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.



Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Late Summer 2013 Book Reviews


Here are some recent books on a variety of theological topics, from hearing confessions to Messy Church. There is some stimulating reading here.

Unfortunately, these book reviews are going to be less frequent as Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Consultant to the bishops of the Church of England, is no longer with the national staff at Church House. I relied on his extensive reviews to be able to pass along news of the latest quality theological writing which would be of of interest to the faithful of this Diocese in Europe who wanted to keep abreast of the latest quality theological writing.

¡Buena lectura!

For the reviews, click on read more.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Revd Clem Upton takes over as priest-in-charge of St Christopher's, Costa Azahar



On Wednesday 10th July the Revd Clem Upton was licensed by the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch, to be Priest-in-Charge of St Christopher's Costa Azahar. The parish of Costa Azahar depends on the generosity of the Roman Catholic Church for the use of buildings and so it was very good for the Archdeacon to have been able to welcome Fr Emilio and Fr Cristobal (below left) two local Roman Catholic priests, to the celebration.


Fr Clem serves the three congregations in this Anglican parish to the north-east of Valencia, in Alcossebre, L'Ampolla and Vinarós. We Fr Clem and his wife Sheila to this diocese in Europe.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Revd Nigel Stimpson - Lisbon and Estoril


I don't know how this slipped through the Eurobishop net! But here is an important, if somewhat late, announcement about the Greater Lisbon Chaplaincy.

On May 2nd the Revd Nigel Stimpson was licensed by the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch, as Chaplain of Greater Lisbon. There are two congregations in the chaplaincy - St George's Lisbon, and St Paul's Estoril. 

Fr Nigel joins a long line of priests serving the English (now better described as the English-speaking) community in Lisbon dating back to the 1650s! He sees the role of the chaplaincy to be a home to all who wish to worship in English, “a friendly, hopeful Christian community,  open to strengthen our unity with other Christian traditions and nationalities”. 


Fr Nigel was supported on this day by Fr Peter Ford from St James's Porto and Fr Bob Bates from the parish of Algarve who are pictured below along with the Archdeacon.



We welcome Fr Nigel to the Diocese and Archdeaconry! The Greater Lisbon Chaplaincy website can be found here.


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Work proceeds on St Thomas Becket, Hamburg


2012 was a busy year for the parish of St Thomas Becket, Hamburg, as it celebrated its 400th anniversary  Now, with the parishioners encouraged and re-energised for the next 400 years of ministry, attention has turned to the Church building itself! 

"Its going to look wonderful when it is all finished!", says the Revd Matthew Jones, the Chaplain. Since 6 May the Church building has been wrapped up for external cleaning, painting and refinishing. A new illuminated sign will be installed which will be a beacon to all who pass by that this is the Anglican Church in Hamburg. We can't wait to see the new look to our beloved and historic St Thomas Becket church. 


Friday, 19 July 2013

Florence parishioner: one of a group of Anglicans from around the world in Rio for the (RC) World Youth Days


The Diocese in Europe will have a presence at the Roman Catholic World Youth Days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23 to 28 July. Our representative is Alice Christofi, a 20 year old member of St Mark's Florence. Alice was born in London and is a student of modern languages. She is a faithful member of the parish and is frequently the MC at the liturgies as well as a participant in the musical life of the Church, according to Fr William Lister, Chaplain of St Mark's, pictured below with Alice and Reader Penny Mittler.


The idea of an Anglican presence in Rio came from Fr Nicholas Wheeler of the Anglican parish in Cidade de Deus. He contacted me earlier this year about his plans to organise an Anglican youth delegation drawn from around the Communion to be part of this major Roman Catholic event, at which the special guest will be Pope Francis himself. 

Fr Nicholas is also arranging for our youth delegates to have an exposure to the significant work and ministry of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, especially in the marginalised areas of Rio, such as Cidade de Deus. Fr Nicholas describes the work of our minority Anglican Church this way: "the provision of generous space where people can gather to engage in the transformation of the community". He is pictured below with some of his parishioners before a mural in the Church.



Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, the Venerable Jonathan Boardman says, "I am so pleased to hear about this! Great for Alice, Florence, and the Archdeaconry!" And for the diocese in Europe!

We wish Alice boa viagem! and look forward to her reports of this event.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A significant birthday for a significant Deacon


A festive lunch was recently held in London when the diocesan staff, together with my office, celebrated a significant birthday of a certain deacon, who is well known throughout the diocese.

Deacon Frances is pictured, third from the right, looking suitably dignified on this great occasion.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Two new priests ordained in All Saints, Rome


On Sunday 30 June two new priests were ordained in All Saints Rome by Bishop Edward Holland, Honorary Assistant Bishop. Bishop Edward was commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to preside at these ordinations, as has been the policy to date, as directed by the Diocesan Bishop when women candidates are ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese in Europe.

The two new priests, the Revd Dana Englishand  the Revd Dr Mary Styles, are both serving as curates in All Saints. The chaplain of All Saints is Archdeacon Jonathan Boardman who is pictured above presenting the candidates to Bishop Edward.




Monday, 15 July 2013

St Margaret's Budapest welcomes guests from the Conference of European Churches


On Sunday 7 July, St Margaret's Budapest welcomed many visitors to their Sunday Eucharist from the Conference of European Churches Assembly. The congregation met in a relatively new venue which they use once a month in the suburban Buda hills. On the other three Sundays, services are held at the chapel owned by the congregation in the centre of the city.


The service included 2 adult baptisms and 3 confirmations. The parish hosted a wonderful buffet lunch following the service.

Joining with me and the the priest-in-charge of St Margaret's, the Revd Dr Frank Hegedus, were the former priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Dennis Moss. Visiting Anglican and Old Catholic clergy also concelebrated, including Bishop Christopher Hill (Guildford), Bishop Dirk Schoon (Old Catholic, Haarlem), and a dear and old friend, Bishop Julio Murray (Panama). Bishop Julio was the keynote speaker at the CEC Assembly and is the past President of the sister organisation the Latin American Council of Churches.



Bishop Julio and I forget how many years we have known each other (certainly from before we were ordained). I learned how to make a Martini from one of his predecessors, Bishop Lem Shirley!

St Margaret's has produced an ordinand Endre Kormos, who will begin his studies towards the priesthood at Mirfield Theological College this autumn. Endre was my chaplain for the service and is on the left in the picture below.



Sunday, 14 July 2013

A new constitution for the Conference of European Churches


On Monday 8 July, the delegates from 120 member Churches of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), gathered in Budapest, gave final approval to a new constitution for the organisation. After 6 days of intense work, the details were agreed, thus charting a way forward for the CEC to be an effective instrument of the European Churches in support of their common mission in Europe.

The Vision and Mission of CEC are summarised in a "strategic road map" for the future:

Our Common Vision
In faithfulness to the Gospel, CEC seeks the reconciliation and common witness of the Churches to help build a humane, socially conscious and sustainable Europe at peace with itself and its neighbours, in which human rights and the basic values of peace, justice, freedom, participation and solidarity prevail.

Our Common Mission
Through programmatic development and research CEC works to strengthen the bonds of Christian fellowship (koinonia) between all its members so that they might be better equipped and empowered to work together and with others in advocating an authentic and credible Christian witness to European society, and to European and international institutions.

One significant decisions was to move the headquarters of CEC from Geneva to Brussels. Another was to reduce the size of the Governing Body (formerly known as the Central Committee) from 40 to a more manageable and affordable 20.

I worked on the Nominations committee which, among other things, had to present a slate of membership for the Governing Board to the Assembly. It was quite a balancing act, to ensure that 8 regions were represented, with a mandatory minimum of 25% Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental) as well as striving for 40% women, 25% youth, 40% lay and about 25% from "minority or migrant Churches". Try fitting all this into 20 spaces!

The delegates worked hard, and by the end of the meeting were all fairly exhausted.


Due to the constitutional work which needed to be accomplished there was, disappointingly, little time left for work on issues facing the Churches in Europe. Daily prayer however, was central to the life of the Assembly, each day drawing on the riches of the traditions of the member Churches.


The reports from the Assembly can be found here. I particularly commend the message to the Churches which is found here. 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Parishioners of St Nicholas Helsinki to be missionaries in Cambodia


St Nicholas Helsinki is a vibrant and youthful parish in the Diocese in Europe. There is a large sector of the electoral roll that are in their 20s and 30s. It is also a parish is multicultural in make-up and with a deep concern and interest in the world Church.

I learned of one particularly tangible sign of this global commitment and interest on a recent parish visit. Parishioners Dennis and Hanna Londo and their young family (above), are preparing to leave to be missionaries in Cambodia with the Church of Finland's Mission Society. We wish them God's blessing in this assignment. It is also a good example of Porvoo Communion cooperation!

Parish priest, the Revd Tuomas Mäkipää had prepared some confirmation candidates for my recent visit and another joined the celebration from the neighbouring parish of St Timothy and St Titus, across the Gulf of Finland in Tallinn, Estonia!




Monday, 8 July 2013

St Thorlak's, Reykjavik

The most northerly congregation in our Diocese in Europe became officially known as the Congregation of St Thorlak, on 29 June, the feast of SS Peter and Paul. The Reverend Bjarni Thor Bjarnason was licensed as Priest-in-Charge of the congregation by the Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd.

Pictured above left to right are the Rt Revd Kristjan Valur Ingolfsson (Bishop of Skalholt), the Very Revd Birgir Asgeirsson (Dean of Reykjavik), the Revd Maria Agustsdottir (wife of Bjarni), the Revd Bjarni Thor Bjarnason (with their two daughters), and Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd.

Fr Bjarni is Vicar of Seltjarnarnes Church on the west side of the city and leads the Anglican Congregation of St Thorlak (in English) at 2pm on the last Sunday of each month at the city centre Hallgrimskirka. Two churchwardens have been elected, Guy Stewart (originally from Canada) and Thorgerir Lawrence (Anglo-Icelandic), and Bjarni now becomes a member of the Nordic/Baltic Deanery Chapter and Synod.

Fr Bjarni developed close links with the Church of England after serving a curacy at Scunthorpe in the Diocese of Lincoln, soon after the Porvoo Communion came into being. St Thorlak (1133-1193), the Patron Saint of Iceland, studied in both Paris and Lincoln, and is comemorated on 23 December.

Incidentally, Bishop Kristjan was a guest at the General Synod of The Church of England this weekend at York. As two of the three Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland are women, I am sure he must have found the debate very interesting!

 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Delegates from over 120 Churches in Europe arrive for CEC Assembly

Today is the main arrival day for the delegates to the 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, (CEC), which is being held in Budapest from 3 - 8 July. There are over 120 member Churches of the CEC, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant and Old Catholic. The Church of England is a member and I am one of the delegates from that Church.

The theme is "And now what are you waiting for? CEC and its mission in a changing Europe". The last Assembly took place in Lyon in 2009. Since Lyon a working group has been preparing proposals for a new constitution for CEC, to re-tool the organisation to be a more efficient and responsive ecumenical instrument of the European Churches. Member Churches want CEC to be re-shaped to better enable ecumenical dialogue and cooperation, including with the (RC) Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) and with the various European Institutions. So there will be much discussion here about what we want CEC to do, and how we can structure the organisation to be able to deliver on the tasks that the member Churches will identify. It will be a heavy 6 days!

 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Mallorca is a busy place as far as the Church of England is concerned.

Parishioners and visitors at Port de Pollença 
Mallorca, that picturesque Mediterranean island, where many people from more northern climes go for rest and relaxation, is actually a very busy and active parish of the Church of England. There are three congregations which form this pastoral charge: St Philip and St James in Palma, St Andrew in Port de Pollença and a small community on Cala d'Or.

On a recent parish visit, I was able to learn from members of the Council of St Philip and St James about how they are working with their new priest, the Revd David Waller, on some points of mission strategy, including their work to attract younger families to Church, and to enhance communication across the island about activities of the parish. In St Andrew's Port de Pollença I was able to see, first hand, how their ministry of hospitality helps to welcome "swallows" (seasonal residents), short-term holiday visitors and even people simply sailing around the Mediterranean on their yachts, into the life of the parish. Eating, drinking and socialising together seems to be a main ingredient in their successful strategy.

Fr David hopes to be joined by another full-time priest in the not-too-distant future. There are also two licensed Readers and two other individuals exploring vocation to this lay ministry.

A young family in Palma
There was also time for inter-church and ecumenical encounters. There is a tiny group of members of the Iglesia Evangélica Reformada Episcopal, (IERE) led by a Reader, originally from Cuba, wonderfully named Arquimedes. Arquimedes and his faithful few attend the services of St Philip and St James, despite having quite limited English.

Arquimedes, Doña Beatriz of IERE with Fr David Waller
It was also good to have a meeting with the new Roman Catholic Bishop of Mallorca, Don Xavier Salinas i Viñals, whom I had previously met when he was Bishop of Tortosa. Don Xavier lives in an ancient palace that was originally the home of a Moorish prince. But he is a very forward looking bishop; and we exchanged some ideas about the outreach of the Church to youth and young adults. He very generously permits the use of his Church buildings for Anglican worship.


The Sunday celebration included the confirmation of candidates from Palma and Port de Pollença


Monday, 1 July 2013

Four Deacons ordained in Brussels

Left to right: Deacons Doreen Cage, John Barker, Matthias Grebe and Richard Gardiner
On Saturday 29 June, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, four deacons were ordained by Bishop Geoffrey, in the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Brussels. 

The Director of Ordinands, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, reported, "All went very well indeed in Brussels. Chancellor Robert Innes (of the Pro-Cathedral) hosted very warmly and it was rather amazing having deacons ordained for pretty much the furthest reaches of the diocese". The four will serve their titles in Málaga, Bonn and Cologne, and Yerevan (that's Armenia!). 


Deacon Richard Gardiner was given a special surprise during the service when Emma, a young singer from the parish of Bonn and Cologne, (above) sung one of his favourite pieces during Communion. Richard was unaware that she would be in Brussels for the ordination!