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.

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Church of the Resurrection, Pera, Istanbul is inaugurated

In a joyous celebration on Sunday 25 April, over 90 persons gathered for the inauguration of the Church of the Resurrection, Pera, in Istanbul. This church formed from the growing together of two Turkish speaking congregations, one already part of the diocese in Europe, and another coming from an independent protestant tradition. Following a period of several months of mutual discernment the Church of the Resurrection held their first Annual General Meeting on Sunday 18th April and a Church Council and churchwardens elected. The Revd Engin Yildirim, already a priest of this diocese, is now the priest-in-charge of the Church of the Resurrection, Pera.

Turkish-speaking Christians are a small minority in the country and many groups have tended to split apart from one another. The union of two congregations is therefore significant and marks a maturing in the life of the indigenous Turkish Church. The Anglican Church offers a place where Turkish Christians can find a home that is rooted in the tradition of the Unndivided Church while open to a genuine Turkish expression of Christianity.

As the service began the Churchwardens declared "We come from once distinct communities and now we recgonize and embrace our unity in Christ. As God's people we now gather as one Body, to worship him together". A corporate renewal of baptismal vows followed and a common confession of the faith of the Church. After the eucharist, Fr Engin dismissed the congregation, who held lit candles to signify their life in Christ who is the Light of the World, with these words: "One in heart and one in mind, and empowered by the Spirit, Go in peace to love and serve the Lord".

The Church of the Resurrection is fully part of the Church of England Diocese in Europe. Its worship is eucharistic according to the provisions of Common Worship, translated into Turkish. The music of the liturgy is developing and draws on the rich traditions from Armenia, Persia as well as Turkey itself.  There about 12 children in a Sunday School programme. The congregation embraces its Anglican vocation to ecumenism, and understands its role as a bridge church between the ancient Churches in Turkey, such as the Orthodox, Armenian and Syrian churches, and the new free evangelical congregations which have emerged recent years. The ecumenical guests at the liturgy included representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the Finnish Lutheran Church, the Dutch Reformed Church and several Turkish protestant congregations in the city. The members also have a strong commitment to service to the wider community, particularly in outreach to refugees. Last Christmas, a lunch was held for over 80 refugees, and members teach English and other skills to the refugee community in Istanbul. 

The Anglican presence in Istanbul goes back over 400 years. Christ Church with St Helena's Istanbul, with its chaplain the Revd Canon Ian Sherwood, continues to serve the English-speaking community, and has itself an impressive ministry with refugees. There are other Anglican congregations in Turkey are in Ankara and Izmir.

We welcome the Church of the Resurrection, Pera into the family of our diocese, and rejoice with them in this milestone. We look forward to journeying with them and supporting them in the years ahead.

A note to members of the Archdeaconry of France: in the photo below you will see in use see the gift of the chalice, paten and ciborium which you gave as a gift to Fr Engin's congregation last year.

The website of this new parish is here.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Bishop Tom Wright to leave Durham

The Bishop of Durham, Dr N. Tom Wright, has announced that he will resign from the See of Durham on 31 August this year. He will be returning to academic life as he takes up the position of Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Bishop Tom Wright is well known for his theological writing, both academic and popular. He is considered to be one of the world's foremost New Testament scholars. As I travel around the diocese I note that almost all our clergy and readers are familiar with and use Bishop Tom's work, particularly his biblical commentaries, including the popular For Everyone series. He admits that the decision to return to academic life was the hardest decision of his life. It will however allow him to concentrate on his research, teaching, writing and broadcasting.

The bench of bishops in England will miss Bishop Tom. The Archbishop of Canterbury said that Bishop Tom, "has given generously of his extraordinary gifts in the life of his diocese and the Church of England at large, and he will be greatly missed by his fellow bishops. But we are all delighted that he will have fuller opportunity now to develop the unique ministry of Christian scholarship which has enriched so many minds and hearts across the world".

The official announcement on the Diocese of Durham website is here.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A new worship centre in the parish of Gran Canaria

On Friday 23 April, St George's Day, the first Anglican service in Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria was held. For some time now, the priest-in-charge, Fr Peter Ford OGS, who is based at Holy Trinity Las Palmas over an hour away, has been planning to open a worship centre in this southern town on the island where many British come on holiday. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Gran Canaria has kindly offered the use of the Church of San Fernando (above) for our eucharists. The first celebration got off to an encouraging start with a congregation of 14. Plans are to have a service every Friday at noon, with time for fellowship at a lunch following. We wish the parish of Gran Canaria every blessing on this new outreach venture.

The parish website is here. In addition, Fr Ford has a blog entitled News from Paradise.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Scratchings about the Anglican way: robes and vestments

This is part 3 of a series of some answers I gave to questions from leaders of a free evangelical congregation in Europe who were interested bringing their people into the Anglican Church. They asked about the wearing of robes. They had seen somewhere that "the minister served in a man's suit" and wanted to know about what was required in the Anglican tradition. It is a question that arises from time to time, and not only among new Anglicans. This is part of my answer....

The matter of vestments or robes is a simple one. The norm in the Church of England is that for the public, statutory services of the Church the customary robes are worn by the clergy and readers (licensed lay ministers). The robes are intended to emphasise the office or role of the leaders in worship. They de-emphasise the personality or the personal wardrobe taste (which after all can be good or bad) of the person leading worship.

The robe of the secular business world (for men, the suit) is not necessarily the most appropriate vestment for leaders of Christian worship. It does not adequately indicate their role in the congregation, nor the nature of the authority they have. A pastor or priest is not a businessman or businesswoman! Moreover, the clergy and readers (lay ministers) who lead worship do not act for themselves, but for Christ. The robes help to take their own personality out of the picture, leaving the focus beyond them, to Christ. Similiary a police officer does not act on his or her own authority but represents the law of the country, so wears a uniform which points beyond himself or herself to that authority.

The basic value of robes in public worship is to ensure that we are focused on Christ and his worship, rather than on ourselves, our own humanity, personality and style. They are an important evangelical sign to show that we must decrease in order that Christ may increase (cf St John 3.30). Thus the basic robe used by leaders in Christian worship is a long white garment, either alb, or surplice. (The latter is a mediaeval shorter version of the alb). It derives from the ancient baptismal garment, indicating that in baptism we are have put on Christ, that we are clothed anew as part of his Body. Our Church of England service for Holy Baptism provides for the newly baptized to be clothed with a white robe and then the minister says "you have been clthed with Christ. As many as are baptized into Christ have put on Christ".

Other vestments also have a symbolic meaning. The stole, for instance, worn hanging from the neck, indicates that we take on Christ’s yoke when we become Christians.

Vestments are not central to the faith. However, the principles which lie behind the wearing of robes are important signs pointing to Gospel truth, and so are a time-honoured part of our Anglican heritage.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Welcome Canon Harold Nahabedian to the Diocese in Europe!

It is not often that a bishop gets to induct one of his former teachers into a parish. Last Saturday afternoon, in the presence of ecumenical guests and visiting clergy, I licensed the Revd Canon Harold Nahabedian to be priest-in-charge of St Alban's Strasbourg. He is pictured above taking the oaths on the bible held by the Revd Christine Bloomfield, the Assistant Curate at St Alban's. Other ministers in the parish include reader David Cowley. Bishop Venuste Mutiganda originally from Rwanda and Deacon Sangi Mansita from Angola have permission to officiate (both are pictured below).

I first knew Fr Harold 32 years ago when he was chaplain at Trinity College Toronto where I was a student of divinity. I owe much of my own formation as a priest to his support and direction, particularly in the area of liturgics. Fr Harold comes to us after his retirement as rector of St Mary Magdalene's Church in Toronto, a multicultural parish with an outstanding liturgical and musical tradition. (It is the parish where Healey Willan was organist and choirmaster for decades). He brings to our diocese with a rich experience in ecumenism. He is a member of our international dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox family of Churches (the Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian, Malankara and Armenian Churches). Harold is Armenian in background and a scholar of Armenian language and liturgy. His French language skills will be essential in this parish with many Francophone members.

Fr Harold is married to Janet, a teacher and musician. We welcome Fr Harold to this diocese. The website of St Alban's Strasbourg is here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Assistant Priests in Midi Pyrénées & Aude: The Revds June Hutchinson and Tony Jewiss

At the French Archdeaconry Synod last week, the Revd Tony Jewiss was licensed as assistant priest (NSM) in the chaplaincy of Midi Pyrénées & Aude. Fr Jewiss should feel at home in our international diocese, as he was born in England, grew up in New Zealand, and has served as a priest in the dioceses of Los Angeles and Long Island in the USA. He has been a bishop's chaplain, and has also worked in the central office of the Episcopal Church in New York.

At the same service Bishop Geoffrey licensed the Revd June Hutchinson as assistant priest in the parish, signifying that she has successfully completed her years of post ordination training and now moves on from being an assistant curate.

The parish of Midi Pyrénées & Aude covers an area twice the size of Wales and has 6 congregations. At the time of writing I am happy to be able to say that a new chaplain has been chosen and is presently in the final stages of appointment. There will be an announcement soon. The chaplain will lead the ministry team which includes Tony and June as well as several licensed readers.

We welcome Fr Tony to our diocese and congratulate June on her new position in the parish. They are pictured above.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Gozo Congregation Celebrates 5th Anniversary

The Anglican congregation in Gozo is one of the newer congregations of the diocese and has just celebrated 5 years of formal organisation, although Anglican services have been held in Gozo since the mid 1970s. Dedicated to "Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary and St George the Martyr", it is one of 3 congregations of the Anglican Church in Malta and Gozo, served by the Chancellor of St Paul's Pro-Cathedral in Valletta, Canon Simon Godfrey and the chaplain of Holy Trinity Sliema, the Revd Jeff Williams, and Mr David Felgate, licensed reader in the parish.

On Wednesday 14th April, I presided at the anniversary eucharist wich was held in the magnificent St George's Roman Catholic Basilica in Victoria (see photo below). Three of the clergy of the Basilica, including Archpriest Mgr Pawlu Cardona (who read the Gospel), were present, a sign of the warm ecumenical relations between Anglicans and  Roman Catholics on the island.

Warm congratulations to the congregation of Our Lady and St George, Gozo for a faithful first five years, and every blessing for the time ahead.

The website of the Anglican Church in Malta and Gozo is here.

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Big Hearts Wanted for General Synod

Photo credit: Mzzur/

The Church of England launched a campaign today to encourage "people with a very big heart" to stand for the General Synod. The present Synod will be dissolved at the end of the July 2010 group of sessions in York and a new Synod will be elected for a five-year term in September/October and inaugurated in November.  There are 378 lay and clergy members, plus the house of bishops. The Diocese in Europe has two clergy and two lay members as well as Bishop Geoffrey. Our present members are the Revd Canon Debbie Flach, the Very Revd Jonathan Boardman, (Lay) Canon Ann Turner and Mr Roger Fry. 

Resources have been produced, under the slogan "Be Part of the Big Picture", for those who may be interested in standing for election. Included is a five-minute video filmed at General Synod in February 2010, featuring contributions from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Business Committee chair Preb Kay Garlick, outgoing members of the Houses of Laity and Clergy, and national journalists. The video can be viewed here. Other resources and vital information for those considering standing for election can be found here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says on the video: “Any healthy and mature Church is a Church where everyone feels they have a voice. Synod needs your voice because we need all the voices together to discover the truth that God wants us to know for our generation, society, sanctification, our own hope and our own health.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, adds: “We want people whom I call all-weather Christians - people who are all-rounders really that can actually play the different jobs, because there are people sitting on committees, different boards and councils. So what we want are people who have a very big heart, who want to come here and bring friendship, bring love, bring vitality, and we want all ages.”

The requirements for election to the Houses of Laity and Clergy respectively are as follows:

To stand for the House of Laity you need to be:
  • 18 or over
  • An ‘actual Communicant’ in the Church of England
  • On the electoral roll of a parish or the community roll of a cathedral
To stand for the House of Clergy you need to be:
  • Ordained priest or deacon, be beneficed or licensed or have permission to officiate in the diocese or hold office in the cathedral

David Williams, Clerk to Synod, said: “The next few months will be a challenging yet rewarding time of circulating the information and then electing members reflecting the diversity of the Church for the new quinquennium. Nominations are particularly welcome from people of minority ethnic backgrounds as we move forwards into our Ninth General Synod.”
Specific information pertaining to elections in this diocese will be issued by the Diocesan Secretary in due course.

Monday, 12 April 2010

April 2010 Book Selection

Here is April's book selection. Once again thanks to Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Secretary to the Bishops of the Church of England, for these helpful reviews. If you wish to keep up with current theology the selection here is a good place to start.

This month a wide range of subjects is covered: liturgy, Pauline writings, Christology, pastoral theology, apologetics, ethics and social teaching, and spirituality. Of particular note is the new book by the Revd Dr Charlotte Methuen, a former Director of Training in this diocese.

10 reviews are below. Just click on the read more link. Bonne lecture!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of the Revd Dr Lindy Jordan

On Friday 9 April about 150 people crowded into St Andrew's in Fuengirola for a Memorial Eucharist for the Revd Dr Lindy Jordan. Deacon Lindy was the assistant curate in Costa del Sol East who died due to complications following surgery last 23 January.

The service was attended by Lindy's sister Dinah and by several of Lindy's colleagues among the clergy in Spain, including priests from the Finnish and Norwegian Churches, and the Revd Dr Ian McIntosh, the Principal of the Eastern Region Ministry Course, where Lindy trained for ordination.

Once, when preparing for her selection conference for ministry in the Church of England, Lindy was asked to state what she believed to be the heart of the Gospel. She said:

"Jesus's sacrifice opened up to us the eternal kingdom which is the object and hope of our journey."
May the Risen Lord bring Lindy to that eternal kingdom.

New Communicants at St Paul's Monaco

It was a special Easter for 6 children in the parish of St Paul's Monaco who received their first Holy Communion on Easter Day. The children pictured are pictured here with their certificates marking the completion of their preparation programme. St Paul's Monaco is one of the congregations of the diocese which have asked permission to admit baptised children to Communion before Confirmation.

In the Church of England, children who have been baptised but who have not yet been confirmed and who are not yet ready and desirous to be confirmed as required by paragraph 1(a) of Canon B15A may be admitted to Holy Communion provided that certain regulations are satisfied. Please note that the guidelines in the Diocesan Handbook and on the diocesan website are now out of date as there have been new regulations issued in 2006. I will ensure that the new regulations appear on the website as soon as possible along with the diocesan form to apply or permission for this provision in our churches and congregations.

In the meantime, the form and the regulations can be requested from my chaplain Deacon Frances Hiller

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Haleloia! Haleloia! Haleloia!

Haleloia! Haleloia! Haleloia! Voavono Kristy - Paska ho antsika, Ka dia aoka isika hanao andro firavoravoana. The Easter anthems - Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast - resounded through the congregation of over 150 Malgaches who joined in their Easter Eucharist at St George's Paris. This community, fully part of St George's and led by a catechist Nicolas Razafindratsima, worships in Malgache (and French) once a month. It was a joy to preside and preach at their service, the sixth liturgy during my weekend at the parish!

The other liturgies were celebrated in English (with one of the readings always in French) with congregations which were very diverse in make-up. On Easter morning the servers who attended me were Iranian, Mauritian, Kenyan and English. At the Easter vigil candidates for baptism and confirmation were English, Italian-English, Vietmamese-English, Malgache, Nigerian, and Kenyan.

Fr Matthew Harrison and Fr Richard Fermer are the clergy who serve this vibrant multicultural community we know as St George's Parish in Paris.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Anglican Peace and Justice Network Meeting in Geneva

The following is an extract of a report written by Claudine Haenni Dale, the Anglican Communion's Main Representative to the UN in Geneva, about the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN) meeting which was held in our diocese a couple of weeks ago. APJN is one of the most important networks of our Communion. Networks, unlike commissions of the Communion, have to be self-funded. Nevertheless, this particular one focusses on matters which are close to the heart of the Church's mission to the poor and marginalised.

The parish of Holy Trinity Geneva, where Claudine is a member (and trainee reader) played a major role in hosting the event and welcoming the international delegates to Geneva, who, from the report, clearly felt at home with us. It is a privilege that the APJN met in our diocese and we are pleased indeed that Claudine is closely connected with its work. She is pictured above administering Holy Communion to the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.

For the report, click read more.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter Letter to Church Leaders

In his ecumenical Easter Letter to fellow church leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury urges Christians living in relatively comfortable environments to offer practical support as well as prayers for the many suffering Christians around the world, particularly in Zimbabwe, Mosul (Iraq), Egypt and Nigeria. At the same time Archbishop Rowan reminds those of us who live in relative peace and security but who may be concerned about secularising trends in society that
“We need to keep our own fears in perspective. It is all too easy to become consumed with anxiety about the future of the Church and society. We need to need to witness boldly and clearly but not with anger or fear; we need to show that we believe what we say about the Lordship of the Risen Christ and his faithfulness to the world he came to redeem”
For the full text of the letter follow the read more link

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Chrism Mass in St George's Madrid

St George's Madrid hosted one of the three Chrism Masses held in the diocese this Holy Week. Clergy and lay ministers from the parishes of Lisbon, Costa del Sol East, Costa Almeria and Costa Calida, Costa Ahazar, Gibraltar, Madrid, and Tenerife South gathered for this liturgy where vows of ministerial service are renewed and the three sacred oils (for the sick, catechumens and chrism) are blessed for distribution to the congregations of the diocese.

The Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Dr John Paddock preached, applying some insights from the Spanish mystics, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, to the disciplined life of bishops, priests, deacons and lay ministers. Both the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch, and the Area Dean of Gibraltar, the Revd Canon Hugh Broad were among the clergy taking part.

There was also a significant ecumenical presence including the Revd Dr Mariano Perron, the Ecumenical Officer of the (RC) Archdiocese of Madrid, the Revd Fr Sasoon Zumrookhdian, the Vicar General for the Armenian Apostolic Church in Spain and Portugal (and a number of his parishioners), the Sisters of Unity (Hermanas de la Unidad), Dr Mariano Blasques, the General Secretary of the Protestant Federation, Bishop Elmer Belmonte of the Charismatic Episcopal Church and representatives of the Spanish Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church.

Our thanks go to the Revd Ian Hutchinson Cervantes, the chaplain of St George's Madrid, and the members of the parish, who worked hard to host us and to provide a special lunch following the service.