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.



Friday, 27 August 2010

Time for Creation

Photo by DFID - UK Department for International Development

The fact of global climate change has been much in evidence this summer: record heat and widespread fires in Russia; floods covering a third of Pakistan; landslides in China; and an ice island broken off a Greenland glacier, four times the size of Manhattan.

Among the actions that the Church of England and our Diocese in Europe have endorsed concerning climate change is the observance of a "Time for Creation", from 1 September (the first day of the church year for the Orthodox Churches) to 4 October (the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi). During this season, our congregations are encouraged to give particular focus to environmental issues. Prayers for the environment and for the created order are often missing from the intercessions on a Sunday morning. Perhaps during this years "Time for Creation", they can begin to be part of our regular Sunday prayer.

Our Diocesan Environmental Officer, Madeleine Holmes, has pointed out some helpful resources for the celebration of Creationtide. They include material to help preachers with sermon preparation for the 5 Sundays that fall between 1 September and 4 October, all based on the lectionary readings. Click here to access the range of resources.

Here are some prayers that can be used. The first is a  prayer for biodiversity. (2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity).

God of wisdom, showing us your love in the rising sun and waning tide,
you grace Earth with life in all its variety.
Every thing has meaning, is blessing;
every one is charged with care for the smallest creature to the ocean’s depth.
Grant us wisdom to know your ways of love and gentle kindness.
Give us the mind to learn what we do not know but long to understand
so that we may honour and nurture all that makes us one with you.
Amen
The World Council of Churches has asked that we might focus our prayer for and with the people of Africa where biodiversity and human welfare are threatened alike by climate change. So here is a prayer from Nigeria:

God of Heaven and earth,
you have blessed us with the works of your hands,
The tall mountains and deep blue seas
Even wonderful creatures to adorn it
And have given us dominion over all of them
Help us to preserve and appreciate this gifts that others may benefit
Even generations to come, this we pray
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Holy Spirit
one God now and for ever.
Amen.
These and other prayers in French, German and Spanish as well as English are available here.

Monday, 23 August 2010

On Leave


I will be taking some leave from 23 August, until 3 September. Do not expect too many blog updates during this time! My chaplain Deacon Frances Hiller (+44 (0) 20 7898 1161), or the staff at the diocesan office (+44 (0) 020 7898 1155) are able to get messages to me in case of urgent need.
¡Hasta luego!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Nominations for General Synod close on 3 September


Photo credit: Mzzur/catholicchurch.org.uk

The deadline for nominations for those who wish to stand for election to General Synod is approaching. Nominations will close at at 12 noon, London time, on Friday 3 September. So you're thinking of standing for Synod there are under two weeks to act!

Besides the Diocesan Bishop, the Diocese in Europe has 2 lay delegates and 2 clergy delegates to General Synod. 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.
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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Announcement of New Canons

Bishop Geoffrey has today announced the appointment of 5 new canons of the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese: The Reverend Ulla Monberg, Director of Training; the Reverend Christopher Jage-Bowler, Chaplain of George's, Berlin, Germany; the Reverend Ian Hutchinson Cervantes, Chaplain of St George's, Madrid, Spain; the Reverend John Wilkinson, Assistant Chaplain of the Anglican Church of Fontainebleau, France, and the Reverend Trevor Whitfield, Chaplain of the Holy Trinity, Maisons-Laffitte, France

The main function of the canons of the diocese is to support the bishop by prayer and counsel. They are traditionally assigned a stall in one of our three cathedrals. The new canons are assigned as follows (pictured below, clockwise):

Canon Monberg to St Augustine of Canterbury in the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels
Canon Jage-Bowler to St Ignatius of Antioch in the Pro-Cathedral of the St Paul, Valletta
Canon Hutchinson-Cervantes to St James in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar
Canon Wilkinson to St Silas in the Pro-Cathedral of St Paul, Valletta



And Canon Whitfield to St Paul the Apostle in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Gibraltar:



Every blessing to our 5 new canons.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Young People in Algarve Fast for Peru

Members of St Vincent's Youth Group. Photo courtesy of USPG: Anglicans in World Mission

USPG: Anglicans in World Mission, in its recent newsletter, has reported on an initiative of the youth of one of our parishes, St Vincent's, Algarve, Portugal:

The youth group at St Vincent’s Church, in Praia da Luz, in Portugal – part of the Anglican Diocese of Europe – completed a 30-hour fast to raise funds for USPG Project 466: Protecting Children’s Rights, which looks after the welfare of children in Peru. Fourteen young people, aged 11 to 15, took part in the fast, with only water, fruit juice and energy drinks to keep them going. The young people kept themselves occupied by helping in an orphanage, collecting food for the homeless, holding a fashion show with charity clothes, watching films, decorating T-shirts, swimming, playing games and singing songs. Lily Shelton, aged 13, reported: ‘It was for a very good cause. Many of us said we could have fasted for longer.’

The young people raised around £1,300 for a USPG supported programme run by the Diocese of Peru’s Child and Adolescent Team. The programme tackles child abuse and supports family welfare. Other church-goers are also fundraising, including Kerry Burr who is requesting donations for Peru as alternative 40th birthday gifts.

Taking part in the fast, Emily Price, 15, said: ‘We know we haven’t solved the world’s problems, but we also know that, in a tiny way, we have made a difference.
The Archdeaconry of Gibraltar has a partnership with the Diocese of Peru. Well done, St Vincent's Youth, for your work to support our partner diocese!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Revd Michael Smith Licensed to Tenerife North


On the Feast of St Clare of Assisi, 11 August, the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch licensed the Reverend Michael Smith as chaplain of the Anglican Church of All Saints, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (with La Palma), Spain.

In the photo above taken after the service, from left to right: the Revd Keith Gordon (St Francis, Tenerife South), the Venerable David Sutch (Archdeacon of Gibraltar, wearing the stole from the linked Diocese of Peru), Mrs Sam Smith, the Revd Mike Smith, the Revd Malcolm Exley, Pfarrer Henning of the German Evangelische Kirche, a Meissen Agreement partner, which uses All Saints Church,

Fr Mike was previously vicar of All Saints’, Great Driffield and St Mary, Little Driffield in the diocese of York. He speaks Spanish, French and Italian. Fr Mike looks forward to working with the already strong congregation in reaching out to new, particularly younger members of the expatriate community on the island. 

We welcome Fr Mike and his wife Sam to this diocese in Europe.

The website for All Saints Puerto de la Cruz can be found here. One of the remarkable features of All Saints Church is the reproduction of Holman Hunt's "The Light of the World" pictured below, as part of a memorial given in 1930.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Support for the Church of Pakistan's Flood Relief Programme

Photo credit: Vicki Francis / UKaid / Department for International Development

Churches and individuals in the diocese are responding to the needs of the people of Pakistan through donations to the many aid agencies who are engaged in the relief efforts. In the UK, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies, including Oxfam, the Red Cross and Christian agencies such as Christian Aid and Tearfund, is leading the appeal and has a proven expertise in the delivery and provision of emergency aid. Donations can be made through the websites of Christian Aid, Tearfund or the DEC website itself.

Some enquiries have come from congregations in the diocese wanting to know if there is a way to channel financial support directly to Church partners, (rather than aid agencies), in Pakistan. My recommendation for channelling funds for direct church to church support is through USPG: Anglicans in World Mission. USPG is the major mission partner of the Church of Pakistan and has already been giving emergency grant support to the local Church. Staff of USPG are close touch with the bishops of the dioceses of Sialkot, Peshawar and Hyderabad which have been badly affected, and where people have lost family members, houses, animals and crops. USPG is collecting further funds as emergency support to local church teams who are responding to the humanitarian crisis. Church of Pakistan personnel are already working to distribute aid. In some cases diocesan teams have travelled by boat and army helicopter to reach flood victims.

The Church of Pakistan is one of the member Churches of the Anglican Communion. It was established in 1970 when Anglicans, Scottish Presbyterians (Church of Scotland), Methodists and Lutherans came together in union. It has 9 dioceses and over 400 parishes. After the Roman Catholic Church it is the largest Church in this country where about 97% of the population are Muslim. It is worth noting that the tiny Christian community is among the poorest of Pakistan's poor, already living in slum and underdeveloped areas.

Donations can be made to USPG directly through this link.

The Revd Canon Edgar Ruddock, Director of USPG’s International Relations Team, has written the following meditation for use it in private prayer or in church.


How long, O Lord, how long
Will you leave your people drowning
As the surging waters rage, and suck
from fragile lungs their final choking gasp?


You whose tears of compassion used to fall
As gentle rain! They now appear to spurt
In wild lament as mother earth
Cries out at her despoliation.


How long, O Lord, how long
Will you leave your people homeless
In the anguished aftermath of nature’s savage
Trail of wanton, meaningless destruction?


You who before time or matter came to be,
Brooded over the waters, and in gentleness
Called chaos into order: where are you now
As textured lives are washed away to tatters?


How long, O Lord, how long,
Before, beside still waters, you lead your people
Once again? But then within the echoing void
A whisper on the rippling watered wind:


“You are my body now – it is for you to do”.

Another shorter prayer:

Compassionate God, source of all comfort,
We pray for the people of Pakistan whose lives have devastated by rain and flood.
Bring them comfort, we pray.
Protect the vulnerable.
Strengthen the weak.
Keep at bay the ravages of disease.
Have mercy on all those working to rescue the stranded and to feed the hungry.
And may our response to their suffering be generous and bring you praise.
For we ask it in Jesus Name, Amen.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ



15 August is the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The rules of the Church of England permit this festival to be celebrated on the Sunday when it falls on that day, rather than be transferred to a nearby weekday, as would happen to a lesser commemoration.
This feast is also known as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the official Roman Catholic title), the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos (an Orthodox designation). The Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church of Canada prefers the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These titles relate to the end of the Virgin's earthly life when her being taken to God is understood to be a sign of the eschatological hope of all humanity. So, in the words of one of our Church of England prayers for this feast,
It is indeed right and good, our duty and our salvation, almighty Father, ever-living God, to give you thanks and praise for the work of your grace in the Blessed Virgin Mary ... In her you show us the greatness of your love, and the wonderful purpose you intend for all your children.
In the traditional icon above, at the falling asleep of his Mother, Christ is shown receiving her life into eternal glory. Held by her Son, Mary is portrayed as a small child in white to show that she is always a human being, whose glory is in her humility.

With all generations we call her blessed.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Book of Common Prayer now online

Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556), archbishop of Cant...Image via Wikipedia
The full text of the Book of Common Prayer has been added to the worship pages of the Church of England website. It can be found here.

The first official liturgical text to appear in English was the Litany in 1544. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer (above) went on to complete the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549. The Prayer Book went through several revisions until the present version of 1662, which remains the Church of England's official liturgy and a key doctrinal standard.

The Revd Peter Moger, the Church of England’s National Worship Development Officer and a well known figure in our diocese from the many workshops he has led, says: “The Book of Common Prayer has fed the hearts and minds of generations of Anglicans. This development - which will make access to Prayer Book texts so much easier - is to be applauded.”

Readers will likely already be aware that the texts of Common Worship, the contemporary authorized liturgies of the Church of England, mostly in a modern idiom, can also be found on the Church of England website here.

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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Moscow air

Photo By RiMarkin

Readers will be aware of the conditions these past weeks in Moscow which has been suffering the worst heatwave in over a century. The mortality rate in the city has doubled recently as wildfires have filled the capital with dense smoke. Residents are urged to wear face masks if they venture outside. The conditions are expected to continue at least until Thursday this week.

A parishioner in St Andrew's Moscow wrote to me recently, and asked for our prayers:

"... for lots of people, especially with asthma or heart problems it must be very difficult in this weather. I've been to a funeral of a friend's father yesterday and they say there's been much more work for them these days... So, we need to pray for people with weak health, for people in the country whose houses are burned down, for peace of mind (there's been some violence between different national groups in the city), for harvest and generally... for rain".
St Andrew's Moscow website is here.
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Monday, 9 August 2010

Ecumenical Pilgrimage to Mont St Michel


Warm ecumenical relations continue in one of our newest parishes in France. The Revd Peter Hales, priest-in-charge of Christ Church, Coutances, recently wrote in his parish magazine of a special invitation from the Roman Catholic Church to join them in their annual pilgrimage from Genet to Mont Saint Michel. Ten intrepid walkers, from the congregations at Coutances and Vezins, turned up early in the morning at Genet, still bleary eyed, to join over 1300 pilgrims to the ancient site. Monseigneur Stanislas Lalanne, the RC Bishop of Coutances, said prayers. To singing of a hymn, the pilgrims then set out across the sands for the 2 1/2 hour walk, sometimes wading through water up to their our knees, stopping at times to pray and sing. On arrival at the Mont, covered in mud and weak at the knees, the pilgrims faced the steep climb (about 800 steps) to the Abbey for mass.

Mont Saint Michel has been a place of pilgrimage for 1300 years. Some of the Anglican pilgrims, including a four-legged one, are pictured below.


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Saturday, 7 August 2010

Church sans frontières!

It is not often that other parts of the Church of England notice us here in the Diocese in Europe. However, the July/August edition of the Southwark Diocesan newspaper The Bridge, has devoted its centre pages to us, with feature articles from three of our clergy, the Revd Peter Edwards (Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca), the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd (Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe) and the Venerable Jonathan Boardman (Archdeacon of Italy and Malta).

In addition, Tom Sutcliffe (left), a lay member of the Diocese of Southwark and member of General Synod has written a leader article entitled Church sans frontières! which describes us in very warm terms.

A link to The Bridge centrespread feature is here.

Thank you Tom and the Diocese of Southwark for this coverage. Please read Tom's leader article here by following the read more link.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Facelift

After a year, it is time for a makeover. I have applied a slight cosmetic upgrade to the Eurobishop site. You might not even notice, but I think it is an improvement in design: slightly different font, wider layout, some tweaking of colours. Remember you can subscribe to receive automatic updates in your email, or you can visit the site directly at http://www.eurobishop.blogspot.com/.


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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

August 2010 book selection

Here is a selection of some current theology for August. There is sure to be something of interest to all who like to keep abreast of current theological and spiritual writing. I have posted 9 reviews below. They come from Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Secretary to the Bishops. There are works on ecology, preaching, prayer, pastoral care, ethics, systematic theology and more....


Just click on the read more link. Boa leitura!



Monday, 2 August 2010

Letter from 15 bishops to those with concerns about women in the episcopate

Back in July 2008, some 1300 clergy wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to express their concerns about the the consecration of women as bishops. They said that in light of a lack of provision for those who cannot accept this development "We will inevitably be asking whether we can, in conscience, continue to minister as bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of England which has been our home". The text of that 2008 letter is here.

Now two years later proposed legislation to permit women bishops has been forwarded from General Synod to the dioceses for consideration. In a letter dated 27 July 2010, 15 bishops, including our Diocesan Bishop Geoffrey, have written to those clergy who signed the 2008 letter.

The bishops have stated that they want the letter shared with all who may be interested to know of it, which I imagine will be many in our diocese. I post the text of the letter below. Just press the read more link.