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, 31 May 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter to the Anglican Communion

Last Friday, 28 May, Archbishop Rowan Williams released his Pentecost Letter to the Anglican Communion. In it the Archbishop encourages Anglicans to pray for renewal in the Spirit and to focus on the priority of mission. He also acknowledges that the Communion is going through a time of transition and that we are dealing with questions of drawing boundaries in controversial matters - not only sexuality but issues of bioethics or the complexities of morality in the financial world.

In response to the current situation, Archbishop Rowan makes clear that when a province "declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard to see how members of that province can be placed in position where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues...and our faith-and-order related groups".

The Archbishop then makes some proposals for members of provinces that are in breach of the three moratoria requested by the Instruments of the Communion. (Those moratoria are: no authorisation of blessings services for same-sex unions; no consecrations of bishops living in same-sex relationships; and no bishop authorising any ministry within the diocese of another bishop without explicit permission). He proposes that such members:
  1. should no longer participate in the formal ecumenical dialogues in which the Anglican Communion is engaged, such as those with the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Churches.
  2. currently serving on the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (a body that examines issues of doctrine and authority) should, for the time being, no longer have full membership, but retain the status of consultants.
These proposals are "simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as acceptable limits of diversity in its practice".

The Archbishop concludes by urging that we reflect on rebuilding relations and a more coherent Anglican identity, which he makes clear is not an identity with no diversity.

The five page letter entitled Renewal in the Spirit can be found here.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Ordination Anniversary Celebration in Pas de Calais

Congratulations to the Revd John Porter who will celebrate 50 years of ordained ministry on 30 May. A special celebration is planned for Fr John in the Pas de Calais chaplaincy, beginning with a celebration of the Eucharist in St Omer, followed by a parish lunch. (Readers of this blog might remember that John has recently had published a useful resource for those engaged in bereavement entitled Being There. The link with more information is here.)

We wish Fr John every blessing on this great occasion of the anniversary of his ordination, along with our thanks and appreciation for so many years of faithful ministry in the Church of God, and in particular within our diocese in the Pas de Calais.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Robert Schuman in Metz


On Sunday 9 May, at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Metz (below) there was a day of celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Schuman declaration. (Robert Schuman urged the formation of a values-based political life to help secure Europe's long-term security and prosperity).

The day began with the service of Morning Prayer according to the rite of the Church of England led by our Archdeacon of France, the Venerable Ken Letts. The music for the liturgy was provided by a choir from our parish in Luxembourg. Fr Ken provided note on the liturgy sheet for our ecumenical partners about the central place of the Daily Office in the Anglican tradition.

After Mattins the Archdeacon then gave a lecture on "The Unity of Christians: a testimony given to Europe" and was present at the Solemn Mass at which His Eminence Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois (Archbishop of Paris, and President of the Conference of Bishops of France) presided.

Other contributions during the day were given by Monsignor Aldo Giordano the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe. Our presence at this high profile national ecumenical event is a further sign of the respected and valued place our Church of England has within France.

The Venerable Ken Letts is also the Co-Chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission of France, and our diocese's ecumenical representative to the Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference.


Communications in the Diocese in Europe


The Diocesan Synod has accepted the results of an audit of the Communications work of the diocese and has adopted some recommendations which came out of the review. Rachel Harden, (Senior Communications Officer for the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England) conducted the audit and was impressed that a diocese with such unique communications challenges, spread over 45 countries, had such a good system in place.

For instance, very strong appreciation was expressed for the work of the Revd Paul Needle, our Communications Officer, and for the work of Simon Sarmiento, the Website editor. An expansion of their roles was recommended as was the creation of a regular email bulletin, the use of online meeting systems, creating archdeaconry representatives for our publications, and attention to new media such as podcasts and video clips (perhaps for specific areas of training). The format of the printed Yearbook will be examined with a view to streamlining.

The audit revealed that this Eurobishop blog was "very popular and should continue".

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

May 2010 Book Selection

Here is May's book selection. Once again thanks to Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Secretary to the bishops of the Church of England, for these helpful in-depth reviews. (Martin - where do you get time to do all this reading?) If you wish to keep up with current theology the selection here is a good place to start.

This month selection includes volumes on some important theologians such as Barth and Niebuhr, a commentary on Revelation, and some interesting work on ministry, ethics and social teaching.

8 reviews are below. Just click on the read more link. ¡Buena lectura!

World Cup Prayers and European Teams

The Church of England has prepared prayers for the upcoming World Cup tournament in South Africa! They were written by the Bishop of Croydon in association with the Revd Peter Moger, the National Worship Development Officer, and are for personal use or for use during church services.

I am pleased to see that they are sufficiently neutral in wording to be able to be used in this diocese in Europe, since, alongside England, the following European countries will be competing: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.

There are three prayers, including one "for those who are not particularly interested in the World Cup", which is no-one in our diocese, of course!


Lord of all the nations, who played the cosmos into being,
guide, guard and protect all who work or play in the World Cup.
May all find in this competition a source of celebration,
an experience of common humanity and
a growing attitude of generous sportsmanship to others.
Amen.

God of the nations, who has always called his people to be a blessing for the world,
bless all who take part in the World Cup.
Smile on South Africa in her hosting,
on the nations represented in competition and
on those who travel to join in the party.
Amen.

A prayer for those simply not interested:
Lord, as all around are gripped with World Cup fever,
bless us with understanding,
strengthen us with patience and
grant us the gift of sympathy if needed.
Amen.

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Mystery Worshipper rides into the diocese again - Lanzarote this time

The Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper dropped in on St Laurence's congregation in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote last Easter Day. He (or she?) rated our parish very highly: 8 out of 10! "Dignified, warm, convivial and joyous" are some of the words used to describe the worship. Read the full report on the ship of fools website here

The parish has four centres of worship in Lanzarote and one on the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura, all served by Fr Idris Vaughan (who is retiring in June) and reader David Dowdell.  The Anglican Parish of St Laurence in Lanzarote has an attractive website here.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Pentecost every day

Photo by Lawrence OP
On Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples after the Resurrection of our Lord.  St Seraphim of Sarov, the Russian spiritual teacher (1759-1833) describes the life of a disciple as nothing more than the receiving of the Holy Spirit:
"For the true aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, vigils, prayer and almsgiving, and other good works done in the name of Christ, they are only the means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God."
Here is a prayer said every morning in the Orthodox tradition. The pattern of a daily prayer for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, makes every day a Pentecost.
Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, Treasury of Goodness and Giver of life: come and abide in us. Cleanse us from every stain of sin and save our souls, O Gracious Lord.
(St Seraphim is commemorated in the Church of England on 2 January).

Friday, 21 May 2010

Diocesan Synod 2010


The Diocesan Synod meets from 24 to 28 May at Kardinal Schulte Haus in Cologne,  Germany (see photo below). Close to 70 clergy and lay representatives of our 7 archdeaconries will be joined by the bishops and the diocesan staff for this annual meeting. About 1/3 are new members elected at the start of this new triennium.

The agenda includes the discussion of a report of a communications audit undertaken at the request of the Communications and Publications Committee, which has examined the present vehicles for diocesan communication and the unique challenges we face in serving 45 countries. Several key recommendations will be considered as a communications strategy for the future is framed.

A major report will be received from the Strategic Review Group which was set up in 2008 to investigate the resources required to implement the model for a leadership structure in the diocese which was approved by the Synod that year, a structure centred on a diocesan bishop, two suffragan bishops, four free-standing archdeacons supported by area deans.

The work of the Ministry Team which oversees the work of vocation, selection and training of lay and ordained ministers will be presented. This is one of the major programmes of the diocese which is coordinated centrally.

During the Synod the Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Board of Finance is held.

Morning and Evening Prayer and the Holy Eucharist are celebrated daily. Bible studies will be led by the Revd Stephen Tucker, the Vicar of Hampstead. The Secretary General of the Church of England, Mr William Fittall and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, will be special guests.

For a 3 minute interview with the Diocesan Secretary, Mr Adrian Mumford, about this year's synod, follow this link for an audio podcast.

Pentecost Message from the Presidents of the World Council of Churches

The 8 Presidents of the World Council of Churches, the fellowship of 349 Orthodox, Anglican, Old Catholic and Protestant churches, has issued a Pentecost message to the world's Christians. Dr Mary Tanner, a Church of England lay theologian, is one of the Presidents. 


“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

In 2010, this year just as at the time of the first Pentecost, Christians throughout the world, in their respective churches, will celebrate Pentecost in hundreds of different languages and will sing hymns in their own languages giving praise to the Lord.

Jesus’ disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit that first Pentecost because they were waiting for it in trust. They were gathered together waiting, confident in God’s promise.

On the morning of Pentecost, Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims who had come to celebrate the festival of new bread; amongst the faithful was the small group of humble friends of Jesus Christ the Risen One. And the promise is fulfilled: the Spirit comes down on them and makes them into witnesses, messengers, people convinced by their master’s message of love and truth. It becomes a time for the call to conversion, of putting into practice the gift received and commitment to the service of brothers and sisters.

Today, the call to conversion is more central than ever for every person who seeks to follow Jesus Christ and to discover meaning in life through serving those who suffer, whatever name their suffering may have.

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’” (Acts 2:37b)

Many are waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is in today’s world a small group of the humble who seek conversion, asking for forgiveness for faults committed in the past, such as attacks on God’s gift of life through the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.

Hope for conversion can be seen today in the steps some of the “great” of this world have taken to repair past excesses of pride and domination. Yes, everything is possible for the one who turns to Christ and, in the power of the Spirit, tries to change the plans of those who continue to believe that peace can be bought only under threat of nuclear weapons.

May the brave souls of this world, who have begun to reduce their stocks of nuclear arms, now continue boldly to make more resources available for the well-being of those populations who have been so devastated and give more resources to those peoples who live in the anguish of hunger and the violence of war, and who thirst to be able to share their knowledge.

We want to say “with God, all things are possible!”

But, of course we Christians, who have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, must not limit our insistence on the need for repentance from the official leaders of the nations or of other public persons. The call for repentance remains well-timed for every one of us, from every state, age, origin: repentance for our inconsistency between what we proclaim and how we behave; repentance for our little faith, for our compromises to the spirit of this world, for our inclination to be indifferent to justice, to solidarity, to sincere love and respect for every human person. It is with this deep spirit of repentance that we must await the coming and dwelling of the Spirit of God, in ourselves and in our local congregations. Only then shall we rediscover the face of our Resurrected Lord, the Kyrios, and be united with him, praying with humility and new dynamism: O, come, Holy Spirit! Transform the world!

May the Holy Spirit which came down at Pentecost fill you with light, hope and joy and give you the strength to glorify our Lord by serving his world with love.  We wish you all a very blessed feast of Pentecost.

The Presidents of the World Council of Churches
Archbishop Dr Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania
Mr John Taroanui Doom, Maohi Protestant Church (French Polynesia)
Rev. Dr Simon Dossou, Methodist Church in Benin
Rev. Dr Soritua Nababan, Protestant Christian Batak Church (Indonesia)
Rev. Dr Ofelia Ortega, Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba
Patriarch Abune Paulos, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Rev. Dr Bernice Powell Jackson, United Church of Christ (USA)
Dr Mary Tanner, Church of England

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Cologne and Bonn: Largest Confirmation Class in Years



The Churches of St Boniface, Bonn and All Saints, Cologne are grouped together in one chaplaincy under the parish priest, the Revd Simon Hobbs. The chaplaincy is showing many signs of spiritual growth and development including the fact that on Sunday 16 May a group of 11 young people and adults were confirmed, the largest class in recent years. The preparation classes were led by the Reader, Mr Richard Gardiner, assisted by parishioner Elizabeth Horman, on my left and right respectively, in the above photograph.

As is fitting in Eastertide, the weekend included much feasting: a chinese banquet with the candidates and their families on Saturday night, and a parish pot-luck on Sunday! The Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd was present during the weekend visit, having just attended the ecumenical Kirchentag in Munich.

Anglican services have been held in the two cities on the Rhine for over 150 years. The chaplaincy website is here.



Tuesday, 18 May 2010

House of Bishops Issues Statement on Women in the Episcopate

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has been meeting in York for the past two days. Bishop Geoffrey has been in attendance. One of the main topics the House addressed was, not surprisingly, the report of the Revision Committee on the provisions to permit women to be consecrated bishops.

The House of Bishops has issued a statement in indicating that the majority of bishops "strongly support" the move to admit women to the episcopate. At the same time the bishops are strongly committed to preserving an "honoured place" within the Church for those who cannot accept this development. Although there are some who feel that present proposals will not be able to deliver a satisfactory result for those on both sides of this issue, the majority of the bishops are committed to "keeping faith" with the present process.

The July Synod will be a demanding time. Pray for our members, Archdeacon Jonathan Boardman, the Revd Canon Debbie Flach, (Lay) Canon Ann Turner and Mr Roger Fry, as well as for our Bishop Geoffrey.

The House of Bishops Statement issued today 18 May is below. Follow the read more link.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Announcement of Petertide Ordinations

With great joy I announce the following persons are to be ordained this Petertide:

Sacred Order of Deacon

Mr Chris Nicholls (to serve as assistant curate of Holy Trinity, Utrecht)
by Bishop Geoffrey on Sunday 27 June at 1500 (3 pm) in Holy Trinity Church, Utrecht. The street address for the Church is Holy Trinity Church, Van Limburg – Stirumplein, (Vicinity Wilhemina Park), Utrecht, The Netherlands. For further details please contact the Venerable John de Wit on +31 30 251 34 24, or email: chaplain@holytrinityutrecht.nl. Liturgical colour: white

Sacred Order of Priest

The Revd Rik Florentinus (assistant curate of Christ Church, Amsterdam)
By Bishop Geoffrey on Saturday 26 June at 1500 (3 pm) in Christ Church, Amsterdam. The street address for the Church is Christ Church, Groenburgwal 42, 1011 HW Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For further details please contact the Revd Alistair MacDonald on +31 20 624 8877, or email: alastair@christchurch.nl.
Liturgical colour: white

The Revd Tony Lane (assistant curate of St Thomas’s, Crete within the Greater Athens Chaplaincy)
The Revd Tuomas Mäkipää (assistant curate of St Nicholas’s, Helsinki)
By Bishop David on Saturday 3 July at 1800 (6 pm) in St Thomas’s Church, Chania, Crete. The location of the Church can be found by referring to the church website:
http://www.theanglicanchurchincrete.co.uk/FindingContactUs.html. For further details please contact the Revd Tony Lane at + 30 28250 22345, or email: creteanglicans@yahoo.co.uk. Liturgical colour: red

All are warmly invited to attend these celebrations.

Clergy are invited to robe (please note the liturgical colour for each service above) and join in procession. Priests of the Church of England or of a Church in communion are invited to join in the laying-on-of-hands at the ordination of priests. Please plan to arrive at least ½ hour before the appointed service time.

Please announce these ordinations in your churches and congregations so that the candidates can be upheld in your prayers as they make their final preparations towards ordination as deacon or priest.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Anglican and Old Catholic Bishops' Pilgrimage


From 6 to 8 May Bishop Geoffrey and I hosted bishops from the Anglican and Old Catholic churches in Europe for 3 days of pilgrimage, prayer and fellowship in Hampshire. We were joined by Bishop Pierre Whalon from the Episcopal Church Convocation in Europe, and our Old Catholic brothers: Archbishop Joris Vercammen of Utrecht, Bishop Dick Schoon of Haarlem, Bishop Harald Rein of Switzerland and Bishop John Okoro of Austria. Bishop Lennart Koskinen from the Church of Sweden Diocese of Visby, our Porvoo Partner, was also able to be with us.

Anglicans and Old Catholics have been in communion since 1931. This is the second joint pilgrimage in recent years, to help build up our episcopal collegiality and give time for reflection on our common mission in Europe. In 2006 we were the guests of Bishop Joachim Vobbe of Germany when we walked a route from Bonn to Echternach in Luxembourg, where St Willibrord, the British missionary who brought Christianity to parts of Germany, Netherlands and Luxembourg, is buried.

The pilgrimage in Hampshire included some walking along the ancient Pilgrims' Way from Winchester to Canterbury. Visits were made to Alton Abbey, Winchester, Easton, Kings Worthy, Beaulieu, Romsey Abbey and Hursley (where John Keble) is buried.

Pictured below is an ancient Saxon rood in Romsey Abbey, just one of the many signs of the Christian history of this part of England which provided a moment of reflection on our common heritage and our common calling as bishops to lead the Church's mission today as our forbears did in times past.  It is amazing how much is accomplished by walking and praying together, with times of community meals and fellowship. Much more productive than many meetings around conference room tables!




Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Women in the Episcopate - Signposts for What Lies Ahead

There are 142 pages of text in the report of the revision committee which was charged with preparing legislation to enable the consecration of women as bishops. This is essential reading for those who wish to be informed about the important debate which will be held at this July's sessions of General Synod. The documentation can be found here.

Section 4 of the report is entitled "Signposts for What Lies Ahead". I have prepared the above word cloud from this section. A word cloud gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently. Clicking on the image will enlarge it.

Monday, 10 May 2010

St George's Barcelona Puts Accent on Discipleship


Six adults were confirmed in St George's Barcelona on Sunday 2 May. They came from a variety of backgrounds, British, German, Indian, American and Nigerian. All have found St George's to be a welcoming and nurturing spiritual home. The members of St George's were enthusiastic in rehearsing along with the confirmation candidates the vows of discipleship and their commitment to living the Way of Jesus Christ and believing the faith of his Holy Church.

The Chaplain of St George's is the Revd Andrew Tweedy. He is assisted by a youth outreach worker, Caroline Cox. There are also two trainee readers in St George's, Billie Tweedy (Andrew's wife) and Circe Bosch.

Among the priorities of the leadership team is a renewed focus on leadership development and education for discipleship. Some tailor-made programmes have been designed by the Chaplain, with assistance from Billie Tweedy. A basic course introduction to the Christian faith called "Roots" is now being followed up by a second programme called "Routes". In the second course participants explore the implications of being a Christian for their life and mission in the world and become more confident with using the Bible to make informed decisions about the complicated decisions they may face.

Anglican worship has been offered in Barcelona since the middle of the nineteenth century. The present congregation worships in a contemporary building dating from 1973. In addition to the Sunday morning services, a new evening service has been started to address the needs of the many English-speaking students and young adults in Barcelona.
 
St George's is particularly pleased with its new website which can be found here.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Women in the Episcopate - Documents Now Available

The stage is being prepared for this July's sessions of General Synod at which legislation to enable women to be bishops will be considered. Documentation is now published which propose special arrangements for those with conscientious difficulties by way of a national Code of Practice. Each diocesan bishop will be required to draw up a scheme in his or her diocese that takes account of the Code of Practice and provides local arrangements for the performance of certain episcopal functions in relation to parishes with conscientious difficulties. A further provision allows parishes to request, when there is a vacancy, that only a male incumbent or priest-in-charge be appointed.

Considerable time is likely to be spent on this matter at the July synod. In addition to Bishop Geoffrey, our General Synod members are the Revd Canon Debbie Flach, the Venerable Jonathan Boardman, (Lay) Canon Ann Turner and Mr Roger Fry.

The press release from the Church of England and links to these important documents are available on the Church of England website here. The documents include the report of the revision committee (be aware this is over 140 pages long!); the draft Measure; and the draft Amending Canon.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Young Malgache Liturgical Musicians


The Malgache community in France is one of the largest “minority ethnic” groupings within our Diocese in Europe. There is a vibrant congregation in St George’s Paris as well as growing work in St Alban’s Strasbourg and All Saints Marseille. Madagascar, their original homeland, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and itself larger in area than France! Anglicans in Madagascar are organised in 5 dioceses and along with Mauritius, and Seychelles form part of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

The Malgache community in St George’s is well organised. As part of the congregation’s planning for the future, 2 years ago, 9 young musicians, including some who had no musical formation at all, were encouraged and supported in a 5 year project of the congregation to produce a trained core of musical leaders for the Malgache services. Thus in 3 years time, there will be 3 organists as well as pianists, flautists, saxophonists, violoinists who are trained in liturgical music and ready to lead the hymns and the various chants of the Church such as the Te Deum, Benedictus, Creed, Nunc Dimittis, Magnificat, Venite, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Gloria in Excelsis. The young people are also studying music privately at various conservatories in greater Paris. Pictured here are some of the young musicians with those who are supporting them.

There is also a Malgache Scout Group in St George’s.


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Europe Day - Sunday May 9: 60th Anniversary of the Schuman Declaration

This Sunday is Europe Day. Even those of us who are part of the Church of England Diocese in Europe might easily forget what a dark place this continent was in the early part of the last century. Countless millions of men, women and children had died or been displaced by two world wars. Great cities had been reduced to rubble. On 9 May 1950 the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, a devoted Roman Catholic, issued a declaration, that there would henceforth be free movement of persons, ideas and goods. This free movement was to be underpinned by a Charter of Human Rights, A Court of Justice to guarantee these rights and a European Assembly in Brussels and Strasbourg “where the live forces of our nations shall be represented.” For Schuman, our democracy owed its very existence to Christianity and its commitment to human dignity, freedom and brotherly love.

This Sunday 9 May is, in a very real way, the 60th anniversary of the moment when our modern Europe was born. Our congregations might want to mark this anniversary in some appropriate way. Prayers for peace, security and justice for all might be included, along with thanksgiving for the relative prosperity we, just 7 % of the world's population, enjoy. Amongst the readings set for this Sunday, the 6th Sunday of Easter, is Acts 16.9-13, which describes St. Paul’s first arrival in mainland Europe.

The Revd Canon Dr Gary Wilton, the Church of England's representative to the European Institutions, and a priest of our diocese in Holy Trinity Brussels, has prepared a pamphlet which the bishops of the Church of England have endorsed. It is available here.