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.



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.


Friday, 3 July 2015

Signing off for some holiday


I am taking a couple of weeks leave, beginning Saturday 3 July, so there may be few blog posts during this time. Deacon Frances Hiller is able to reach me, if there are any urgent matters.

I am inspired by very wise words that the Revd Darren McCallig recently wrote to his parishioners: (Fr Darren is the Chaplain of St Alban's Copenhagen).
I think that taking time away from the incessant demands of phones, emails and social media might be one of the most counter-cultural things that people of faith can do in today’s world. The practice of “switching-off” is, when you think about it, a beautiful act of trust and witness. It testifies to the conviction that God is able to act in the world apart from our human efforts or achievements — it is not all up to us!
Thank you Fr Darren!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Prayer for Greece

Photo by Philly boy92, via Wikimedia Commons
Europe is the world's richest continent. Yet we in Europe cannot seem to find a creative way to assist the struggling members of our own family in their time of need. The policies of our institutions, as well as the prescriptions of the IMF seem, inadvertently, to be punishing the entire population of a country. I speak, of course, of Greece.

Yes, it seems clear that Greece cannot pay its debts. Yes, it was likely that in the past Greek governments were not entirely transparent about their financial situation. Yes, there was a huge degree of overspending when there was little in the coffers but borrowed money anyway. Yes, there was likely no culture or consistent enforcement of tax collection. A litany of mistakes could go on.

But it was not the hard-hit pensioners and workers (those that still have jobs) that negotiated huge bailout loans, for which there now seems to be a ruthless demand for repayment. Our priests, lay ministers and parishioners of our Anglican Churches in Greece certainly do not report that the people benefited from the loans. It is likely that the bulk of these funds were sent out of the country right away to pay off other creditors. On the other hand, austerity has increased the suffering of the people.

I am not an economist, and have a very limited understanding of all these things. I do recall that both economic prosperity AND social justice were central pillars of the EU vision. But it is not as an economist, merely as a pastor and bishop in this diocese that I urge us all to pray for those in the Greek government, the EU institutions, the European Central Bank and the IMF. There is no shortage of great minds, or economic and technical expertise, surely! Have we tried a creative, even a risky solution - perhaps one that has never been tried before for fear of overturning global economic principles? I can't help thinking about the NRSV translation of the Lord's prayer in St Matthew 6.12: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

Churches, especially the Orthodox Church, with whom we Anglicans in our small way seek to work alongside, have limited resources to respond to the scale of need. Let us in this Diocese continue to pray for our sisters and brothers in Greece, and for the work of all volunteers, clergy and lay ministers who are seeking to respond to those whose lives have been so seriously impacted by the measures imposed. Let us pray earnestly for a just and fair solution that does not cause even greater hardship.
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. 
The Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, Chaplain of Greater Athens

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Charlotte Sullivan ordained deacon in Limeuil

St Catherine's Church

On Sunday 28 June, in the ancient parish church of St Catherine on a hilltop in the remote village of Limeuil in the Dordogne, over 150 people gathered for a historic and moving service, the ordination of Charlotte Sullivan to the diaconate.

The church is not easily accessible by car, and there is virtually no parkng at the top, so a shuttle service ferried parishioners from the Anglican Chaplaincy of Aquitaine from the bottom of the hill to fill the church to overflow. Several local French people from the village attended, including the Mayor and his wife, and the former Mayor and his wife. St Catherine's Church has been given over for Church of England sole use by kind agreement of the Mayor and the local Bishop.

Charlotte is presented by the Archdeacon of France and the Director of Ordinands
8 of the priests who serve the parish attended, as well as 4 of the parish Readers. This was virtually the last official function of the Chaplain of Aquitaine, the Revd Dr Paul Vrolijk, who is shortly to move to Holy Trinity Brussels.

Also present with a major part to play were the Archdeacon of France, the Venerable Ian Naylor, and the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, who officially presented Charlotte to me for ordination. The deacon of the rite and preacher was my own chaplain, Deacon Frances Hiller, which was most fitting, as Charlotte is a "distinctive" or permanent deacon, like Frances, and is not simply in transition to the order of priest.

In fact, Charlotte's call to the diaconate is strong and clear, despite not having many models of this ministry to observe, and despite some mild pressure on her to consider priesthood. Her own faith is based on humble service; she has a particularly strong sense of reliance on God, and a deep calling to be alongside those who are marginalised, those in pain and distress, and those on the edges or even beyond the Church's reach. The number of distinctive deacons in the Diocese in Europe is now at 6 with two more in training.

Deacon Frances reading the Gospel

Charlotte hears the acclaim of the people, assenting to her ordination
Charlotte is very well known in this local Church having come to faith there many years ago, and was confirmed there. It is not surprising then, that there were loud shouts of ‘We will’ as I asked the congregation if they were in accord with Charlotte’s wish to be a deacon and if they would support her. The response was strong and moving!

Canon Gulliford leads the singing of the ordination litany
The Revd Dr Paul Vrolijk exhanges the peace with Deacon Charlotte

The choir under the direction of Nasrine Talog-Davies led the beautiful music of the liturgy, and were joined by flautist Clare Monceret. The music continued after the service when, at a celebratory lunch, at Charlotte's, a Jazz Band played for our entertainment. Charlotte's late husband Kevin, who died just over a year ago, was a cornerstone of that Jazz Band, so many felt his own presence at the celebration through the music.



Charlotte with her family

Deacon Charlotte thanks the Jazz Band
Deacon Charlotte, I am sure, is also the first person to be ordained in the diocese in red "sneakers" or "trainers". Red for the Holy Spirit, of course, and the style of shoe in keeping with her active ministry!

Friday, 26 June 2015

St Ursula's Berne squeezes in double the usual capacity for a service of Baptism and Confirmation


Anglican worship in Berne, the Swiss capital, dates back to about 1832. The present church building St Ursula's was built in 1906. It holds 100 comfortably, but on Sunday 21 June, over 200 squeezed in (and spilt outside) for a festive service of Christian initiation. It certainly does not feel like the Church of England in Europe is on the decline!

Candidates for Holy Baptism an Confirmation from Berne were joined by others from Christ Church Lausanne and the Anglican Church in Neuchâtel.


The chaplain of St Ursula's is the Venerable Peter Potter, who is also the Archdeacon of Switzerland and Acting Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe. He is assisted by the Revd Linda Bissig. The Revd Adele Kelham accompanied her candidates from her two Churches in Lausanne and Neuchâtel.

A moving part of the confirmation rite itself was when each sponsor presented their candidate to me, mentioning a couple of biographical details. It is humbling to take part of the lives of such interesting and beautiful people!


As is typical of our parishes in Europe, the candidates came from backgrounds in 4 continents. I had great conversations with people from Kenya, Nairobi, Zimbabwe, Iran, Sri Lanka, the USA, and Canada, not to mention Switzerland.

St Ursula's clearly enjoys their fellowship meals. Groups of families and friends gathered for a multicultural feast in the gardens around the church as well as in the parish hall.



Monday, 22 June 2015

French Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee launches its work on Daily Prayer

French ARC and other leaders of the Anglican and RC Churches at Evensong at the French Bishops' Conference Chapel
The members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee of France (French ARC) presented the fruit of their work of the past five years last Wednesday 17 June, when they launched their study of the Daily Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.

The document, available in both French and English, is entitled “O Lord, open our lips” or “Seigneur, ouvre nos lèvres”. It points out the convergence between the Anglican and Roman Catholic liturgies for the daily office, and promotes common prayer between communities of both traditions. (There are over 80 Anglican congregations in France, served by about 35 priests. Many of these congregations use Roman Catholic buildings for their services). A range of practical suggestions are offered in the document to encourage a rediscovery of this common tradition and to how such common prayer can bring Anglicans and Roman Catholics in France even closer in our ministry and witness.

French ARC is chaired by the Revd Canon Matthew Harrison of St George’s Paris, and Archbishop Robert Le Gall, Archbishop of Toulouse.

Canon Matthew Harrison introduces the work of French ARC at the launch
At the launch it was noted that, although there is a similar obligation on the clergy of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church to pray the daily office, the services of Mattins or Morning Prayer and Evensong or Evening Prayer is much better known among Anglican laity than the equivalent Lauds or Vespers among the laity of that Church.

Increasingly there are Roman Catholic parishes in France where weekly eucharistic worship is not possible due to a shortage of priests. In an Anglican context it would be quite normal in such a circumstance for a lay minister to lead a service of morning or evening prayer. It was noted that thanks to our common tradition, many Catholic laity may be able to rediscover a liturgical practice, which is certainly not absent from their tradition, but from which another ecclesial family - the Anglican Communion - draws more life.

It was also noted that even in an increasingly secularised Europe, cathedral style celebration of Evening Prayer – Evensong – are alive and flourishing in English cathedrals and major parish churches, despite being a very ancient and traditional form of prayer. The committee noted that this expression of liturgy, deeply rooted in our common heritage, may be saying something important about our evangelisation strategy.

Canon Debbie Flach, a member of French ARC, points out some features of the document
Significantly the French version of Seigneur, ouvre nos lèvres has been published by the official documentation service of the French Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

To conclude the launch of the document a service of Anglican Evensong was celebrated in the chapel of the RC Bishops’ Conference, sung by the choir of St George’s Church, Paris.

Copies of the report in English are available from St George's Paris. French copies can be obtained from the office of the French Catholic Bishops' Conference.



Thursday, 18 June 2015

Pastoral care by Athens Chaplaincy mentioned in new autobiography


Extradited is a memoir written by Andrew Symeou who was extradited to Greece from UK in 2009 on a murder charge dating back to an incident Andrew was not connected with in 2007 on a Greek island, where another young man sadly lost his life. Andrew spent a gruelling two years in detention and on bail in Greece where he was lovingly supported by his family and friends.

This true story has a connection to the pastoral work of our diocese: the Athens Chaplaincy, and particularly Reader Christine Saccali, were involved in providing on-going pastoral care to Andrew.

He was finally acquitted in 2011. Christine Saccali says, "He is a remarkably courageous individual who has sought not to be embittered by his dreadful experience at the hands of the law. He has written his story in order to prevent anyone else suffering the same miscarriage of justice".

In Extradited special mention is made of our Athens Chaplaincy and the pastoral work of its priest and Reader.

Athens Chaplain Canon Malcolm Bradshaw and Reader Christine Saccali
As a result of this case “The Symeou Clause” added to legislation in 2014 reforms the European arrest warrant by barring extradition where no decision has been taken by the issuing state to try the requested individual.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Lambeth Declaration on Climate Change


Faith leaders in Britain and Ireland have have pledged to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change in a new declaration warning of the challenges facing the world over global warming. They released today a declaration on climate change which I post below.

Today is also the eve, of course, of a much anticipated Papal Encyclical on this subject which will be published tomorrow, 18 June. The Papal Encyclical is entitled Laudato Sii, or “Praised be”, from words used by St Francis of Assisi in a canticle in which he praises "Brother Son","Sister Moon", "Brother Wind" and "Sister Water".

The canticle can be found in our Church of England Common Worship: Daily Prayer as canticle 84 on page 641. Perhaps it could be prayed daily between now and the Climate Summit in Paris in December. Many may also know a hymn version "All Creatures of Our God and King".

The text of the Lambeth Declaration is below:

____________________________________________________________________

Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change

As leaders of the faith communities we recognise the urgent need for action on climate change.

From the perspective of our different faiths we see the earth as a beautiful gift. We are all called to care for the earth and have a responsibility to live creatively and sustainably in a world of finite resources.

Climate change is already disproportionately affecting the poorest in the world. The demands of justice as well as of creation require the nations of the world urgently to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 degrees C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun. We have a responsibility to act now, for ourselves, our neighbours and for future generations.

The scale of change needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy is considerable and the task urgent. We need to apply the best of our intellectual, economic and political resources. Spirituality is a powerful agent of change. Faith has a crucial role to play in resourcing both individual and collective change.

We call on our faith communities to:

  • Recognise the urgency of the tasks involved in making the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Develop the spiritual and theological resources that will strengthen us individually and together in our care of the earth, each other and future generations.
  • Encourage and pray for those engaged in the intellectual, economic, political and spiritual effort needed to address this crisis.
  • Work with our communities and partners in the UK and internationally to mitigate the effects of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world;
  • Build on the examples of local and international action to live and to work together sustainably,
  • Redouble our efforts to reduce emissions that result from our own institutional and individual activities.

As representatives of the vast numbers of people of faith across the globe we urge our Government to use their influence to achieve a legally-binding commitment at the international Climate Change talks in Paris, and with the continuing programme beyond.  Through our various traditions we bring our prayers for the success of the negotiations.

We call with humility, with a determination enlivened by our faith and with awareness of the need for courage, justice and hope.  We are faced with a huge challenge. But we are hopeful that the necessary changes can be made - for the sake of all who share this world today - and those who will share it tomorrow.

Signatories to the Lambeth Declaration 2015 include:

Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Rt Revd Dr Joe Aldred, Acting General Secretary, Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations, Churches Together in England
Rt Revd John Arnold on behalf of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Rt Revd Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston
Most Revd David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Most Revd Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh
Gauri Das, ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Bhaktivedanta Manor
Mrs Gill Dascombe, Vice President of the Methodist Conference
Rt Revd John Davies, Church and Society for the Church in Wales
Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
Revd David Grosch-Miller, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Revd Torbjorn Holt, Chairman, on behalf of the Trustees of the Council of Lutheran Churches
Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and lead bishop for the Environment
Revd Kenneth Howcroft, President of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
Rt Revd James Jones, former Bishop of Liverpool
Mr James Laing, on behalf of the Trustees of the Council of Lutheran Churches
Rt Revd Martin Lind, Lutheran Church in Great Britain
Rt Revd Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius, The Mar Thoma Church, New York
Mervyn McCullagh, Executive Officer, Irish Council of Churches
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Ibrahim Mogra, Shia President of the Christian Muslim Forum
Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
Revd John Proctor, General Secretary, The United Reformed Church
Ven B Seelawimala, Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain
Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Indarjit Singh, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak
Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley
Revd Dr Donald Watts, Irish Council of Churches
Vivian Wineman, Co-Chair of the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg Masorti


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Licensed Lay Ministers at Diocesan Synod gather for an update and planning for the future

Readers with Senior Tutor, the Revd Elaine Labourel (3rd from right) and Director of Training Canon Ulla Monberg (right)
At the diocesan synod in Cologne last week an important "fringe" meeting was held for the Readers who are synod members. Readers (also known as Licensed Lay Ministers) are a vital part of the ministry team of our diocese. As lay theologians and trained preachers, they lead worship, preach and teach the faith, in many of our over 300 congregations.

Reader Angela Mirani, who is based in St John the  Baptist Church, Varese, Italy, now represents this diocese on the Central Readers' Council of the Church of England, in its executive committee. It is good that the Diocese in Europe is represented at this strategic level in the body which seeks to support and serve the over 10,000 Licensed Lay Ministers in the Church of England. Angela reported to the Readers at the Synod on the latest developments in Reader Ministry in the Church of England, including plans to celebrate 150 years of this ministry in 2016.

A small group has formed which will begin the planning for a diocesan-wide conference for Readers towards the end of 2016.

Angela (left) reports on the Central Readers' Council while Reader Madeleine Holmes takes notes