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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.


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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Exploration of new work in North Rhine-Westphalia


On 5 May, the Area Dean of Germany, the Revd Ken Dimmick, convened a meeting to explore future Anglican ministry in the area of North Rhine-Westphalia. At present Anglicans and English-speaking Christians are able to worship in the chapels of the British Forces in Germany, which continue to provide services, primarily for the military, of course, in places such as Paderborn, Gütersloh, Bielefeld and Herford. However as permanent British Forces deployment in Germany is due to end in 2019 such services will no longer be offered by military chaplains. This will leave potentially a large number of English-speakers, some retired soldiers, some civilians, who will have no English-language ministry available to them. The meeting was to explore how services and ministry might continue to be offered, but under the auspices of the Diocese in Europe.

Several lay persons, and two priests, the Revd Alja Tolefssen from across the border in Twente, Netherlands, and the Revd Richard Downes, the Warden (Padre) at Church House Lübbeke joined with Fr Ken and myself for these exploratory talks. (Church House Lübbeke is a training and retreat establishment run by the British Forces). An extensive mapping exercise was undertaken, and a full discussion was had about what ministry resources might be available, for example from retired clergy, nearby Churches of the Diocese, and Old Catholic Church personnel. This is a part of Germany with no present congregations of the Diocese. Historically there were such congregations in the region but they closed at the outbreak of WWI. At one point there were over 60 Church of England congregations in Germany!

It was clear that the English-speaking community desires continuity of Church life once the military network leaves. The lay persons present spoke of the dimensions to Church life that they presently value and which they hope will continue through the Diocese in Europe: worship, community, fellowship, welfare and support, compassion, outreach and  friendship.

The Area Dean will be carrying forward this exploration. Consultation will also be held with our partner Old Catholic Church in Germany.


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