod close on 28 August


The deadline for nominations for those who wish to stand for election to General Synod is fast approaching. Nominations will close at at 16.00 hours, London time, on Friday 28 August. So you're thinking of standing for Synod there are just two weeks to act!

In clear recognition of our growing diocese, in addition to the Diocesan Bishop we are now entitled to 3 lay delegates and 3 clergy delegates to General Synod. This is an increase of 1 in each of these houses.

Any serving clergy or retired clergy with permission to officiate and any communicant lay person who is on a church electoral roll and is 18 or above can stand. There is no need for lay candidates to be on a church council, deanery/archdeaconry or diocesan synod. The General Synod is the legislative body for the Church of England.

Past members from our Diocese in Europe have found this to be both a rewarding and important role, so if you are eligible, do give this prayerful consideration!

Details of how to to go about standing for election and what to expect once you are elected can be found on the Church of England website here.

If there is anything else you would like to know as you make up your mind do not hesitate to contact Mr Adrian Mumford, the Diocesan Secretary.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

St Mary's Didim mourns the violent death of their parish secretary


St Mary's Church in Didim, on the Turkish Aegean coast, is mourning the death of one of its members. Several days ago, Jan Bennett, was brutally attacked and murdered while walking her dogs close to her home in the village of Malomir in rural Bulgaria. Her body had then been set alight,

Jan and her husband also keep a home on the Turkish coast where she was a regular member and parish secretary of St Mary's Didim. The esteem with which Jan was held in the Didim area is demonstrated by the fact that the local Alevi community are holding a service of mourning for her this evening, to which the Parish Council has been invited. (The Alevis are a religious minority group in Turkey). On Sunday 9 August the 11 am Eucharist of St Mary's Church will be a memorial for Jan.

St Mary's is a congregation of the diocese, linked to St John the Evangelist Church in Izmir. It has a distinctively ecumenical ministry. English speaking Christians from many backgrounds attend the services and are fully part of our liturgical and parish life. St Mary's was chosen as the name because Didim is relatively near the ancient house of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built St John the Beloved Disciple, according to ancient tradition. The priest-in-charge of St Mary's is the Revd Maurice Ryan. The Church has a website here.

We pray with St Mary's, with Jan's husband, and with all her family and friends, for the repose of Jan's soul.
Almighty God, help us who mourn Jan to come to terms with her sudden and violent death and sustain us through this time of grief. And welcome our sister into the glory of Your Son and into the peace of her eternal home. 
Fr Maurice Ryan

The House of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ephesus

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Revd Dana English has a dream. Result: a successful programme for women from around the Communion

The Revd Dana English
One of the priests of our diocese, the Revd Dana English, was instrumental in the organisation and leadership of a recent successful course held at the Anglican Centre in Rome. Dana is Assistant Curate at All Saints in Rome.

The course was entitled "Female Leadership in the Church: Past, Present and Future". It was Dana's inspiration and initiative to hold such a course. She collaborated with the Revd Dr Lucy Morris from Perth, Australia in the design of the programme.

30 people, ordained and lay, from 15 different countries around the Anglican Communion attended the course which ran from 19 to 25 July. Rome is an ideal venue to reflect on the role of women in the Church. For a start so many early martyrs in Rome were women who left a lasting spiritual heritage with the Christian community and whose memory we still celebrate today: St Agnes, St Prisca and St Sabina, for instance. The programme at the Anglican Centre was able to use the example of these great saints as an opening for deep reflection on this subject.  

The Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, said that the programme will be repeated next year, owing to its success.

The Anglican Centre in Rome the permanent Anglican Communion presence in Rome and is a living symbol of our Communion's commitment to the full visible unity of the Church. The website of the Anglican Centre in Rome is here. I serve as a Governor of the Centre.

Archbishop Sir David Moxon





Monday, 3 August 2015

How to donate to the Athens appeal for support for migrants



Following on yesterday's blog post on the migrants in Athens, here are instructions about how to donate to the emergency needs which are being coordinated by the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, the Senior Chaplain in Athens.

Donations can be sent to:

The Diocese in Europe
Attention Nick Wraight - Finance Officer
14 Tufton Street
London, SW1P 3QZ

Please mark the donation: Migrant Emergency Needs - Athens

Money may be transferred directly in to the diocesan bank account (details below). Please inform the Finance Officer if you are contributing in this way, so that the destination of the gift is clear.

Barclays Bank plc, 27 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QR, United Kingdom
Account name:                        Diocese in Europe Fund
Bank sort code:                       20-06-05
Account number:                    40317039
IBAN Account number:         GB43 BARC 2006 0540 3170 39
Swiftbic:                                 BARCGB22

Please do not hesitate to be in touch with Mr Nick Wraight (nick.wraight@churchofengland.org) if you have any questions regarding transferring money.

UK tax payers may wish to take advantage of the Gift Aid scheme where for every £100 donated a further £25 is reclaimable by the Diocese, as a UK registered charity. The form is available for download here.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Fr Malcom in Athens reports on Afghan refugees in the Greek capital

The Senior Chaplain of Athens, Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, continues his engagement with ecumenical partners in attending to the needs of the growing numbers of migrants and refugees in the country. Fr Malcolm describes this as a "fast changing scene along with a sense of melt-down", politically and economically. The word on the street is that 2 million people are heading towards Greece!

On Saturday, Fr Malcolm assisted the Salvation Army in the delivery of sandwiches and mild to the approximately 800 families of Afghans who are now encamped in central Athens. Here are some photos of the camp and of Fr Malcolm's visit.


At 7.30 am Fr Malcom and Captain Polis Pandelis of the Salvation army arrive with sandwiches to meet the refugees arriving by metro having come by ferry from the Greek Islands.






Sanitary facilities are extremely limited in the camp, with just one hosepipe, one make-shift shower, and two chemical toilets for over 800 families.


Fr Malcolm sees the need for greater coordination among the churches involved in humanitarian outreach, and he has been instrumental in organising some meetings bringing together Apostoli (the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan social programme), the Anglicans, the Salvation Army and others. The Churches' Commission on Migration in Europe is looking urgently at how it can assist partners on the ground.

Meanwhile, Fr Malcolm would welcome any donations towards this humanitarian outreach. Funds are extremely scarce and the need is growing every day. Details of how to donate to this work will be available in the next couple of days, when I have discussed the appropriate channel with the diocesan treasurer.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

St Saviour's Riga issues a statement in support of refugees from Syria and Eritrea

St Saviour's Anglican Church, Riga
Latvia has announced that it will receive 250 Syrians and Eritrean refugees. According to our parish priest in St Saviour's, Riga, the Rt Revd Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, the Latvian announcement has occasioned an outpouring of xenophobia in some quarters in that country. St Saviour's has issued a statement in support of the Latvian government's decision to provide refuge for those fleeing war and persecution. Churchwarden Michael Mustillo, has also been to visit the hostel which houses some of the recently arrived asylum seekers. 

The statement from St Saviour's Church is below, a clear articulation of our Christian response in the face of the growing refugee crisis, for which we are grateful.

Incidentally, the UK has only admitted a mere 187 asylum seekers from Syria under its "Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme" and has just recently agreed to further 200. Relative to the wealth and resources of Latvia, this is astonishingly small number, given the extent of the crisis, in my view.

(Jana was the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain prior to her appointment as Chaplain of St Saviour's, an appointment made possible under the Porvoo Agreement).

St Saviour's priest Jana, presiding at a baptism.
_________________________________________________________________________________


Statement/press release
“Scripture has much to say about the treatment of the vulnerable and the need to welcome strangers and foreigners without suspicion. It is an essential part of the Church's mission and ministry to reach out to the marginalised and persecuted, and to stand in solidarity with them in their struggles, suffering and hopes.

Christians are also called to prophetic witness, to speak out against injustice and oppression; this might include asking questions concerning policies and attitudes that dehumanise and breed intolerance.” (from the Church of England web site).

Today we in Latvia are being asked to accept just 250 people fleeing persecution, war and injustice in Syria and Eritrea.

Syria, torn apart by a civil war, has seen thousands of its citizens killed and maimed by war and by Islamist violence. The infrastructure of this once highly developed country has collapsed.
Eritrea is now nominally at peace after a prolonged border war with Ethiopia, but the United Nations Commission on Human Rights reported in June 2015:

“The Government of Eritrea is responsible for systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that have created a climate of fear in which dissent is stifled, a large proportion of the population is subjected to forced labour and imprisonment, and hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the country, according to a UN report released Monday. Some of these violations may constitute crimes against humanity.”

As a congregation of the Church of England Diocese in Europe, St Saviour’s Congregation supports the efforts of the Government of Latvia to welcome a small proportion of those fleeing the perils of war, and persecution by their own governments.  The handful of new arrivals to our country are in no sense a threat to our way of life or to Latvian identity; instead it gives us an opportunity to extend a warm welcome and healing hospitality to people who have suffered terrible trauma. With help and encouragement, these new arrivals can become productive members of society, grateful for the opportunity of living in safety and security.

We are opposed to efforts to raise anxiety and intolerance over the arrival of refugees in Latvia, which are at best misguided, and at worst manipulative and racist.

The Biblical imperative is to welcome the stranger and the refugee. “17For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. 19You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10.17-19)

“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”... “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25)

We commit ourselves to continuing to extend a Christian welcome to all those in need, to the marginalised and persecuted, as St Saviour’s has done for 197 years for citizens of Latvia and all those who have sought help, friendship and refuge in our community.

In line with recommendations from our Church, and within the limits of our resources of time and funds, St Saviour’s will
Pray for peace; work for peace and justice; and seek to understand the causes of conflict and persecution in our world
Seek to work with other churches in Latvia to improve our awareness of the situation of asylum seekers and people caught in trafficking
Seek to work with other churches in Latvia to provide practical help and support to refugees and asylum seekers
Help refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into society in Latvia

On behalf of the Council of St Saviour’s Anglican Church

Jana Jeruma-Grinberga
Bishop Emerita, Chaplain

Friday, 31 July 2015

Athens young adult is recognised for her leadership


In the confirmation service there is a very important line in the liturgy when the bishop asks the candidates "will you seek and serve Christ in all people, loving your neighbour as yourself?" One young member of St Peter's, the Anglican congregation in the Northern Athens suburbs, has been recognised for her leadership, which stems from her Christian commitment. Greater Athens Chaplain, Fr Malcolm Bradshaw has written this brief report:
At the end of this academic year Nefeli Stamatelatos received a unique certificate at the Moriatis School in Athens where she is pupil. Last October she was responsible for initiating a programme of voluntary community work for the senior pupils. Her focus was the ‘Church in the Street’ soup kitchen which the Chaplaincy in Athens has helped to provide for over the past six years. The certificate was in recognition of this. Nefeli with other pupils helped with the distribution of the meals. 
Nefeli was confirmed in 2012 after receiving instruction from the parish Reader Christine Saccali. 
Congratulations to Nefeli and thank you for inspiring us.

Reader Christine with Nefeli
Such good news stories are so welcome from Fr Malcolm who continues to seek our prayers and support for Greece's deteriorating economic and social situation. He says that "each day we are faced with something new".

Some of the challenges soon to come, indicated by Fr Malcolm:
  • Possible hunger on Athens streets by September when redundancies, further cuts in pensions, and increases in taxation take effect. 
  • Increasingly dire situations in residential care institutions as funding becomes even tighter. 
  • Imports (and Greece is heavily dependent on imports) becoming alarmingly scarce - everything from office supplies to specialist medicines. 
While such economic difficulties are being faced by the population, the situation is compounded with the great increase of migrants and refugees arriving in the country. Over 31,000 arrived in Greece last June and the flow continues. Bishops on the islands nearest to Turkey report that incidents of violence over food supplies have broken out. The NGO’s on the islands, limited in number, are feeling increasingly overwhelmed. In the very heart of Athens there has recently emerged an encampment of over 700 Afghans – largely families with children.
God of all the world, give us wisdom in troubled economic times. May we never forget the true victims of financial crisis: those who go to bed hungry, those in utter despair. Strengthen all those who seek to bring your comfort and support to those in any need. Lead us all towards a fairer and more just world. And may your Kingdom come. 


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Dates in the life of St James's Porto: 1671 and 1815.


On Saturday 25th July a special service took place in St James's Church, Porto. It was both the patronal festival of the parish, the Feast of St James the Apostle, and the 200th anniversary of the commencement of the present church building.


200 years is a good stretch for a church, but the Anglican community in Porto in fact dates from long before 1815. The first priest to serve the British community was appointed in 1671. Porto, like several of our older Diocese in Europe parishes,and along with the likes of Bordeaux, Málaga, Madeira, Marsala, was founded in a place associated with wine! The British merchants who established the church in Porto were engaged in the exporting of wine to England and the importing of dried cod – the basis of the Portuguese specialty bacalhao –  from the seas off the British Colony of Newfoundland and Labrador. So it was from the start a very happy mutually beneficial arrangement for both Portugal and England.

Following the festive eucharist, the parish centre called "The Well House" was inaugurated and dedicated.

Fr Carlos, Fr Bob, Pastor José Manuel, Judith Murray
The Chaplain of St James's is the Revd Bob Bates who was joined at the service by the parish Reader, Judith Murray. Fr Bob is also the Area Dean of Portugal with Madeira. Bishop Jorge Pina Cabral of the Igreja Lusitana, Católica, Apostólica, Evangélica was represented by the Revd Carlos Duarte. The Revd José Manuel Cerqueira, a Methodist pastor, who has permission to preach in St James's under the provisions of the Ecumenical Canons of the Church of England, was also present, along with Capitão Filipe Gonçalves from the Salvation Army.