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.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Church sans frontières!

It is not often that other parts of the Church of England notice us here in the Diocese in Europe. However, the July/August edition of the Southwark Diocesan newspaper The Bridge, has devoted its centre pages to us, with feature articles from three of our clergy, the Revd Peter Edwards (Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca), the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd (Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe) and the Venerable Jonathan Boardman (Archdeacon of Italy and Malta).

In addition, Tom Sutcliffe (left), a lay member of the Diocese of Southwark and member of General Synod has written a leader article entitled Church sans frontières! which describes us in very warm terms.

A link to The Bridge centrespread feature is here.

Thank you Tom and the Diocese of Southwark for this coverage. Please read Tom's leader article here by following the read more link.

The Church of England’ Diocese in Europe is not there just for holidaying British visitors to sunspots in Spain, Italy, Greece, and southern France (see centre pages). Though, in my own case, it was an exchange visit in summer 1957 that brought me first to Holy Trinity, Cannes and, later in Paris, to St George, rue Auguste-Vacquerie, where Horace Hawkins, choirmaster when I was a boy at Chichester Cathedral, had founded a choir school before the first world war.

The summer break brings a lot of extra visitors to these often beautiful and typical Anglican churches, many built in the late 19th century like a lot of our Southwark parish shrines. English is now the lingua franca for many European travellers, and these Euro parishes represent the familiar face of the English-speaking Christian world. Financially, however, they follow a much more American line because almost all must be self-supporting - paid for by their users.

And who are the devoted parishioners on the continent who keep Anglican churches up and running and make them matter in their host countries (where, sometimes, there have been Anglican chaplaincies for centuries)?

Worshippers at our Diocese in Europe churches are a notoriously mixed bunch. You might find Africans from Nigeria or Kenya or Burundi, Southern Baptist Americans, Methodists from the Uniting Church of Australia, handfuls of ex-Roman Catholics, URC believers from England and members of the Scottish Kirk, not to mention Scandinavian and German Lutherans who have got hooked on English style worship and music.

In other words these Anglican chaplaincies are a vital part of Europe’s great ecumenical experiment: exile communities formed from choice and accident of Christians who are combining together rather than bent on separation.

In these days of Gafcon and the Windsor Process, the Anglican church worldwide is terribly self-obsessed.
International Anglicans seem to care more about style and type of Christianity, issues of Biblical debate, taking a stand against the ordination of gay men or women, than with answering the breadth of Jesus’s authentic call to love your neighbour. In contrast the Diocese in Europe sets an example of a church life that is all about getting on with people and tasks and things - sharing a pilgrimage in a foreign land, but not examining documentation and credentials. You’ll need passports to get there perhaps, but not to get in.

Tom Sutcliffe

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