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, 29 July 2011

Norwegian Church in London filled to overflow for memorial service


St Olav's Norwegian Church in London was filled to overflowing for today's memorial service. Candles were lit in memory of those who lost their lives in the attacks last Friday. In attendance were Norwegian diplomats, national and local politicians, ecumenical friends and representatives of other faith communities. Canon Andrew Nunn of Southwark Cathedral read a message from Bishop Christopher Chessun, and Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, led prayers. Along with the Norwegian Chargé d'Affaires, Mr Arne Sammes Bjørnstadm, The Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP, I was able to extend a message of tribute and solidarity. I post the text of my tribute below.

Dear Fr Torbjørn, dear Mr Bjørnstad, honoured visitors, sisters and brothers in Christ.
Someone wrote to me in the past couple of days, reflecting on the acts of terror in Oslo and Utøya, and said, “in these days, the Porvoo Agreement really makes sense”. What my correspondent meant, I think, was that when tragedy strikes a member of part of a family, the family comes together, to comfort each other, to simply be with each other. The same is true of our Churches, now part of one extended family, through the Porvoo Agreement..
Our Lord Jesus built a community of servants and friends – founded on the deepest commitment to him and to each other. It is as a member of your extended family that I am here today, to express the support, assurance of prayer and deep love which underlines that we are one family, one community. It is in this spirit that I am with you today as a representative of the Church of England.
In the face of such unimaginable and terrible violence, the world has observed Norwegians responding with such grace and courage, holding fast to the principles which you hold so deeply. Following attacks inspired by hatred and fear, the natural reaction of many people would be to close doors, put on armour of protection and become wary and guarded with each other, and suspicious of the stranger. In contrast to this approach, the world has been moved by the sentiments expressed by your Prime Minister, Mr Jens Stoltenberg, who affirmed that in response to the attack your country must be more open, more tolerant, more democratic. Here is no word of hatred or fear, but rather a steady looking towards the future. We are inspired by such statesman-like, and indeed Christian words: to hope for and work for a better Norway, a better world, not a more frightened one where hatred and dread hold sway. In the face of a fearful nightmare filled with death, Norway is choosing life. As difficult as it is to speak of gift at a time of such violence, in so many ways, the people of Norway are teaching us, witnessing to us, to hold on to the values the world desperately needs. And so we resist calls for vengeance, and choose justice. We address fear and hatred by building a more open and embracing community. We affirm a future of hope, peace and grace.
One of the mysteries of our faith is how God created human beings with free will. This means the freedom to do good and to do evil. God loves us so much that in the freedom he gives his children he does not take away the possibility that we may abuse that freedom to hurt others. But God our Father’s love and compassion are always with those of his children who are wracked with pain, confusion, grief and sorrow. In a moment we will hear the majestic words of St Paul which attest to the extent of God’s compassion and love for us, words which speak today to our own sorrow. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Today on St Olav’s day, a martyr who died for what he believed was right for Norway, it is fitting that we gather to honour the memory of people, especially the young victims, who died while doing what they believed in –  working together to build a bright future for Norway and her people. It is on this hope and with this witness that God can bring light out of darkness.
Your friends and Christian brothers and sisters are with you today, to affirm your choice for life. As friends and family we gather to comfort each other. We share a word or two with you, we embrace you in an act of peace, and we unite our hearts with yours in spoken and unspoken prayer.
And we affirm our common faith, as St Paul teaches us, that when we feel despair, when we feel anger, sorrow, and separation. In these times, God does not leave us alone. 

2 comments:

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    wished to mention that I have truly loved surfing around your weblog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing in your
    rss feed and I'm hoping you write once more very soon!
    my web page > computer repair in NYC

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Brother,

    The Lord be with you and make God's face to shine upon you and give you peace.

    I am Waseem Yousaf from Pakistan. I have studied your web site, and have found it to be one of many wonderful sites offered on the internet which gets to the Truth of the Word of God. As is the case with others whom I have contacted, you have created material which is full of knowledge concerning development of religious faith. Living in Pakistan, we Christians face many obstacles in getting access to God's Word. Most people in Pakistan speak Urdu, and are not capable of understanding the English language. Because of limited access in our native tongue, my people have a true hunger for fresh Christian Perspectives.

    Proficient in both English and my native languages, I would like to offer my services as translator to you. Presenting your material in both Urdu and Punjabi would be a true blessing to the Pakistani and Indian people. For a nominal fee, I will enable you to bring the message of Salvation to a most deserving people.

    Blessing you in advance for your consideration,

    Email: waseemyousaf153@yahoo.com


    In Him,
    Waseem Yousaf
    Pakistan

    ReplyDelete