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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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Wednesday, 18 November 2020

We mourn the passing of two pioneering leaders of our diocese

This has been a sad week in the Diocese in Europe. Two great pioneers of our work, one in Finland, and the other in Poland died in the last couple of days. 

Mr Geoffrey Phillips receiving the Maundy Money in Westminster Abbey

Mr Geoffrey Phillips died on 16 November after a long struggle with cancer. He served the Anglican Church in Finland for many years as a Reader (Licensed Lay Minister) in particular supporting the work of the English speaking congregation in Turku where he lived. He was an enthusiastic promotor of the Porvoo Agreement, and our good relations in Turku are due, in no small measure, to the respect with which he was held by our Church in Finland partners over the 25 years of the Agreement. 

He was generous in every way to the Anglican work in Finland, and we thank God for his faithful and loving ministry, and for his kind consideration of the future of our work there. The Chaplain of St Nicholas Helsinki and Area Dean for Finland, the Revd Tuomas Mäkipää writes: 

"It is with great sadness that I must share the news of Geoffrey’s death. He died yesterday after fighting cancer for two years. Geoffrey will be remembered for his welcoming smile, friendship and patience; for his services to the Diocese in Europe and Anglican Chaplaincy in Finland as Licensed Reader and benefactor. He received the Royal Maundy from the Queen in 2011.

Geoffrey was an active member of the Turku Cathedral International Congregation until very recently, occasionally preaching, preparing the prayers of intercession and assisting at the Holy Communion. He and his wife Meg made a large donation to the Diocese in Europe and the Chaplaincy in Finland. He did not wish the donation to be anonymous but did not asked for great publicity either: after serving the Anglican Church for years, he was also concerned for her future well-being.

Geoffrey’s funeral service is at the Ylösnousemuskappeli (Chapel of Resurrection) in Turku on Thursday at 2 p.m (GMT+2). There is no gathering after the service due to current restrictions. Instead of flowers, donations to cancer research are suggested."

Geoffrey is survived by his wife Meg.

Fr Bob Gamble presiding in Krakow

And yesterday we learned that the Revd Robert Gamble, a retired priest in Poland, died. Fr Bob, as he was known, laid the foundation for our present work in Warsaw, and indeed in what has become officially recognised and registered in the country as "The Anglican Church in Poland". Fr Bob was an Episcopalian, originally from Philadelphia. His love for Poland developed long before the fall of the iron curtain. He was held in great esteem in the country, particularly in the city of Poznan where he lived, for his work in communications, social outreach and publishing. (He brought the Harry Potter saga to Poland). 

The Revd David Brown the Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Poland wrote yesterday: 

"Fr Bob died earlier this morning, very peacefully, in a Poznan hospital. His closest relative is his son Dominic in Texas in  the United States. Bob has been a great friend to the Chaplaincy here in Poland for more than 20 years  He has given so much  to many, many people in his life and has always  had a great, warm, generous, giving heart for the needy, the vulnerable and those experiencing difficulties in their lives."   


O God, your mercies are more than we can know; hear our prayers for your servants Geoffrey and Robert; and welcome them into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



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