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, 30 September 2011

A Reader in All Saints, Vendée reflects on a parish interregnum

Reader John Matthews
When a parish is awaiting the appointment of a new priest it can be a trying and anxious time. Very often the spiritual leadership falls upon a Reader if a parish is lucky enough to count on such an authorised lay minister. All Saints Vendée in France is seeking a new priest-in-charge. While the search continues, Reader John Matthews wrote the following in the parish magazine, to encourage his fellow parishioers and remind them of their own vital ministry at this time. It is a helpful reflection for any of our congregations going through this "in-between time" and I am grateful to John for his permission to share his thoughts on this blog:


In St Luke's Gospel chapter 5 Jesus calls Simon Peter, James and John as disciples. All were fishermen and Jesus tells them 'Don't be afraid, from now on you will be catching people'. I suspect that not many of us in All Saints Vendée are fishermen, so what do you regard as your major strength, or interest? Have you spent your life developing and using your skills to good effect or have you sometimes felt like a 'square peg in a round hole'?


God has brought us all to this corner of France, from our varied backgrounds, for a purpose. Us, not the church buildings we use on Sundays! He's not expecting us to just fill these buildings every Sunday, he wants us simply to be the individuals he created us to be. We can't become somebody else, only more and more the individual God had in mind, but we need to believe in him to achieve our full potential.


As with the early disciples, God wants us to interact with the people we meet in our daily lives (English-speaking or not), in the supermarket, at the vide-grenier, in our hamlet, or in our Associations - and yes, in the church buildings, too! After all, if we can't exemplify Christian love in the way we relate to others within the church (the Body of Christ), why should anyone else feel we have any good news for them?

The Church is not yours, mine, or the priest-in-charge's; it belongs to Christ. One of the most important re-alignments in Church of England thinking about ministry in recent years has been the relocation of ministry in Baptism (which is 'the commissioning of the people of God for their ministry in every place'). Thus, ministry belongs first to Christ, then to his Body (through Baptism), then to the Body's corporate leadership, then to its 'servant'/leader - the priest-in-charge. As Paul has reminded us, all parts of the Body are interdependent!

This does not diminish the role of the priest, who has a key responsibility to share his/her interpretation of the bigger picture to the local Church community; to discern with them a local strategy, built on its quality of life and its key message about Jesus; and to discern, and help develop, individual gifts. But it does mean that, in this period when we are 'between priests-in-charge', we have a responsibility to continue to work together on the quality of spiritual life within the existing Christian community, and on the effectiveness of our ministry and mission to the wider community.


There are no 'square holes' (or round ones), to be filled in the months ahead. We are each called to use our God-given talents in the service of others, in accordance with our Christian faith; the Holy Spirit does the rest! Like Abraham, we are heading for a 'distant land', not knowing where God will lead us but believing his promise that all things work together for the good for all who believe.


We will have a new Priest-in-charge in God's good time but, in the meantime, let's respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and let the world around us know what Christ means to us.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

“And it was good ….” - a Communion wide Lent course for 2012



The Fifth Mark of Mission acknowledged by Anglicans – “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth” – is sometimes seen as the neglected Mark across the Communion. Lent 2012 offers an opportunity to redress this, with the help of a course coming out of the work of the Bible in the Life of the Church project of the Communion.

The five-week course will enable individuals and groups to engage with a Bible-wide range of scriptural passages that speak of our responsibilities in relation to the environment. It will also offer reflections on how Anglicans in different parts of the Communion engage with the Bible with discussion questions that challenge our thinking and behaviour.

The course will be available both on the web, and as a booklet. It will be available by Advent this year, but you are able to sample the course on line and order booklets for use in 2012.

The Anglican Communion Standing Committee highly recommended this course at their meeting earlier this year. 

For further details contact Stephen Lyon, Coordinator of the Bible in the Life of the Church project at stephenplyon@gmail.com or click here for a sample of the material.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Ecumenical cooperation deepens between London and Athens


Apostoli Delegation with the Archbishop

The world may be looking at the economic difficulties facing Greece which may possibly have to default on some of its debt. Meanwhile, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens and the Church of England are committed to learn from each other and cooperate on matters of social outreach to the poor and marginalised.
Last week, a high level delegation from the Archdiocese of Athens spent several days visiting schools, programmes and outreach projects of the Diocese of London. The delegation was led by Mr Constantine Dimtsas the Director General of Apostoli, the Archdiocese’s welfare programme, and included Dr Vassi Leontari, the Director of Programmes and International Co-operation, Dr Vasilis Meichanetsidis, the Ecumenical Officer of the Archdiocese, and Mr Emilios Polygenis, the Director of the Orthodox News Agency, Romfea
On Thursday 22nd February I took the delegation to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Dr Rowan Williams and Mr Dimtsas were able to discuss aspects of the economic crisis in Greece. Mr Dimtsas stated that there are over 800,000 migrants in Athens alone, but soon over 150,000 civil servants will made redundant in the economic cuts. With their families, this will add another estimated 600,000 souls among the poor in the city. "In the current economic crisis the problem of hunger in particular is spreading across a wide range of society”, said Mr Dimtsas. The Archbishop recalled his own visit to Athens earlier this year, when he visited some of the work including the feeding programme of Apostoli.  “The problems of Greece are in our minds every day. We realize how serious the concerns are at this time. I assure you that I pray for Greece and I support any cooperation between our Churches as we address these challenges", said Archbishop Rowan.
Plans are developing for cooperation on issues of charity to the homeless and immigrants, youth work and education.
Our own chaplain in Athens, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, is a key collaborator with the work of Apostoli. His ecumenical commitment in support of the work of the Greek Church is highly valued and appreciated by Orthodox Archdiocese. 
Mr Constantine Dimtsas, the Director of Apostoli

Sunday, 25 September 2011

September 2011 Book Reviews


September sees the start-up of Church life in many of the congregations across our Diocese in Europe. To get the theological juices flowing after the summer period, here are reviews of 10 books. You will find interesting and important works on Christology, Liturgy and Worship, Ecology, Evangelism, Priesthood and Church leadership and more.

Góður lestur! (recently back from Iceland!)

Click on the read more link for the reviews.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Requiem Mass in Chichester Cathedral for Canon Roger Greenacre

Canon Greenacre (right) at a ecumenical gathering in Beaulieu-sur-mer
A requiem mass for the Revd Canon Dr Roger Greenacre was celebrated on Friday 23 September in Chichester Cathedral. Canon Greenacre, was a residentiary canon of Chichester Cathedral for 25 years, from 1975 to 2000. Prior to that he was chaplain of St George's Paris, and from 2000 to 2010 was priest-in-charge of St Michael's Beaulieu-sur-mer. He died in July.

Clergy from the Diocese in Europe, Chichester, and elsewhere in the Church of England, members of the Order of St Lazarus, and Roman Catholic guests from the Abbeys of Bec-Hellouin and Chevetogne were present at the service. The Archbishop of Canterbury sent a message describing "the life of a priest of rare quality". Archbishop Rowan noted the important work of Fr Roger in building bridges between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, especially on the continent of Europe. Among his many gifts to the Church is an invaluable guide to the Roman Catholic Church in France, first published in 1996.

Significantly, and underlining Fr Roger's life-long commitment to ecumenism, His Eminence Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, (below, centre) was present and delivered a moving tribute at the end of the mass.

Fr Roger's ashes were interred in the Paradise Lawn of the cathedral.

Seigneur, nous confions à ta garde bienveillante notre frère Roger.






Church of England and (US) Episcopal Church share joint life in Germany



The Diocese in Europe Deanery Synod of Germany met on 23 - 24 September in Munich, preceded by the semi-annual clergy chapter meeting on Thursday 22nd.  Uniquely in the Anglican Communion, the C of E  deanery clergy and parish representatives meet with the representatives of The Episcopal Church parishes in Germany in a body called the Council of Anglican Episcopal Churches in Germany (CAECG). This year's meetings were at Schloss Furstenried Exerzitienhaus, a Roman Catholic retreat house on the outskirts of the city. The Pope, who arrived on Friday in Berlin, is a former student at this retreat house.

Apart from the usual business of synod, the Reverend Carola von Wrangel, Rector of Christ The King Episcopal Church in Frankfurt, led reflections on conflict and conflict resolution in the Church, under the theme:  "Conflict? We don't have no stinkin' conflict!". Bishop Dr Matthias Ring of the Old Catholic Church of Germany sent warm greetings to the Anglican / Episcopal gathering, in which he said "I wish you God's blessing for your meeting and the work in your congregations. Let us continue to keep alive the friendship and fellowship between our churches."

The gathering will bid farewell to the Revd Dorothee Hahn, Assistant Rector of The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Munich, who is moving to Romania next month to serve with a mission in the Romanian Orthodox Church. 
 

The photo above is the clergy chapter. Left to right back: the Revds Tony Litwinski (Wiesbaden), Canon Christopher Jage-Bowler (Area Dean, Berlin), Holger Laske (Old Catholics), Matthew Jones (Hamburg),  Andrew Sillis (Bonn/Koln from Jan 2012), Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd. Left to right front: The Revds Dorothee Hahn (Munich), Ken Dimmick (Stuttgart), Jana Johnsen (Wiesbaden), Carola von Wrangel (Frankfurt), John Knott (NSM Germany).

Below, the Revd Carola von Wrangel leads sessions on conflict.


.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

New Bishop of Skálholt


Bishop Kristján talks to one of his priests. In the background, his Cathedral
On Sunday 18 September, Kristján Valur Ingólfsson was consecrated Bishop of Skálholt, Iceland. Skálholt is the site of the first Icelandic bishopric, established in 1056 by Ísleifur Gissurarson, a priest from a noble family in the area. Ísleifur reportedly travelled with a polar bear as a gift for the Holy Roman Emperor, then on to Rome to have his nomination as bishop approved, and then to Bremen to be consecrated by the Archbishop. Besides his Cathedral, he also built the first school in Iceland in Skálholt. In the 19th century, the Danish authorities (Denmark ruled Iceland at that time) moved the seat of the diocesan bishop to Reykjavik and the ancient sees of Skálholt and Holar became suffragan sees.

Bishop Kristján formerly taught theology at the university and was the rector of the Church at Thingvellir, the site of the founding of the ancient Icelandic parliament in 930. He is also a liturgical scholar and composer of hymns.


I was privileged to be one of the co-consecrators at the service at which the Bishop of Iceland, Karl Sigurbörnsson, presided. Other bishops came from the Faroe Islands, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, along with the other suffragan bishop in Iceland, Jón Baldvinsson of Holar.

It was also good during my visit to have some time with the priest who serves our English congregation in Reykjavik, the Revd Bjarni Thor Bjarnason. Attendance at the Church of England services which are held on the last Sunday of the month at the Hallgrímskirkja, range between 40 and 60. There are larger numbers at the high feasts.

Bishop Kristján and Bishop Ragnar Persenius (Uppsala)


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Canon Peter Duplock RIP


Window, Holy Trinity Brussels

The Revd Canon Peter Montgomery Duplock OBE, (born 1916) died on Friday 16 September in a nursing home in Hindhead, England.

Canon Duplock had a distinguished ministry in this Diocese in Europe, serving first in Holy Trinity Geneva from 1964 - 1971 and then in Brussels with Charleroi and Liège from 1971-1981. In 1979 he was instrumental in establishing All Saints, Waterloo, as a daughter Church of Holy Trinity Brussels. (All Saints is now in the (US) Convocation of Episcopal Churches). He was also the Archdeacon of NW Europe in 1981 just before he retired.

May God grant his faithful servant the peace and joy of paradise.

Vacancy Spotlight: Costa Blanca, Holy Spirit Parish





There are currently two vacancies for priests in the the parish of the Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca, Spain, one full-time position and one part-time. In brief, the packages on offer are:


Full-time: 3 double-bedroomed house, car, annual stipend of c24,000€, C of E pension contributions and Spanish Social Security
Part-time: 3 double-bedroomed house, car, 6,000€ per annum, no pension contributions paid.
This is one of the most active parishes in the Diocese, consisting of 8 congregations along the spectacular Mediterranean coast from Valencia to just south of Alicante. When fully staffed, the ministry team, headed by the Senior Chaplain, the Revd Peter Edwards, consists of 3 priests (two full-time and one part time) and a reader, with assistance from a number of retired clergy.

If you are a priest who would enjoy active collegial team ministry, enthusiastic lay support, warm ecumenical relations, in very congenial geographic surroundings, then you may wish to have a close look at Costa Blanca.

The details of both positions are on our diocesan website job vacancies page here.



Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ecumenical Joy as Fr Matthew Jones is Licensed in Hamburg


Fr Matthew Jones, far left; Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd, second from right
On Saturday 16 September, in a joyous celebration with a significant ecumenical presence, Father Matthew Jones was licensed as Chaplain of the Anglican Church of St Thomas a Becket, Hamburg. The Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd presided and preached at the service at which clergy representing the Roman Catholic Church, the German Lutheran Church, the Church of Finland, Church of Sweden and the Hamburg Council of Churches took part.  


A video clip which has some shots of the service, but more importantly, an interview with Fr Matthew Jones,  can be found hereThe new chaplain reflects on moving from Australia to Germany, and his expectations about the challenges and joys of ministry in Hamburg. St Thomas's Church is celebrating 400 years next year and Fr Matthew sees this as an important opportunity, not only to reflect on that past history, but to see what gifts and experiences can be carried forward into the future to enable the parish to move forward "to glorify God and celebrate life in the city".


The Archdeacon presents the licence to the new priest



Monday, 12 September 2011

The Revd Mark Collinson Presents Research at Anglican/Old Catholic Meeting


From 29 August to 2 September in Neustadt/Weinstrasse, Germany close to 50 scholars from the Old Catholic and Anglican Churches gathered for a conference on "Ecclesiology and Mission in Today's Europe". Papers were presented on aspects of the nature of the Church (ecclesiology), the way the Church lives her life in obedience to Our Lord's mandate (missiology), and the challenges for Christians and Christian identity in modern Europe.

In addition, some participants presented their own current areas of research. Among those was the Revd Mark Collinson, the Area Dean of the Netherlands, and the Chaplain of Christ Church, Amsterdam (pictured above). Mark shared his work under the theme "Making a Dwelling in Europe", in which he is exploring some aspects of the Anglican presence on the European Continent. Mark raises some challenges for our Church as to how  we can be more incarnational in our life and mission, expressing more fully our connection to the local countries and contexts where we are ministering. Among the questions he poses is  "should we be promoting a more indigenous leadership?" We are sure to hear more from Mark on this theme!

The conference also discussed a draft statement which has been prepared by the Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council (AOCICC) entitled "Belonging Together in Europe". This statement seeks to deepen our understanding of the nature and implications of the 1931 Bonn Agreement which established "Full Communion" between the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. "Belonging Together in Europe" will be finalised at the AOCICC meeting this November in York and then submitted to the authorities of both Communions for evaluation. The AOCICC hopes that it will point towards ways that Anglicans and Old Catholics can make our relationship of "full communion" more visible and help us to express together our common task and mandate to proclaim the Gospel.

(Photos are courtesy of the Revd Dr Peter Feenstra)

Panel leading discussion on AOCICC paper "Belonging Together in Europe"



Monday, 5 September 2011

Resource for Advent


It seems a long way away, but clergy and readers and others in the congregations of the diocese who may be planning study groups and programmes for Advent, may wish to look at a resource produced by St John's Nottingham.


These Words of Mine... are a set of daily bible readers and reflections written by members of the St John's College community, which aim to help us examine ourselves in the light of Jesus' teachign in teh Sermon on theMount and in the Book of James. It is produced by students and staff of the College.

Copies are £4.99. Information and orders can be placed by contacting Helen Taylor at St John's: h.taylor@stjohns-nottm.ac.uk

St John's Nottingham is the theological centre where our readers are trained, through their extension programme.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

On leave



I will be taking some leave from the 2nd until the 16th of September (with the exception of 12th to 14th when I have unavoidable meetings!) 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!