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.



Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Anglican Angels in France

Michael (archangel)Image via Wikipedia
Today is the Feast of St Michael and All Angels and two churches of the diocese in Europe, both in France, celebrate their patronal festival.

St Michael's Paris is a large and busy multinational congregation (5 services on Sunday, including one in Tamil and one in French) in the heart of the capital, just a few hundred metres from the Elysée Palace. It was founded in 1834, originally as the British Embassy Church, but is now a home to people from over 30 nations. It is a community active in mission and outreach and also has a vibrant ministry to young adults and students. The Revd Philip Mounstephen is the chaplain. He is assisted by the Revd John Moore, the assistant curate, and two lay ministry assistants, Liz Houghton and Paul McIntosh. Check out the website of St Michael's Paris, here.

St Michael's Beaulieu-sur-Mer is at the other end of the country on the Riviera between Nice and Monaco. It also serves a community composed of a wide range of nationalities from British to Icelandic. Services began in 1891 and the present building was completed in 1894. St Michael's is a centre of cultural and musical life in Beaulieu and the home also to a congregation of the Church of Denmark which worships there once a month. Excellent relations have been nurtured over the years with local Roman Catholic authorities; the Priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Dr Roger Greenacre, a scholar of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations was honoured by the French Government in 1998 which appointed him Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite for his contribution to ecumenism.  The website of St Michael's Beaulieu-sur-Mer is here.

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

New Archdeacon of Switzerland, the Venerable Peter Potter


The Venerable Peter Potter, chaplain of St Ursula’s Berne with Neuchâtel and Thun, became the Archdeacon of Switzerland on Friday 25 September. Bishop Geoffrey Rowell “collated” the new Archdeacon during the eucharist at the end of the recent Clergy Conference in Cologne. Archdeacon Potter and his wife Shareene came to St Ursula’s in June 2008 from the diocese of Glasgow & Galloway in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

In the Church of England an archdeacon provides pastoral care of the clergy and oversees their ministry within an area of the diocese, an archdeaconry, on behalf of the bishop. Archdeacons have the title “The Venerable”. In the Diocese in Europe there are 7 archdeaconries.

A synod of the Swiss Archdeaconry Synod meets twice a year. There are 28 Church of England congregations in Switzerland, although some have services only on a seasonal basis. Click here for the official diocesan announcement of this appointment. The archdeaconry has a website here. St Ursula’s website is here.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

“Entertaining Angels: Hospitality as Mission”



The 2nd conference for the clergy of the Diocese in Europe ended on Friday. For 5 days in Cologne, 142 licensed priests and deacons (out of a possible 150), from Iceland to Morocco, and from the Canary Islands to Russia, gathered at Kardinal Schulte Haus for the conference which was entitled “Entertaining Angels: Hospitality as Mission”. The programme was stongly geared to continuing education for our ministry in Europe. It included worship several times each day, and presentations from key note speakers, Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP (pictured above with the Revd Canon Debbie Flach), Professor Brian Thorne and Professor Musa Dube. These three speakers brought a richness of perspectives from their own experiences: a former Master of the Dominicans; a psychotherapist and lay theologian; and a female, African biblical scholar. 10 workshops on various topics were run, and of course there was time simply to enjoy each other's company around the bar. Many were meeting their colleagues for the first time as there has been a 45 % change in the clergy since the first conference in 2005. It was a packed agenda, with much stimulating input and presentation, but less time to digest the material during the conference itself. This will have to be done in the weeks and months ahead. I reported to the clergy on Thursday afternoon on some of the issues and themes that emerged during the life of the conference, and on which we as a diocese will be reflecting as we move forward in our mission and ministry. For example (and these are just a few of the areas we explored):

The diaspora: The gifts and challenges of being outside one’s homeland, learning what it means to “sing the Lord’s song in a strange land”; overcoming fear of losing identity, reaching out to people with greater sensitivity.

The Earth: keeping our planet as a beautiful, hospitable home for all, working to be better guests of God on earth.

Embracing difference: difference is to be celebrated; it is interesting, exciting. Community life, love as expressed in the doctrine of the Trinity and a moral (not moralistic!) vision will help equip our Church to be open to others in hospitality, compassion, empathy and friendship.
Rublev Trinity (Tretyakov)
We received a prayer card of the Rublev Icon of the Holy Trinity inscribed on the back with this prayer: God bless our diocese, inspire its worship, sanctify its people and make each of its churches a home for all who seek you.





The Revd Paul Needle, our diocesan communications officer, has prepared a short (4 minute) audio report of the conference which includes many participants speaking of their experiences and the blessings they have received. Click here to listen to it.

Some pictures are in my photo album here.


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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Anglican and Episcopal Churches in Germany Explore Ignatian Prayer Together


A unique experience of Anglican unity is lived out in Germany where the congregations of the (Church of England's) Diocese in Europe and the Convocation of American Episcopal Churches in Europe (part of the Episcopal Church, USA) share a common deanery-like structure called the Council of Anglican / Episcopal Churches in Germany, CAECG. Twice a year the clergy and lay representatives of the 16 congregations meet for prayer, worship, study, fellowship and joint mission and ministry planning. The meeting is chaired by the Revd Christopher Jage-Bowler, (pictured here)  the Church of England's Area Dean for Germany, who is also the Chaplain of St George's Berlin. On 18 to 19 September, CAECG met in Hamburg. Apart from the usual deanery business, the delegates explored aspects of Ignatian Spirituality, led by the Revd Andrew Walker of the London Centre for Spirituality. It is a hopeful sign in these days of stresses within our Anglican Communion, that official delegates from the Church of England and the Episcopal Church congregations in Germany want to spend time in community, learning to pray together and learning from each other. The CAECG concluded with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St Thomas Becket Church in Hamburg. The chaplain of St Thomas Becket, the Revd Roger White, concelebrated with me on the occasion of his 44th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood, and a young adult member of St Thomas Becket was confirmed.
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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Conversations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark

Holte Church as seen from the north.  Holte, D...Image via Wikipedia
On 15 to 16 September, together with the Bishops of Guildford, Edinburgh and Dr Paul Avis of the Church of England Council for Christian Unity, I was in Copenhagen for conversations with officials of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark about various aspects of the Porvoo Agreement. (The Porvoo Agreement brings the Anglican Churches of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland into communion with the Lutheran Churches of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Iceland and Lithuania). The Church of Denmark was a full participant in the dialogue that led to the Agreement, but in the end did not sign it. However, it has been faithfully represented by observers at Porvoo meetings.

Our Anglican congregations in Copenhagen and Aarhus maintain warm ecumenical relations with the Danish Church and the Church of England and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark have officially welcomed each others members to Holy Communion since the mid 1950s. The new Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, who was consecrated on 30 August, is a close friend of the Church of England and was recently present for the licensing of the new Anglican chaplain in Copenhagen, the Revd Jonathan LLoyd.

The Church of Denmark is organised in 12 dioceses and has over 2000 parishes. 87% of the national population are members and close to 80% of young people aged 13 - 14 are confirmed. Click here for more information about the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark.

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Sunday, 13 September 2009

New Chaplain Licensed in Copenhagen


On Saturday 12 September I licensed the Revd Jonathan LLoyd as chaplain of St Alban's Copenhagen and the Anglican congregation in Aarhus. The service in St Alban's was well attended, and special guests included the British Ambassador, HE Nicholas Archer, the Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, Roman Catholic Bishop Creslaw Kozon, and over 20 clergy and lay representatives from the Churches of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Old Catholic and Methodist Churches.

St Alban's is a thriving international congregation with over 20 nationalities represented each Sunday. It has been a welcoming home for English speaking people since it was consecrated in 1887, although Church of England services have been held in Copenhagen since about 1834. (and even earlier in Elsinore).

Fr Jonathan has arrived at a busy time in the life of the parish as St Alban’s has been taking a key role as a member of the National Council of Churches in Denmark in the planning of events related to the upcoming UN environmental summit, COP 15, which takes place in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December. The parish itself is taking the diocesan synod recommendations regarding environmental practice very seriously and is consciously moving towards becoming a "green church". 

At St Alban's, Fr Jonathan will enjoy the support of a team of honorary assistant clergy including the Reverend Ulla Monberg (who is the Director of Ministry of the Diocese in Europe) and the Reverend Rickard Stenberg and the Reverend Deacon Robert Vester-Bendtsen. (Fr Rickard and Deacon Robert are clergy formally under the jurisdiction of the Old Catholic Bishop of Haarlem).

Fr Jonathan comes to us from the diocese of Bath and Wells. We warmly welcome him, his wife Sue and two daughters Emma (20) and Sarah (17) to the diocese. He is also Archdeacon-designate of Germany and Northern Europe and will take on these further responsibilites on 20 January 2010.

St Alban's Copenhagen has an interesting website here.

Here is a picture of the clergy taken after the service. (Fr Jonathan LLoyd is on the right holding the red and gold Gospel Book). Click on the picture for a larger view.

Bishops' Meeting in Oxford

From 14 to 17 September in Oxford the bishops of the Church of England will meet as a college. (The House of Bishops, the upper house of the General Synod, has meetings more frequently). The agenda is wide-ranging from environmental to ecumenical matters. But Dave Walker, one of my favourite cartoonists, (check out his cartoon blog here) gives this impression about ...
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Friday, 11 September 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury Honours German Bishop

Tonight I attended a dinner hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace to honour Bishop Wolfgang Huber, the bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg and President of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). The Nikaean Club sponsored the dinner. The Nikaean Club has over 350 members and was formed in 1925 to further relations with non-Anglican Christian churches, and to offer hospitality on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury to representatives of such churches.
The Church of England has an agreement of eucharistic hospitality with the EKD, the Meissen Agreement, signed in 1988. The Reverend Simon Hobbs, chaplain of Bonn and Cologne, is our diocese's representative on the Meissen Commission.

More information on the Meissen Agreement can be found here.

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Norwegian Priest to Head the World Council of Churches

A Norwegian theologian, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has been elected General Secretary of the World Council of Churches on 27 August by the WCC Central Committee. Dr Tveit is presently the General Secretary of the Church of Norway Couuncil of Ecumenical and International Relations. Anglicans in the Diocese in Europe welcome this appointment, as Dr Tveit is a priest of the Church of Norway, a Church in communion with ours through the Porvoo Agreement, and a close friend of the Church of England. I was able to extend the best wishes of our diocese to Dr Tveit when we were together at a recent meeting. (In the picture is also Dame Mary Tanner, a Church of England theologian and president of the WCC).

The Norwegian theologian succeeds the Revd Dr Samuel Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya, who stands down at the end of 2009. More information about Dr Tveit can be found here.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Commemoration at Auschwitz-Birkenau

It is very difficult to do put into words my feelings on being confronted today with the horror of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Passing under the gates with the cynical words “Arbeit Macht Frei” was chilling as I entered the site of the most horrific crimes ever committed by human beings. The enormous factory of evil, torture and death is just too hard to describe. But it is very real; the holocaust happened, and it is forever on the conscience of mankind.

Thousands of people walked in silence along the railway track to join the representatives of the major religions for the ceremony of remembrance. We walked to proclaim to the world that never again can we sink into such an abyss of hatred and depravity.

Representatives of Christian Churches, the Jewish community and of other faiths, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, laid 21 wreaths before commemorative plaques, in what is the largest cemetery in history. It is estimated that close to 4 million people, mostly Jews, died in this immense complex of murder. I laid a wreath on behalf of Anglicans. 

Former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Israel Meir Lau, a holocaust survivor, reminded us that there were three groups associated with this monstrous crime: the Nazis and their collaborators, the victims, and those who said and did nothing. Kyrie eleison.
.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Torrevieja welcomes new priest

On Friday 4 September, the Revd Christopher Scargill was licensed as chaplain of St Peter and St Paul, Torrevieja in Los Balcones Church by Canon Hugh Broad, the Area Dean of Gibraltar.

Torrevieja is an active and growing parish with 6 congregations at present and over 200 on the electoral roll. Besides long-term British residents the parish ministers to many part-time residents - "swallows" - and holiday visitors. Younger English-speaking families moving to the area; Sunday schools now operate in some of the congregations and the Mother's Union has an active branch in the parish. Confirmations are normally held at regular intervals of 2 years. A pioneering outreach work is a bereavement drop-in centre which ministers to families, mostly unconnected to the Church, who have recently lost a loved one.

Fr Scargill will lead a ministry team which at present includes 3 retired clergy with Permission to Officiate, 2 Readers and a Reader-in-Training. With the growth in numbers and activity in the congregations, the parish hopes to explore the possibility of appointing an assistant priest in the future. Before coming to Torrevieja, Fr Scargill was vicar of Bradnop, Onecote, Berkhamstych and Ipstones in Staffordshire, and has been an advisor for local ministry and mission and a rural dean in the Stafford area of Lichfield diocese. We welcome him and his wife Sara and son Robert to our diocese. (Older sons, Timothy and William are further education).

Fr Scargill is pictured above with Sara, Robert and Churchwardens Annette Beagrie (left) and Joan Berry (right).

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Pope Benedict XVI Greets Krakow Gathering

I was among about several thousand people gathered this morning in the Shrine of the Divine Mercy south of Krakow, Poland, for a eucharist presided by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of that city, to open the International Meeting for Peace, sponsored by the Community of Sant'Egidio. (I have the privilege of representating the Archbishop of Canterbury at the gathering). At 12 noon Pope Benedict XVI joined us by live video connection! He gave this greeting to the various Christian Churches and representatives of world religions present for the meeting:

"I now wish to convey my heartfelt greetings to the participants of the International Congress "People and Religions" in Krakow, which is held on the topic "Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue". A number of personalities and representatives of different religions - invited by the Archdiocese of Krakow and by the Community of Sant'Egidio - are assembled to pray for peace, 70 years after the outbreak of World War II. We are compelled to remember the tragic events that sparked one of the most terrible conflicts in history, which caused tens of millions of dead and so much suffering to the beloved people of Poland; a conflict that unleashed the tragedy of the holocaust and the extermination of scores of other innocent people. May the memory of these events drive us to pray for the victims and for those who still bear wounds in their bodies and in their hearts. May it also stand as an admonishment to all, not to replicate such barbarity but rather to intensify efforts in building long-lasting peace in our times marked by conflict and contraposition, conveying, especially to younger generations, a culture and lifestyle full of love, solidarity and esteem for the other. In this perspective the contribution religions can and must give is particular important for promoting forgiveness and reconciliation, opposing violence, racism, totalitarianism and extremism, which debase the image of the Creator in man, removing the vision of God, and ultimately leading to contempt for man himself. May the Lord help us to build peace, starting from mutual love and mutual understanding".

Thursday, 3 September 2009

International Meeting for Prayer for Peace in Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau

On Saturday I leave for Krakow, Poland to take part in an international meeting of prayer for peace, sponsored by the Sant'Egidio Community, a lay movement within the Roman Catholic Church, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislao Dziwisz, (who was the former Secretary of Pope John Paul II). The meeting runs from 6 to 8 September.

This is a further gathering in “the spirit of Assisi”, continuing the movement begun in 1986 when Pope John Paul II convened a historical meeting of leaders from around the world and from the major world religions in the city of St Francis, to pray for and to promote mutual understanding, dialogue, and cooperation towards peace.

This year's meeting is at a crossroads of European history, shortly after the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939. We will be participating in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp as a sign of reconciliation and peace and a symbol of a radical rejection of violence and war as a way of solving international conflicts.

More than 10 Roman Catholic cardinals, as well as leaders from Orthodox, Oriental, Anglican, Lutheran and other Churches will be present. Jewish leaders will include the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger. A number of Muslim leaders will be present from Indonesia, India, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Qatar as well as representatives of Buddhism and Hinduism. Representatives of many heads of state and goverment are also expected.  
During the meeting I will be privileged to participate in a dialogue panel entitled "70 Years After World War II, War is Not a Destiny", chaired by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals.
I have never been to Auschwitz, and I can honestly say that it is not a trip that I look forward to.
"May there be abundant peace from heaven and life for us and for all people" --From Kaddish, the prayer of a Jewish mourner. (See Common Worship: Daily Prayer pg 406)
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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Two Future Workshops for Readers and Readers-in-Training


The Director of Training, the Revd Ulla Monberg, has written to Readers and Readers-in-Training in the diocese to announce two workshops to be held in the near future.

Workshop on Preaching: This will be held from 4 pm on 18 November 2009 until after lunch on 20 November at St Columba’s House, Woking, Surrey, England. The speakers include the Revd Canon Mark Oakley, formerly the Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, and myself. The cost will be in the region of £150. The workshop will cover various aspects of the craft of preaching and is open to all who presently exercise the ministry of Reader or who are in training for that ministry. Space for this workshop is limited to 24 people. St Columba's House is a short taxi ride or 20 minute walk from Woking railway station. There are good links from Heathrow and Gatwick airports to Woking.

Workshop on Funeral Liturgy and Bereavement Ministry: This will be held from 4pm on 24 February 2010 until after lunch on 26 February at the Casa Diocesana de Espiritualidad, Málaga, Spain. The speakers will include the Revd Peter Moger, the Church of England's National Worship Development Officer, and the Revd Canon Hugh Broad, Priest-in-Charge of Costa Almería / Costa Cálida and Area Dean of Gibraltar. The cost will be in the region of 110 Euros. The workshop is for Readers who conduct funerals or Readers-in-Training who may do so in future. The Casa Diocesana is a short ride from Málaga airport.

Licensed Readers are able to apply for financial support from the funds held for Continuing Ministerial Development. Readers-in-Training are encouraged to approach their parish clergy to see whether funding support can be arranged locally. A registration form has been sent to Readers and Readers-in-Training, and is also available from the Ministry Team Administrator Margaret Jeffery. Margaret's e-mail: margaret.jeffery@europe.c-of-e.org.uk.

Readers are lay ministers of the Church of England. They are theologically trained, and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work. The period of training is usually 3 years. The numbers of Readers is growing fast in the Diocese in Europe. The Director of Training reports that about 40 men and women are presently in training. They come from all parts of the diocese, particularly Spain, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Gibraltar, Russia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. (Frank Megginson from St Paul's Monaco, pictured here, was licensed as a Reader last November). There are already over 100 licensed Readers serving across Europe. This is an increase of 50% in the last five years. The Church of England Readers' website is here.

These two workshops for Readers and Readers-in-Training are sure to be popular events. I encourage any interested persons to register soon!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Mystery Worshipper at St Peter and St Sigfrid's Stockholm

We know that retail companies sometimes hire mystery shoppers to help them rate the service offered in their outlets. Restaurants are used to mystery diners who often may be writing a review for a weekend newspaper or travel magazine. An online magazine of Christian humour, shipoffools.com, also has a corps of mystery worshippers who are dispatched to the corners of the globe to report on their experience of worship in churches of all traditions. Congregations in our Diocese in Europe are not exempt from such visits! The latest of our parishes to be visited by a mystery worshipper is St Peter and St Sigfid's in Stockholm. The review from the mystery worshipper's visit on 5 July can be found here. All good fun, but slightly scary, as our incognito visitors seem to know what to look for in Church!

St Peter and St Sigfrid's Church, Stockholm, whose chaplain, the Revd Nicholas Howe is also Area Dean of the Nordic and Baltic States, has an attractive and informative website which can be found here.

Archbishop Rowan Williams Video on the Environment

Dr Williams - Am I a slave?Image by Steve Punter via Flickr


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has recorded a short (2 minute) video expressing his concern for the environment. It is part of a Church of England programme to encourage people to sign up to an online Advent calendar for 2009 which will provide daily green challenges and thoughts about our planet. The video is posted on YouTube and can been seen here. You can also find it on this website where you can sign up to receive the electronic messages this coming Advent - a good way, perhaps, to help focus your prayers for the climate change summit in December in Copenhagen, COP 15.

“We hope for a world in which we have learned to live with the grain of things, to live patiently, to live respectfully, to live in a way that takes our environment seriously...” Archbishop Rowan Williams

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