The richness of our ecumenical life became evident last Saturday as I licenced the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel as Chaplain of St Thomas à Becket Church in Hamburg. Many seafaring nations have long-established churches in this ancient Hanseatic city, which are now in communion with the Church of England thanks to the Porvoo Agreement. Of course the Lutheran Church is the local church and we have warm ecumenical partnerships with them through the Meissen Agreement. The Bonn Agreement of 1931 brought us into full communion with the Old Catholics. Additionally we have very fruitful dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church and the Methodist Church. All this contributed to a splendid turnout for Fr Leslie's licensing service with clergy and representatives from the Churches of Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Old Catholics, Lutherans, Roman Catholics and Methodists joining members of the parish who welcomed their new priest.
Fr Leslie comes to this post as one of the Church of England's leading ecumenists; his immediate past position was the European Ecumanical Secretary for both the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Combined with his own international background, fluent German language skills, and a passion for mission, outreach, fine music and liturgy, he is poised to lead this vibrant and historic parish into a bright future.
It was joyful musical liturgy to inaugurate Fr Leslie's ministry, with members of the parish presenting him with symbols of his priestly and pastoral ministry which will build them up in their own life in Christ. European and African hymns and psalms were sung and greetings and words of welcome exchanged in German.
We welcome Fr Leslie to this diocese
Photos: Roland Magunia