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, 28 February 2011

Prayers for Malta

St Paul's Pro-Cathedral, Valletta
The Chancellor of St Paul's Pro- Cathedral in Valletta, Malta, the Revd Canon Simon Godfrey, has requested the prayers of the diocese at this time. Fr Simon writes:

"As you know we are at the very heart of the Repatriation of many hundreds of English speaking people from Libya ,Egypt and the North African countries facing regime change and self determination aswell as many thousands of non English speaking refugees .At present HMS Cumberland and York are spearheading this vital and dangerous work and we see civilian charterd vessels conveying Americans, Italians and other Europeans et cetera on the Valletta waterfront regularly apart from the Hercules air transporters that are landing at our airport in Luqa.

The Home Office have sent many FCO civil servants to supplement our very busy High Commissioner and her Staff and we are keeping them all in our prayers here at the Cathedral.Offers of help from our congregations have not yet been taken up but we are poised to be as usefully practical as we can

At a time like this we will be much supported and bouyed up by the prayers not only of our Hierarchy but of the whole Diocese."
St Paul's Pro-Cathedral website is here.

The Revd Canon Simon Godfrey

Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe in Oscar-winning film...

When Danish film director Susanne Bier called Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd to ask whether she could film a funeral scene at St Alban's Church, Copenhagen, as part of her new movie, he at first said no. After reading the script, he changed his mind and agreed to meet the production crew. "I had never heard of Susanne Bier, having just arrived myself in Denmark. But the movie clearly has a strong ethical message of forgiveness, and so, after consulting my churchwardens, I agreed". The film "In a Better World" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academcy Awards, announced Sunday in Los Angeles.

Fr Jonathan has a walk-on part in the film, acting as himself. The production team wanted to know the exact details of an English funeral compared to a Danish one. "In the end it got so complicated to explain, that I agreed to just do it myself.", explained Jonathan.

"We had about 20 takes, and my part was to walk up to the coffin and show the young boy who was reciting Hans Christian Andersen, back to his seat. I appear in the film for just a few seconds, and if you blink, not at all! I offered to give a short homily on the resurrection, but this was politely declined! It was great fun working with Susanna and her team, and I have invited her back to St Alban's in the summer to our public celebration of the King James Bible's 400th anniversary."

St Alban's Church appears in the credits, and the film has been distributed by Sony Pictures to 50 countries.

The Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Diocesan Director of Training and an assistant priest at St Alban's advised the production team on the etiquette of the refreshments following an English funeral.

Movie star and archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd!
The official site for the film is here. For a quick synopsis of the plot press read more.

Conference for those exploring vocation to the ordained ministry

On 11 - 13 February 12 persons from across the diocese gathered for an Enquirers' Conference in London, organised by the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, the Revd William Gulliford (above left).

The weekend was designed to provide an exposure to the reality of ordained ministry in the Church of England and included presentations on aspects of the journey of discernment, selection, training and deployment as priests and deacons. The participants also visited local parish communities in London to observe the life of the congregations and their mission. The participants, 6 men and 6 women, came from 12 different congregations from across the diocese in Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Finland and France. 7 were from non-English backgrounds with no experience of the Church of England in its homeland.

Deacon Frances Hiller assisted Fr Gulliford in leading the weekend, along with a former ordinand of our diocese, the Revd Tasha Critchlow (originally from St Petersburg, now a curate in London) and two ordinands presently in training, Guillermo Cavieses (from Stockholm) and Ben Kerridge (from Bologna).

This was the second such Enquirers' Conference in the diocese. Both the Director of Ordinands and the participants themselves find this to be a valuable way of assessing whether it is right to enter the more formal steps of discernment and selection.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Job Vacancy - General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches

European Churches have been asked to circulate within our networks a notice about a vacancy in a key ecumenical leadership position, that of General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC). The job is presently based in Geneva and the mandate is for three years from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2014, and is renewable.

This is a demanding position, providing leadership and strategic thinking for some 120 member churches of CEC, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant and Old Catholic, in 38 countries in Europe.

Details of the job, and instructions about how to apply can be found here. The position is open to suitably qualified men, women, ordained and lay. The deadline for applications is 15 April. The general CEC website is here.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Porvoo Churches examine their responses to conflict

Archbishop Andres Põder of Estonia celebrates in Holy Spirit Church assisted by the Revd Arho Tuhkru
From 20 to 23 February, 30 representatives from Churches in the Porvoo Communion gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, for a consultation entitled “Responding to Conflict”. The consultation was chaired jointly by Bishop Martin Wharton of Newcastle and Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson of Iceland. 5 circumstances in which the Churches respond to conflict were examined:

1. Within the human person and between individuals
2. Within churches and congregations
3. Across religious, ethnic or cultural roots
4. Between creation and human beings
5. Between Church and State.

The members of the consultation heard various presentations on

1.  the political and religious conflict (using Ireland as a case study);
2.  diaconal perspectives in response to conflict;
3.  authority, conflict and leadership; and
4.  psychological perspectives.

The Diocese in Europe was represented by the Revd Rupert Moreton, the Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Finland, who facilitated workshops on conflict within churches and congregations. I was present as a “keynote listener” whose task was to hear, distill and communicate to the assembly the wisdom and insights expressed in workshops, small groups, bible studies and plenary presentations.

The Diocese has one congregation in Tallinn, Sts Timothy and Titus. Its priest is the Revd Gustav Piir, a priest of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia, but who is licensed for our Church of England work under the provisions of the Porvoo Agreement. Fr Gustav was present for the consultation, but representing the host Church of Estonia.

Bishop Duleep de Chickera of Colombo, Sri Lanka, (a land which has known its share of conflict, and where peace with justice is yet to be achieved) led bible studies each day, drawing out perspectives on Jesus’s own response to conflict. Bishop Duleep never quite warmed up as he had flown straight in from Sri Lanka to Tallinn where the temperature did not rise above -20C for the duration of the meeting!

The results and insights of the consultation will now be forwarded to the Porvoo Contact Group for consideration at their meeting in Cardiff in October. One possible outcome may be a framework which will help Churches respond to conflict in various areas.

The official website of the Porvoo Churches is here.

The Revd Gustav Piir translates for Archbishop Andres Põder
St Mary's Cathedral, Tallinn

Monday, 21 February 2011

Advent Appeal response enables White Nile Congregation to begin planning

Archdeacon Jonathan Lloyd of Germany and Northern Europe met with the Revd Amos Manga and members of the White Nile Congregational Committee in Vaasa on 15 February. The Archdeacon was able to present a cheque to the congregation for €5,500 which is the result (so far) raised by our parishes during the Advent Appeal 2010 for the educational project of the White Nile Congregation.

The Revd Amos Manga expressed thanks from the congregation for the generous response of brothers and sisters across the diocese. Detailed plans are now being put into place for the administration of a special fund which will provide resources to improve the English language skills of youth, women and other leaders of this Sudanese congregation.

Other general plans for the strengthening of congregational life were discussed at the meeting which was chaired by the Revd Rupert Moreton, the chaplain of the Anglican Church in Finland. The representative of the Mothers’ Union highlighted the priorities of bible study, pastoral visits to families and language training for the women. The need to find suitable venues for youth work was also discussed, and this will be explored with Lutheran Church partners in Vaasa.

I heard very moving tributes to Fr Amos’ ministry, which has been instrumental in bringing unity to this scattered congregation, and who has made very creative use of the few resources available for his ministry. It is good that this diocesan family has rallied together to give solid support to this congregation which faces unique challenges.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Announcement of cancellation of services in Casablanca, Sunday 20th February

The Chaplain of the Church of St John the Evangelist, the Revd Mark Cregan, after consultation with the British Embassy and Consulate General, the US Consul General, the Archdeacon and myself, has decided that St John’s will not hold services this coming Sunday 20th February. (There are normally two services on Sunday morning, 9.30 and 11.30). This cancellation is for services on 20 February only and is due to the proximity of the Church to the part of the city where demonstrations are anticipated to take place.

Your prayers are urged for Morocco, and that any demonstrations on Sunday will be peaceful.

(The Diocese in Europe has two congregations in Morocco, St Andrew's Tangier and St John the Evangelist, Casablanca. The Church of England is, along with the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Eglise Evangélique au Maroc, an officially recognised Church in Morocco with permission from the host country to serve our members).

Friday, 18 February 2011

Chrism Eucharists in the Diocese in Europe

Every year during Holy Week the oils that are used throughout the following year for ministry to the sick, for Christian initiation, and for ordination are solemnly blessed in an episcopal service. This is also the occasion at which the clergy and Readers of the diocese are invited to reaffirm the promises they have made in their ministry, before the bishop. As in recent years, in order to include more clergy and Readers, the bishops will each preside at a Chrism Eucharist in different centres in the diocese on Tuesday in Holy Week.

ANTWERP - Tuesday 19 April, 12.00 noon
St Boniface Church, Bishop Geoffrey presiding. .

GENEVA - Tuesday 19 April, 12.00 noon
Holy Trinity Church, Bishop David presiding. The preacher will be the Venerable Peter Potter, Archdeacon of Switzerland.

A simple lunch will follow both services

As the laity play an important role in representing the whole body of the faithful, they are strongly encouraged to attend these services where this is logistically possible.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

General Synod February 2011 Sessions - a Summary

Here is a potted summary of what happened at the recent sessions of General Synod held at Church House, Westminster from 7 - 9 February. As usual, not all discussions and decisions are immediately relevant to this particular Church of England Diocese in Europe, but you cannot say you I don't keep you informed about what your Church is up to!

However, of particular ecumenical interest is the discussion on the ARCIC document Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ.

It is a slightly longer than normal post, so remember to follow the read more link.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Multilingual worship in Vaasa rounded out with an Irish beat!

On 14 February meetings were held with Bishop Simo Peura of the Finnish Diocese of Lapua. Bishop Simo is pictured above next to Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd in the blue coat, in front of the oldest parish Church in the diocese of Lapua, dating from the 14th century. (The temperature at that moment was about -20 C!). We reviewed the relations of our churches under the Porvoo Agreement and explored possible ways for deeper cooperation. We looked at aspects of ministry to migrants and refugees, particularly Sudanese who have settled in the area of the diocese, and examined issues such as the Church’s role in assisting the integration of immigrant groups into the life of the host nation.

The Diocese of Lapua is includes the city of Vaasa where Fr Amos Manga, a priest of the Diocese in Europe of Sudanese origin, ministers to members of the “White Nile Congregation”. It is also where Deacon David Oliver, an Old Catholic Deacon lives. I licensed David to serve the Anglican Church in Finland at a service that evening. The Finnish Churches in the city also sponsor an international ministry to serve non-Finns. Bishop Simo and I are keen to see all these ministry resources of both our Churches become more focussed and coordinated to attend to the pastoral challenges of the Sudanese community. The Porvoo Agreement which brings our Churches in to full communion provides the way for this to happen and assumes that our Churches will work together in our ministry and mission.
Candidatese for Baptism and Confirmation

Deacon David Oliver
Following the meetings, Bishop Simo, and some of his clergy, joined with me and Anglican clergy in Finland in a remarkable service in Lapua Main Church. 4 languages, Finnish, Swedish, Arabic and English, were used in the liturgy. It included the licensing of a Deacon, baptism, confirmation and admission of members to the Mothers’ Union. Some of the music was accompanied by an Irish folk group “Lassie and the Lads” who are regular performers at a local pub in Vaasa!
Lassie and the Lads

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Revd Peter Bustin to St Michael's Beaulieu

The Reverend Peter Bustin, formerly the Vicar of All Saints, Twickenham in the diocese of London has been appointed Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St Michael, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France. Fr Bustin begins his ministry on 13 February 2011, and will be formally licensed at a special service on Saturday 5th March at 10.00 am. Fr Peter is appointed in succession to the Revd Canon Dr Roger Greenacre who retired to London in August last year.

The congregation is an exciting international and ecumenical mix. The church building was consecrated in 1903 by the then Archbishop of York, Dr Maclagan, who happened to be wintering on the Italian coast at the time! At present, one of the major challenges facing the parish is the raising of funds for necessary repairs to this gem of a building in this Riviera town situated between Nice and Monaco.

Fr Peter is looking forward to the new challenges ahead and to working with this warm and gifted congregation. We wish him every blessing and welcome him to our diocese!

The website of St Michael's is here.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Spreading the word about the diocese: General Synod Reception

The Diocese in Europe is one of the best kept secrets in the Church of England. The Diocesan Communications Officer, the Revd Canon Paul Needle, seeks every opportunity to put that right! Last Wednesday 9 February, during the sessions of General Synod at Church House in Westminster, he organised a reception for Synod delegates, inviting them for a light lunch and some refreshment, to meet diocesan personnel, view a presentation on the work of the diocese and receive some literature about our work, including the 2011 Yearbook.

The event was well attended - higher numbers than a similar reception 3 years go. On hand to welcome about 50 guests were both bishops and their staff, members of the diocesan staff and three of our own General Synod Reps, Canons Ann Turner, Debbie Flach and Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes, pictured above.

People came with a wide range of questions, about jobs in the diocese, about our locations, even about our views on women clergy! Slowly but surely we are reclaiming our place on the Church of England map.

Assistant Diocesan Secretary, Mrs Jeanne French, welcomes a guest at the lunch

The Yearbook 2011 contains a complete directory of our 300 congregations and articles featuring aspects of our work. It can be obtained by contacting Mrs Bron Panter at the diocesan office. 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Announcing Mothers' Union Website for the Diocese in Europe

Mrs Barbara Woods, the Mothers' Union Diocesan President of the Diocese in Europe, has announced the launch of a new website for the Mothers’ Union in the diocese.  It is intended both to raise the awareness of the work and witness of the Mothers’ Union worldwide and to reflect the development of the MU within our own diocese.  New pages about the branches will be added as they appear, containing news and photographs. The website is here.

Monday, 7 February 2011

February 2011 Book Selection

The February book selection will keep you busy! The 10 volumes reviewed here include works covering aspects of Church History, Liturgics and Christianity in public life. There is a short volume which can help us address the "new athiesm" of Hawking, Dawkins and others. For those in pastoral ministry there is an important work on ministry with dying children. A seldom addressed facet of theology is addressed by Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion, known to many in this diocese from his time in Paris, London, Brussels, Vienna and now Moscow. And there is also an interesting text by a fairly new convert to Anglicanism who looks at the evangelical and missiological power of liturgy.

Just click on the read more link for the selection. Goed om te lezen!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Gibraltar Archdeaconry celebrates a week of "Growing Together"

The warm welcome from the parish of Sts Peter and Paul, Torrevieja and the wonderful views of the Mediterranean, contributed to a very productive synod of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar. Clergy and laity from the congregations of the Diocese in Europe in Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Gibraltar and Morocco spent from 1 to 4 February working on a full agenda under the general theme “Growing Together”. This was the third and last year of a three-year programme looking at strengthening the unity in the Archdeaconry, a sense of common mission, and ways to improve the pastoral care of clergy and congregations. Bible studies were led by the Revd Andrew Tweedy of St George’s Barcelona looking at passages to do with sheep and shepherds as a way to reflect on aspects of our life together. Sessions of the meeting looked at: 
  • The theological issues and the proposed legislation relating to women in the episcopate
  • The current status of the Diocesan Strategic Review and the future of free-standing Archdeacons
  • Reports from General and Diocesan Synod and from the partner diocese of Peru
  • The dynamics of conflict and growth, led by the Dean of Liverpool, the Very Revd Justin Welby.
  • Equipping our congregations for better communications
  • The new Archdeaconry Handbook which gives guidance on a wide range of issues related to congregational life in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar.

Casual vacancies in the clergy and lay representation to Diocesan Synod were filled by the election of the Revd Haynes Hubbard (St Vincent’s Algarve) and Mrs Joan Berry (Sts Peter and Paul, Torrevieja), respectively. Area Dean Hugh Broad and Archdeacon David Sutch (below) guided the proceedings over the four days.

After the hard work, there was a moment or two of fun!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Prayer for Egypt

All Saints Anglican Cathedral, Cairo

Bishop Mouneer Anis, the Anglican Bishop of Egypt has released a statement about the situation in his country. He writes:
I called upon the people of Egypt to give time for the new government to achieve the needed security, justice and democracy. We meet every day at the cathedral to pray for the situation. We thank God because all our churches and institutions are safe.

‘We, with many other Egyptians, are very sad because of the violence and destruction within our beloved country. ‘Egypt is known in the region as "the mother of the world." Now, the mother is wounded by its own children, which is harder than wounds of outside wars.

‘Please pray so that God may give wisdom to all those who are in authority to put an end to this unacceptable violence. Pray for the demonstrators in order that they may go back to their homes and wait for the new government to act. Pray for the medical teams who are dealing with the wounded. ‘Pray especially tomorrow, as people tend to gather and demonstrate on Fridays. Pray for God's protection for all the people of Egypt. We have hope in God who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’
Here is a prayer from Christian Aid that can be used privately and as part of the intercessions in Church.

God of Egypt, God of the world,
Hear the cry of your people.
Bring comfort to those who long for peace;
Bring restraint in those who perpetuate violence;
Bring courage to those who are fearful.
We hold before you the people of Egypt,
May hatreds be transformed,
May lives be respected,
May the steadfast power of your love and hope
shine though the darkness and insecurity of the present time.

Canon Hugh Broad: Area Dean of Gibraltar Archdeaconry

During the Candlemas Eucharist at the Gibraltar Archdeaconry Synod in Torrevieja, Spain, I commissioned the Revd Canon Hugh Broad as Area Dean of the Archdeaconry. It is the second term for Fr Hugh.

The Area Dean works closely with Archdeacon David Sutch in providing pastoral care and oversight of approximately 60 congregations in Spain (including the Balearic and Canary Islands), Portugal (including Madeira), Andorra, Gibraltar and Morocco. He also takes a lead role in the organising of the Archdeaconry synods. In addition to his responsibilities as Area Dean, Fr Hugh works closely with the Ministry Team of the Diocese, particularly in the selection process for candidates for reader ministry and in assisting the Director of Ordinands with certain aspects of vocations to ordained ministry. 

All this is done in addition to his parochial responsibilities. Fr Hugh is the priest-in-charge of the parish of Costa Almería and Costa Cálida based in Mojácar with daughter congregations in Costacabana, Roquetas and Albox. The parish website is here.

In the photo above Fr Hugh is on the left. Behind Deacon Frances and me is the Very Revd Justin Welby, the Dean of Liverpool, a guest speaker at the synod.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Anglicans in the City of St Francis

Restoration work has just been completed at St Leonard‘s Church, the home of the Church of England's congregation in the city of Assisi. The chancel of this medieval church is pictured above, with a fresco which has been authenticated as a work of Giovanni di Corraduccio painted during the period from 1404 to 1436.

The Anglican community meets each Sunday in this church kindly loaned to us by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Assisi. The core congregation is not large, however, they are committed to their role to provide a spiritual home and support to the many English-speaking pilgrims and visitors to the city of St Francis. It has developed a wide-ranging, indeed global network of friends and connections.

The priest is himself a Franciscan Friar, Brother Tom SSF. He is pictured below in the brown habit. The Society of St Francis (SSF) is an Anglican religious order.  We are very happy for our collaboration with the SSF in this ministry of welcome, hospitality and ecumenical fellowship. More information about the order can be found here. Information on the Anglican Church in Assisi can be found here.