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.

Monday, 30 November 2009

New Bishop of Porvoo Consecrated

Björn Vikström was consecrated Bishop of Porvoo in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland on Sunday 29 November. (He is on the right in the picture, with the Archbishop of Turku, Jukka Paarma, on the left). Porvoo is the diocese for Swedish-speaking parishes throughout Finland. The Archbishop of Turku presided in Swedish at the service in Porvoo Cathedral, which included portions of scripture read in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and English. I was invited to be a co-consecator along with bishops from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The chaplain of the Anglican Church in Finland, the Revd Rupert Moreton, was also an invited guest.

Bishop Vikström, 46, comes from an academic career, formerly a researcher at Åbo Akademi, the Swedish-language University of Turku. His subjects include sustainable development and environmental ethics, a useful field given the challenges before us. He was ordained priest in 1988.

The Vikström family is well known in Porvoo. Bishop Björn's father, John Vikström, was a previous Bishop of Porvoo from 1970 to 1982 when he was elected Archbishop of Turku and Finland. He was succeeded by his brother Erik Vikström (Björn's uncle) who was Bishop of Porvoo 1983 to 2006.

Porvoo Cathedral has a unique place in Finnish history. In this ancient building exactly 200 years ago this year, Tsar Alexander I assembled the four Estates of Finland (nobles, clergy, burghers and peasants) who pledged allegience to him as the Grand Duke of Finland, ending 700 years of Swedish rule in the country. Alexander ratified the continuance of the Finnish Lutheran Church as well as the basic laws of the land. This was a key event in Finland's national development.

We pray God's blessings on Bishop Björn as he takes up his new responsibilities.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

"Church and Earth" - The Church of England's 7 Year Plan on Climate Change

I have posted several articles to do with the environment over the past several months, and there are sure to be more to come. Initiatives and programmes are growing in number to help Christians engage with our calling to be good stewards of the planet. The Church of England has just published a report entitled Church and EarthIt is a statement of the our Church's beliefs, activities and ambitions relating to climate change and environmental action over the next seven years. It is part of the global effort to tackle climate change and associated environmental challenges.

The commitments in the report include:
  • Carbon reduction target of 80% by 2050, with an interim target of 42% by 2020
  • Annual carbon and energy reports for all parishes and dioceses by 2016
  • All church buildings to have carbon footprints calculated and recommendations made by 2012
  • Advice for all parishes on choosing green energy tariffs by 2010
  • Tree-planting to be encouraged on church land
  • ‘Eco-twinning’ between UK and developing world parishes, faced with early effects of climate change
  •  New Climate Justice Fund offering aid to churches in the developing world
  • All dioceses to target Fair Trade status before 2016
On 16 November, at the Church Centre for the United Nations in New York City, Lois M. Dauway, a member of the World Council of Churches Central Committee challenged Christian Churches to embrace the task of addressing climate change. She proposed the "Nike School of Theology", referring to the well-known manufacturer of sports shoes. Nike's brand slogan sums up what the Church is called to do: it is time for action, "Just do it, just do it!"

In the Diocese in Europe we all have work to do!  There are many suggestions in the Church and Earth report that can be followed up in our own congregations. A summary of the Church and Earth report can be found here.

Friday, 27 November 2009

St Alban’s Copenhagen - a Spiritual Presence at the Climate Summit

St Alban's Copenhagen will be open every day during the UN Climate Summit, COP15, to provide a place of welcome, hospitality, prayer, stillness and engagement with the issues. The Revd Jonathan LLoyd has invited a team of Franciscan brothers, a Franciscan sister and Anglican clergy to be based at the Church during the summit, to meet and welcome visitors, and to be a spiritual and praying presence in the heart of the Danish capital during this important international gathering which runs from 7 - 18 December.

In addition to Fr Jonathan, the Chaplain of St Alban's, the core members of the team are:
Brother Clark Berge SSF (San Francisco, Minister General SSF, pictured above)
Brother Colin Wilfred SSF (Canterbury)
Sister Joyce CSF (London, Minister General CSF)
Brother Hugh SSF (Hilfield, Dorset)
The Revd Tony Rutherford (Kent)

Complementing the work of the team will be two experienced cousellors who will be available as confidential listeners, Leslie-Ann Calliste and Janet Rutherford. Members of St Alban's Church itself will assist with the work of the team during the summit.

During the summit the church will be open every day between 0815 and 1930. The hospitality on offer will include coffee, wireless broadband connection, toilets, stillness and prayer, maps, advice, conversation and a place to warm up and dry off!

The weekday programme will be:

0830 Morning Prayer
1200 Holy Eucharist
1700 Music
1730 Evening Prayer
1800 “A Time for Climate Justice” – an open seminar about an aspect of COP15, followed by discussion
1900 Coffee
2100 Compline at The Swedish Church (next to Osterport Station – only 10 minute walk from St Alban’s)

The Church will also be a meeting place for campaigners from the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN), the World Council of Churches, Christian Aid, TearFund, Operation Noah, Arocha, CAFOD and other faith organisations and churches from across the world, providing a hub for networking, sharing stories, and making new friends.

Some special events organised by St Alban's include a quiet Evening Service/Vespers at Trinity Church on Saturday 12 December at 1800, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will give a reflection. Dr Williams will also preside and preach at the Parish Eucharist at St Alban’s Church on Sunday 13 December at 1000.

The St Alban’s COP15 Chaplaincy Team can be contacted on [+45] 29 79 40 36. The address of the Church is Churchill Parken 6, Langelinie, DK 1263 Copenhagen

St Alban's has a webpage focussing on their COP 15 programme here. I have prepared an official press release about the St Alban's programme for the diocesan website here.

Christian Aid's prayer for the climate change negotiations

Christ our Lord, when we remember the sacrifice you made for the world, remind us that we are called to care for the world and its people, and challenge us to see how our actions change the world. Be with us as we act to make a difference.

Christ, whom we remember in the bread, remind us of those who are hungry, and challenge to us to see how our actions change the world. Christ, whom we remember in the wine, remind us of those who are thirsty, and challenge us to see how our actions change the world.

Christ, as we remember your perfect sacrifice, inspire us to follow your example and to work with you to restore a broken world. Motivate us to take action, and grant wisdom and courage to the world's leaders that they can negotiate a fair deal for the world's poor in Copenhagen. Remind us that you are with us, and that when we live lives of service, we live them in your name. Amen.

Swine Flu Update

Bishop Geoffrey and I have issued fresh guidance to the Diocese in Europe pertaining to swine flu:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the bishops of the Church of England with an update on swine flu. The information pertains specifically to England, of course, as it is based on recent consultation with the UK Department of Health. In short the Archbishops are now advising that in England the normal administration of Holy Communion ought to resume.

In congregations of our Diocese in Europe, unless there is a specific health advisory in force from local or national authorities, the Archbishops' advice should be followed and the normal practice of administration of Holy Communion in both kinds resumed where this has been suspended.

The letter from the Archbishops is below:

Dear Bishop,
In July,during the first wave of the Swine Flu pandemic we issued national advice with regard to the administration of Holy Communion.

This advice was based on information and guidance received from the Department of Health which was geared to the situation at that time and the projected levels of risk suggested by the potential course of the pandemic. Since then the scientific understanding of the Swine Flu virus has advanced, further experience of the course of the epidemic has been gained, and the first stage of a vaccination programme, targeted at those most at risk from the virus, is nearing completion.

Throughout this period, our advice has been driven by the interests of public health, particularly for the protection of the vulnerable.

In the light of continuing consultation with the Department of Health, and with updated information on the course of the Swine Flu pandemic, we believe that we can now advise that the normal administration of Holy Communion ought to resume. This recommendation is subject to the guidelines issued in June ( which set out good hygiene practice for public worship and which allows for local discretion in the event of outbreaks of pandemic flu in particular centres of population. We shall also continue to monitor the situation.

We wish to thank you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging period for both Church and Community. We are thankful that the pandemic has so far proved less severe than was feared.

Please pass this on to your colleagues in the diocese.

With every blessing,

+Rowan Cantuar                      +Sentamu Ebor

(The official announcement from Bishop Geoffrey and me can be found on the diocesan website.)

Church of England Online Advent Calendar Launched

The Church of England has launched an online Advent Calendar, with a special introductory message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, at  In the launch videocast Archbishop Tutu says: “Care for our world, it is the only one we have.” He is joined by UK International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander and the Archbishop of York who deliver their own Advent challenges.

Upcoming features in the days of Advent will include the Archbishop of Canterbury reflecting on the Copenhagen Summit, the Eden Project calling for mud between our toes and the Chief Rabbi suggesting some ‘Sabbath moments’. Daily Bible passages and prayers accompany the lifestyle challenges and stories from across the Church of England and beyond. 17 December will be special for the Diocese in Europe when our parish of the Aquitaine will be featured. The calendar closes on Christmas Eve with a seasonal reflection from theologian Dr Paula Gooder.

Why not take 5 minutes each day this Advent, and follow the ‘tread gently’ challenges and video stories behind each door in the online calendar. No, it's not chocolate, but it will be nourishing for the soul this Advent. For more information go to

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Anglican-Roman Catholic Ecumenical Relations Move Forward

The annual “Informal Talks” between the Vatican and the Anglican Communion were held on 25 November at the Anglican Centre in Rome. The delegations were headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper (left) and Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. I participate in the informal talks as spokesperson for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Mission and Unity, IARCCUM, along with my Roman Catholic colleague, the Most Revd John Bathersby, the Archbishop of Brisbane. The meetings are in camera but we decided to make public, in the form of a press release, one very important announcement, which I attach below.

The press release is important, not only for its content; it also signals how the dialogue at the highest level between our Churches is continuing, with an agreed mandate and agenda. So official Anglican-Roman Catholic relations are on very solid ground, despite any awkward feelings resulting from the Vatican's announcement of the Apostolic Constitition Anglicanorum ceotibus.

Anglicans in the Diocese in Europe have very cordial relations with the Roman Catholic Church. In many places these warm relations are vital to our church's life where we receive the hospitality of Roman Catholic bishops and the use of their buildings. We therefore welcome this strong affirmation of our continuing pilgrimage towards the unity which is Christ’s will. The press release is as follows:

Following the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, at the Vatican on 21 November 2009, at which they reaffirmed their desire to strengthen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, a preparatory committee met on 23 November 2009 to prepare the third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). It has been decided that the phase will begin within the coming year.
This third phase will deal with fundamental questions regarding the Church as Communion – Local and Universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching.
Over the coming months members will be nominated to the Commission, and a date for its first meeting will be announced.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Preaching Workshop

The Diocese in Europe Director of Training, the Revd Ulla Monberg, recently organised a conference for Readers and those training to be Readers from across the diocese. The event was held at St Columba's House, Woking, from 18 to 20 November.

The conference focussed on the ministry of preaching and the speakers included the Revd Canon Mark Oakley, the priest-in-charge of the Grosvenor Chapel and formerly the Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, and the Revd William Gulliford, the Diocesan Director of Ordinands. The conference focussed on theological and practical aspects of the ministry of preaching and teaching. I gave a lecture on divine revelation, the Christian doctrine of how God communicates with his people.

16 participants came from France, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. As often happens at meetings in our diocese, the participants also valued the opportunity to time spent together in worship and fellowship, and took steps to keep in touch with each other for ongoing encouragement in their rministry when they return to their local churches.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations

On Saturday Archbishop Rowan Williams had a brief visit with Pope Benedict XVI. The official Vatican statement following the visit states:
This morning His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in private audience His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. In the course of the cordial discussions attention turned to the challenges facing all Christian communities at the beginning of this millennium, and to the need to promote forms of collaboration and shared witness in facing these challenges. The discussions also focused on recent events affecting relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, reiterating the shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans, and recalling how, over coming days, the commission entrusted with preparing the third phase of international theological dialogue between the parties (ARCIC) is due to meet.
The "recent events" of course refers to the publication of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum ceotibus, the controversial legal provision for Anglicans to enter into the Roman Catholic Church while keeping elements of their own identity. It is important in the light of some awkward feelings, particularly about the way the news of the Apostolic Constitution was handled, that the Pope and Archbishop restated their intent to continue and consolidate the ecumenical relations between our Churches and drew attention to the preparatory work presently under way for the next phase of the ARCIC official dialogue.

I will be in Rome this week for the Informal Talks between the Vatican and the Anglican Communion. These annual, official, in camera conversations cover our shared agenda as Churches, including our formal ecumenical instruments, ARCIC (the theological dialogue) and IARCCUM (the commission on mission and unity) and other aspects of our joint international relations. The recent private conversations between His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury appear to have set the tone for fruitful working meetings this week.

Incidentally, some have noted the significance that the gift His Holiness chose to give to the Archbishop on Saturday was a gold bishop's pectoral cross.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

2010: Year of European Churches Responding to Migration

European Churches are being invited to observe 2010 as "The Year of European Churches Responding to Migration". The year long programme will be launched in Budapest on 25-27 November.

The aim is to make visible the churches’ commitment to strangers, in response to the message of the Bible which insists on the dignity of every human being. It calls the churches to promote an inclusive policy at European and national level for migrants, refugees and ethnic minority groups.

A calendar of events is in preparation with focus-themes for each month. International days around migration and religious and intercultural festive days are being organised. Local congregations are invited to identify major issues around migration in their region and to organize activities related to the themes of the calendar and to share their activities with each other. A special website gives more details.

The President of the Conference of European Churches, the Revd Dr Jean-Arnold de Clermont, says “Migration is at the heart of the churches’ agenda in Europe”.  As we ourselves are largely a "diaspora diocese" many of the congregations in the Diocese in Europe already work with and for migrants. This year gives a chance for increase the visibility of this work and to strengthen and enhance our commitment to migrants, refugees and ethnic minority people in Europe. It will be an excellent way to follow up on our 2009 Pastoral Conference "Entertaining Angels: Hospitality as Mission", where we explored our calling as Christians and churches, obliged and invited to "welcome the stranger".

Thursday, 19 November 2009

November Book Reviews

Here is November's book selection. The reviews are written by Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Secretary to the Bishops of the Church of England. They will be of interest to all who wish to keep up with current theology, including the clergy and Readers (lay ministers) of the Diocese in Europe. 7 reviews are below. Just click on the read more link.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Administrator or Pastor: One Bishop's View

Our insurance agents require a summary of travel within the diocese each year to determine if they are providing adequate cover. So I just completed a quick tally: by the end of 2009 I will have spent 133 days in the territory of the diocese itself. What's involved in these days? The majority of the time is spent preaching, teaching, presiding at liturgies, attending meetings and synods, ecumenical commitments and conversations, and engaging in pastoral work with clergy and laity.

When I am in my London office it is normal to spend on average 8 hours a week on the telephone, mostly pastoral conversations with clergy and laity, as well as about 8 - 10 hours each week in face to face meetings, consultations and interviews. I try to schedule one day every week just for reading, study, and writing. Most correspondence I receive is related to pastoral or mission concerns of the congregations or with ministry matters pertaining to clergy, readers, postulants and those in training. Each week I am in London there is at least one ecumenical or other wider-church engagement that requires my attendance. For instance this past week was the visit of the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, along with his bishop for Germany and several clergy, as well as a lunch and meeting with the Lord Mayor of Westminster at which we discussed how local governments might be more active in supporting church buildings! Of course, prayer (apart from public services) takes about 4-5 hours a week, which is likely not enough.

Deacon Frances Hiller my chaplain, an indefatigable multi-tasker, answers a huge amount of correspondence and manages many telephone enquiries on my behalf, and is herself engaged in many pastoral conversations. In between this she squeezes in time to track my expenses for the Church Commissioners, and make arrangements for parish visits as well as general diary management.

As for "administration" I likely spend less than one hour each week signing cheques, Permissions to Officiate, faculties or on other official but essential items of paperwork. So, whence the myth that bishops are caught up in administration, that is what I would like to know?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

New Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity Corfu

On 16 November, the Revd John Gulland was licensed as the new Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity Corfu. Archdeacon Patrick Curran presided at the service at which John and his wife Mary were formally welcomed to the parish. John comes to the Diocese in Europe from the diocese of Sodor and Man. The Isle of Man is approximately the same geographical size as Corfu, but has 28 parishes and about 20 licensed priests for a population of about 80,000. In contrast, the English-speaking population on Corfu is estimated to be around 10,000, with one Anglican priest to serve them! John will be assisted by a reader-in-training, Jackie Dalllos, who is also nurturing a small daughter congregation on Lefkada, and by Bill Cross, a Methodist lay preacher, who has permission to officiate in the parish, under the provisions of the ecumenical canons of the Church of England.  The photo was taken at the recent Archdeaconry Synod in Izmir which John attended with his parish representatives Mrs Anne Giannouka and Mrs Lorraine Tombros. We warmly welcome the Revd John Gulland and his wife Mary to the Diocese in Europe.

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Women in the Episcopate: Press Release and Information

The Church of England Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate has released a statement which I post to help keep the people of this Diocese in Europe up to date. What is clear is that the Committee, in seeking to accommodate those who will not be able to accept women bishops, has ruled out (at present) these possible options:
(a) the setting up of a separate Province
(b) the setting up of separate dioceses
(c) the establishment of some sort of special society within the the Church of England, rather along the lines of a religious order
(d) the vesting in law of the authority given to those bishops charged with oversight of clergy and parishes who cannot accept ministry of a woman bishop.

Their statement hints at the options that are left. I also append some questions and answers which were prepared for communications purposes. Click read more for the statement and appendix...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Patriarch Pavle of Serbia Dies

Patriarch Pavle, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, died today, Sunday 15 November, after a long illness. He was 95. Patriarch Pavle led the Church through its recovery after the fall of communism and during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s called for peace and reconciliation.
The announcement from the Serbian Church stated simply: "Sunday November 15, 2009, at 10.45 at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade, after receiving the Sacrament, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade and Karlovac, Patriarch Pavle of Serbia reposed in the Lord".

Our priest-in-charge of St Mary's Belgrade, the Revd Robin Fox, is the Archbishop of Canterbury's Apokrisiarios (personal representative) to the Serbian Patriarchate. Fr Fox informs us that the Serbian government has declared Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week as national days of mourning. It is likely that the funeral will be this Thursday in the Rakovica monastery in Belgrade. Patriarch Pavle gave strong personal support to the Anglican community in Belgrade. His friendship to our Church is beautifully symbolised by his permission to St Mary's Anglican congregation to celebrate Christmas Eve midnight mass in the chapel in the Patriarchate itself.

There are over 7 milion members of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Its Holy Synod will be responsible for choosing a successor to the Patriarch, normally after 40 days of official mourning.

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with the saints: where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Interfaith Statement on Climate Change

On 29 October, the Archbishop of Canterbury hosted a meeting of faith communities to raise awareness of the effects of catastrophic climate change on the world's poor, as part of the preparations for the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. Participants came from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahá'í, Jain and Zoroastrian faiths. I share the statement below for the prayerful attention of the people of the Diocese in Europe.

As leaders and representatives of faith communities and faith-based organisations in the UK we wish to highlight the very real threat to the world's poor, and to our fragile creation, from the threat of catastrophic climate change. The developed world is primarily responsible for the already visible effects of global heating. Justice requires that we now take responsibility for slowing the rise in global temperature. We call upon UK negotiators at Copenhagen, and the other nations of the G20 in particular, to fight for a deal which speedily

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Ring Your Bells on 13 December

Christians across Europe and around the world are joining in a symbolic action on Sunday 13 December. On that Sunday, midway through the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen, at 1500 hours (3 pm ) local time churches are invited to ring their bells (or sound their drums or any other instruments they use) 350 times. (350 parts per million is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to current scientific estimates).

Also on 13 December, participants at the UN conference have been invited to pray alongside the Danish Queen and church leaders from around the world in an ecumenical celebration at Copenhagen's Lutheran Cathedral. Archbishop Rowan Williams will be the preacher. The service will be broadcast live on Danish television and on the website of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. You are invited to join in these prayers in your own way, uniting with Christians around the world in supporting those who are to make decisions in Copenhagen, which will affect our lives and the life of our planet.

The Revd Jonathan LLoyd, the chaplain of our parish of St Alban's Copenhagen, is bringing together a team of Franciscan brothers and sisters who will be a praying presence at St Alban's throughout the days of the summit. I will be privileged to be in Copenhagen as part of the Archbishop of Canterbury's suite.

A joint letter to European Christians from the Conference of European Churches and the (Roman Catholic) Council of European Bishops' Conferences, promoting this initiative, can be found here. An announcement with more information can also be found on our diocesan website

Assisting Leaders of New and Growing Congregations

On 2 and 3 November, clergy, readers, readers in training from came together for a 2 day seminar to share experiences and explore together themes related to developing congregational life.  The group came from 8 places in the diocese where new congregations are coming into being, or where long-standing congregations face new growth challenges. The common factor was that these congregations rely for leadership either on a new ordinand or on a lay leader, without the benefit of a supervising senior priest close by or even the proximity of an existing and established congregation. One participant was a postulant for Holy Orders, who is in an odd circumstance: exploring a vocation, but virtually no Anglican community for several hundred kilometres!

The participants were able to raise and discuss together a wide range of issues that congregations in our diocese face as they go through key moments of development and growth. The issues range from synodical and constitutional matters (how to arrange the first Annual General Meeting, for instance) to ecclesiological and missiological matters such as Anglican identity and ecumenical hospitality, nurturing volunteer commitment and stewardship.

Assisting me at the seminar was the Director of Training, the Revd Ulla Monberg, and the Diocesan Secretary, Mr Adrian Mumford. The Revd Ken Dimmick, priest-in-charge of St Catherine's Stuttgart, was our principal resource person.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

New Bishop of Stockholm Consecrated (Church of Sweden)

The Church of Sweden is in the news again this week. On 22 October, the General Synod of the Church of Sweden approved the possibility of conducting same-sex marriages. This past Sunday 8 November a new Bishop of Stockholm was consecrated: the Rt Revd Eva Brunne. It is reported that Bishop Brunne is the first openly lesbian bishop in the world, as she is in a registered (and blessed) civil partnership with another woman.

Also consecrated at the same service in the Cathedral in Uppsala was the new Bishop of Härnösand (a diocese in northern Sweden), the Rt Revd Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund. Pictured above from left to right: Bishop Brunne, Archbishop of Uppsala Anders Wejryd, Bishop Bylund.

There were no Anglican bishops at the consecration of Bishop Brunne. The Area Dean of the Nordic and Baltic States of the Diocese in Europe, the Revd Nicholas Howe, will be one of the ecumenical guests at a later reception in her honour. The 4 Anglican Churches in Britain and Ireland and 6 Lutheran Churches in the Nordic and Baltic region (Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania) are in a relationship of communion established by the Porvoo Agreement.

Old Catholic Bishop for Germany Elected

At a synod on 6 and 7 November in Mannheim, the Old Catholic Church in Germany elected a new bishop, the Revd Dr Matthias Ring. Dr Ring is a leading Old Catholic theologian, (co-chairman of the International Old Catholic Conference of Theologians), editor of the journal of the German diocese and engaged in interreligious dialogue. He is presently a priest in Regensburg.

The Old Catholic Diocese in Germany was formed after opponents to the Vatican I (1870) declarations on the infallibility and universal jurisdiction of the Pope were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. Today it has over 25,000 members in 45 parishes, served by 86 priests and 12 deacons.

Dr Ring will succeed the Rt Revd Joachim Vobbe. The consecration is planned for 20 March 2010.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Apostolic Constitution Published This Morning

The text of the Apostolic Constitution, "Anglicanorum coetibus", providing a canonical structure to receive groups of Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church was published this morning by the Vatican, along with complementary norms which guide the implementation of the provision. The announcement was made on 20 October, but the actual text was not made public until today.

The Bishop of Guildford, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Church of England's Council for Christian Unity, has issued a statement, which is the Church of England's response. It underlines that the Vatican measure is something not relating directly to the mission, unity or ecumenical commitments of the Church of England or its dioceses as such, but rather that it is a matter for those individuals and groups who may wish to enter discussions with the Roman Catholic Church. The statement is below. 

Responding to today's publication of the Apostolic Constitution and its complementary norms, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford and Chairman of the Church of England's Council for Christian Unity, said:

“We note the publication of the text of the Apostolic Constitution and its complementary norms today. It will now be for those who have requested and at this point feel impelled to seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church to study the Apostolic Constitution carefully in the near future and to consider their options.

The Vatican response to certain requests from individuals and groups across the world does not deflect us from either the continuing mission of the Church of England in its parishes and dioceses throughout the land, or its longstanding commitment to seeking the unity of all the Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church.”

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Partnership Visit from the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar to the Diocese of Peru

The congregations of our Diocese in Europe are made up of generous people, generous in support of local ministry and generous in charitable giving to the many needs around them. The Archdeaconry of Gibraltar has formed a partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Peru which will engage our parishes in a commitment which goes beyond charitable giving, to face to face sharing and working together. The partnership began with the visit of Bishop Bill Godfrey to the Archdeaconry Synod last February.

10 people from the Archdeaconry leave for Peru on Monday 9th November for a 10 day mission visit. They will share in some joint work locally, and visit projects of the Diocese in Peru.  It is a way to share in the lives of their Peruvian sisters and brothers, to reach out and make visible their common humanity and their unity in the Gospel. It is a journey of loving solidarity. Please pray God's blessing on our representatives listed below, and on our partners in Peru.

John Cade –Mallorca
Ann Marshall – Costa Almeria
Solveig Schnur - Ibiza
Fabian Schnur – Ibiza
William Welch (Dick) – Mallorca
Helen Stokes – Algarve
Dorothy Schofield (Dot) – Tenerife
Fr Ian Hutchinson Cervantes – Madrid
Sebastian Hubbard – Algarve
Fr Haynes Hubbard – Algarve

Friday, 6 November 2009

Anglicans in Nordic / Baltic Area and the Apostolic Constitution

At the meeting of the Nordic / Baltic Deanery of the Diocese in Europe which was held from 30 October to 1 November in Turku, Finland, clergy and laity from 15 congregations in the region discussed the recent announcement from Rome of an Apostolic Constitution to incorporate former Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. The synod felt moved to make a clear public statement about their own firm identity as Anglicans, partly to respond to questions they are receiving from ecumenical partners, and partly to indicate their support for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The resolution is as follows:

In view of the Vatican's announcement of an Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans and former Anglicans, we, the Nordic and Baltic Deanery Synod of the Church of England affirm:

a) that the Church of England is part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

b) our commitment to the ecumenical goals of the official Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue

c) our communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Anglican-Old Catholic Communique

I attach below the Communiqué from the recent meeting of the Anglican-Old Catholic Coordinating Council.

The photo on the left is of the Archbishops of Canterbury and Utrecht

The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council - Communiqué
Canterbury, 29 October 2009

The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) met in the International Study Centre, Canterbury, England, from 26 to 29 October 2009. The Council welcomed the Revd Carola von Wrangel from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe as a new member.

The members received reports of developments in each Communion and reviewed present ecumenical dialogues in which our Communions are engaged. The Council studied several papers on the theology of blessing. It also discussed and adopted an information leaflet about the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht.

A draft text for a common statement on ecclesiology and mission was discussed. The Council will present it to the Anglican and Old Catholic Bishops’ Conference and recommends that it be made the theme of the forthcoming International Old Catholic and Anglican Theological Conference in 2011.
Attention was given to the recently published document “Kirche und Kirchengemeinschaft” (Church and Communion) of the International Roman Catholic-Old Catholic Dialogue Commission (IRAD), as well as to the recent Vatican announcement of the Apostolic Constitution to provide personal ordinariates for Anglicans and former Anglicans.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Nordic/Baltic Deanery Synod Meets in Turku

The Archbishop of Turku, the Most Revd Jukka Parma, (pictured above right with Archdeacon-desginate the Revd Jonathan LLoyd) welcomed the synod of the Nordic and Baltic Deanery to his city. "Identity and Change" was the theme explored by the Deanery representatives, at the meeting hosted by the Anglican Church in Finland congregation in Turku from 30 October to 1 November, and chaired by Area Dean Nick Howe.
The Revd Dr Mika Pajunen, Assistant Priest in the Anglican Church in Finland, (who is also a priest of the Finnish Church), gave a keynote address on the history of the Church in his country, beginning with 1917 when Anglicans fled from St Petersburg during the Bolshevik Revolution, founding the congregation of St Nicholas in Helsinki. Fr Mika opened up some themes related to life within the Porvoo Communion of Churches. He challenged us to consider whether we still operate as cultural and denominational ghettos, or whether Anglicans and Lutherans in the Nordic and Baltic countries are moving towards wider structures of inclusion and common life. The Porvoo Common Statement signed by 6 Nordic/Baltic Lutheran Churches and 4 Anglican Churches from the Britain and Ireland brings the signatory Churches into a relationship of visible communion. According to Fr Mika, the Porvoo Agreement should be understood as a creative tool for joint mission.
Fr John Gribben CR, a monk of the Community of the Resurrection, gave three spiritual addresses to the synod delegates. The worship was rich and varied: Anglican evensong sung in the ancient Turku Cathedral;  the synod Eucharist on the feast of Martin Luther, at which 2 candidates were confirmed; and an All Saints Eucharist in the 13th century parish church of St Mary, according to the rite of the Church of Finland, and at which I was the guest preacher.
Over 50 members of the "White Nile" congregations of Sudanese, joined part of the synod, and enlivened the worship with drums and dance. They were a visible sign of the diversity of our diaspora diocese!

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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council

From 26 to 30 October the Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordination Council (AOCICC) met in Canterbury. I have been part of this Council since its inception in 1998, first as co-secretary, and latterly as a member. The AOCICC is the instrument which oversees the relationship of full communion between the Churches of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht and the Anglican Communion, a relationship established by the Bonn Agreement in 1931. Besides keeping each other abreast of issues and trends in our respective Communions, the AOCICC is engaged in ongoing theological work and is close to finalising a joint statement on ecclesiology and mission.
There are two streams of which come together into the Old Catholic Communion:
  1. In 1723 in the Netherlands the Cathedral Chapter of Utrecht insisted on its historic right to elect its Archbishop. The Pope refused this right and the Chapter elected independently a new Archbishop who was then consecrated by a French bishop, Dominique Marie Varlet. This led to a break between Utrecht and Rome.
  2. In 1870 the First Vatican Council declared the infallibility and universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Pope as articles of faith. In Germany, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe protests were raised against these new dogmas on biblical and historical grounds. Opponents were excommunicated by Rome but as they wanted to retain their Catholic identity and continue to receive the Sacraments they turned to the Church of Utrecht for support.
Given this history, you can imagine there was some interesting conversation at the AOCICC meeting about the recent Vatican announcement of an Apostolic Constitution to bring former Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church!
The Old Catholic Communion has an official website here. The above picture was taken last year at the consecration of the Old Catholic Bishop of Haarlem, the Rt Revd Dick Schoon.