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.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

June 2011 Book Selection

Here, to guide your shopping for books, is this month's selection of reviews. 10 volumes to keep you up to date in theological writing.  Biblical studies, apologetics, ecumenism, pastoral theology, and more, including an expensive work on predestination which will look very impressive on your shelf when the bishop comes to visit!

Buna lectură!

For the reviews, press the read more

A full piggy bank!

St Michael's Paris held a "Thanksgiving Day" on Sunday 26th June. The target was to raise €100,000 for the support of the chaplaincy's ministry and mission - an ambitious goal. The Council and church leadership prepared by serious and focussed prayer and even fasting. In the end, in the words of the chaplain, the Revd Philip Mounstephen, "God did something remarkable!" He wrote to his parishioners yesterday with the following news:
Dear Members of St. Michael's
'This is the Lord's doing and it is marvellous in our eyes' (Psalm 188:23)
I have wonderful news to share with you. The total of our Thanksgiving Day - taking together all the gifts and pledges of gifts to come - was not the €100,000 we had prayed towards - but an amazing €164,132! Truly our God is good! And I want to thank you so much for responding so generously yourselves. You truly have 'excelled in this grace of giving.'
Philip reports that the support came not from a few, but from a whole range of Church members. Someone even donated a full piggy bank! The chaplain urged the parish to continue to give thanks to God, and to use this encouraging sign to grow in their unity and service:
What should we do now?
* First of all, please take time to thank God for his goodness. He has been so good to us, and we must not be like the nine lepers who failed to give him their thanks. 'Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures for ever.'
 * Second, let's use this exciting news as motivation to do yet more. If you've not yet had the opportunity to give then why not add your gift to the total, and be part of what God is doing amongst us? Or maybe this is the incentive you need to increase your own regular giving, knowing that God will bless you for it.
 * Finally, let's all of us use this wonderful news to grow strong in faith. Our God once again has shown that he will 'meet all our needs, according to his riches in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 4:19). He is dependable and faithful and reliable and we can trust him. So let's do so, in our lives and in our lives together!
Congratulations to the people of St Michael's for this significant achievement. Your generosity and Christian stewardship is an encouragement to us all!

St Michael's website is here.

The Revd Philip Mounstephen

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

110 years of anniversaries celebrated in Costa del Sol East

L to R: Fr John Ball and Ruth, Fr Bob Bates and Diane, Archdeacon David and  Megan, Dean John  Paddock and Jennifer
A coincidence of anniversaries led to a joyful celebration on Monday 27 June in Costa del Sol East. The Venerable David Sutch, the Chaplain of St Andrew's Fuengirola, Spain, and Archdeacon of Gibraltar, celebrated his 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. At the same time, the Revd John Ball, Assistant Chaplain in the Chaplaincy celebrated his 40th anniversary of ordination as a deacon and the Revd Bob Bates and his wife Diane, of St Vincent’s in the Algarve, Portugal, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.

The anniversaries were jointly celebrated at a service of Holy Communion in St Andrew’s Church, attended by people from Costa de Sol East, other Spanish coastal chaplaincies, other denominations and former parishioners from Fr David’s many years of ministry in England.

The Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd John Paddock, preached a witty sermon sprinkled with biblical references to 40 years, such as Moses leading the people of Israel for 40 years in the desert! But through his humour he brought a profound message about God's call and the life of public ministry. A collection was taken in aid of the Diocesan Ordination Candidates' Fund.

Archdeacon David and Fr John were both presented with engraved crystal decanters while Fr Bob Bates and Diane were given crystal goblets. 

After the service the company transferred for lunch to a local chiringuito, beach bar, which in typical Spanish style didn’t end until well after 4:00pm!

Archdeacon Sutch with the stole his wife Megan made for him 40 years ago

Monday, 27 June 2011

An Ecumenical Canon

As a warm sign of our good ecumenical relations, one of our own canons was invited today, 27 June, to Midday Prayer and a festive meal hosted by the canons of the (RC) Cathedral of Lille.

The Revd Canon Debbie Flach, the priest-in-charge of Christ Church in Lille, received an invitation from the Dean and Chapter, who made a point of recognising that she, herself, is a canon of the Church. The occasion is part of the celebrations of the of the centenary of Lille diocese.

Chanoine Debbie Flach was able to extend the greetings of the bishops to Archbishop Laurent Ulrich and to the Cathedral Chapter.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Festive weekend in Madeira

Holy Trinity Church
It was a weekend of celebrations in Madeira. On Friday 17 June a reception and dinner was hosted by the Blandy family, one of the first English families of entrepreneurs who are celebrating 200 years on the island.

The Blandy Reception
On Saturday 18th, in the presence of parishioners, visitors and ecumenical guests from the Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches, the new parish centre, gardens and stations of the cross of Holy Trinity Church Madeira were blessed. The parish centre, including a renovated library, provides space for the many gatherings and meetings of this active congregation, which can trace its roots on the island back to 1774!

Holy Trinity Parsonage and Parish Centre
The historic gardens were recently restored. The stations of the cross, each given by a family or individual connected to Holy Trinity, now frame this beautiful space with a via sacra to encourage prayer and contemplation on the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord. Over 65 people sat down to dinner in the new parish centre following the service.

Reader Matthew Duckett (left) and Fr Neil Dawson (right) with confirmands 
Sunday 19th was Trinity Sunday and the Patronal Feast of the parish. Confirmations were celebrated and I had the pleasure of authorising the ministry of Michael Duckett, a Reader in the diocese of Lichfield, who spends part of the year on the island.

If all that was not enough to celebrate, both the priest-in-charge, Fr Neil Dawson and I had birthdays that weekend!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A joyful celebration in Stuttgart to dedicate a new organ

In a joyful service on 12 June, the Feast of Pentecost, the organ in St Catherine's Church, Stuttgart was dedicated by Bishop Joachim Vobbe (Emeritus Bishop of the Old Catholic Church of Germany) and myself. This was the culmination of a year of fundraising and activity in St Catherine's, led by Fr Ken Dimmick, the priest-in-charge. Over €75,000 was raised to purchase, restore and install the instrument.  A commemorative book was also blessed, recording those who have contributed financially and in other ways to the project.

After the blessing of the instrument, the Churchwardens of St Catherine's, Eric Jarman and Alex Schmalz, formally presented a document to the Old Catholic parish, indicating that the organ was a gift from our Church of England congregation to them. (The original instrument was destroyed when allied bombing flattened the church building in World War II). The Church of England parish shares the building now owned by the Old Catholic Church.

The inaugural recital was given by Andy Dewar, a former member of St Catherine's, and now the organist at the American Cathedral in Paris. The organ is a unique instrument in this part of Germany. Very English and mellow in tone, with a subtleness appropriate for accompanying the richness of liturgical worship, it contrasts with the sharper, more baroque sounding instruments of the region, and will be sought after by scholars and musicians who will wish to perform on it.

Photos courtesy of Jim Palik

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Tongues in Stuttgart!

Mr John Thompson (St Catherine's parish sacristan) and Priest-in-Charge Fr Ken Dimmick
To celebrate the unity of the diverse peoples of the world in one Church, Pentecost words of greeting were proclaimed by parishioners of St Catherine's Church in Stuttgart on Sunday in over 15 languages (besides English and German). This was also a joyful witness to the many nations represented in the parish itself, worshipping as one, in God's Holy Spirit.

I recall the following languages: Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Ibo, Yoruba, Zulu, Kurdish, Bengali, Irish, Welsh, Finnish and what seemed to be a perennial favourite: Switzerdeutsch, quite distinct from the language of Goethe!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Miss Sybil Fagg RIP

The Revd Gareth Randall, Priest-in-charge of St Bartholomew's Church in Dinard, France, has informed me of the death of Miss Sybil Fagg, who has served as a reader in the parish for many years. 

Sybil was much loved for her dedication and ministry. There are few people in the 140 year history of the parish who have done so much to help the church grow and flourish. She provided the necessary continuity during times when priestly ministry was not available. As a faithful servant of the Church she was a trusted and valued colleague of the clergy who have served St  Bartholomew's. She was a friend to all parishioners and a welcoming presence for the many visitors. 

Towards the end of last year, Sybil's health declined, even though she did rally slightly just after Easter She died in the early hours of Monday 13 June. Her funeral will be at St Bartholomew's Church on Thursday 13 June at 3 pm. 

May Almighty God open to her the unending joys of the kingdom. 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Pentecost and the Church's mission

The traditional icon of Pentecost has some features that are easily identified by Western Christians: the gathered Apostles, and the tongues of fire upon them, sign of the Holy Spirit, given to the Church on this day. But there is a mysterious figure, like a king, around whom they appear to be gathered. Who is he? The Eastern Churches teach that he is a symbol of the cosmos. Thus he is surrounded by darkness, as the world lives in the darkness of sin. But the figure is holding scrolls which represent the teaching of the Apostles, which through the Church's witness, is carried throughout the nations of the earth. The icon links this great feast to the mission of the Church: a mission which is driven by the power of the Holy Spirit, and which is at the heart of the Church's life, as we can see the Apostles gathered around it. 
Blessed are you, O Christ our God, who made fisherman all-wise, by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them, drawing all the world into your net. O Loving One, glory be to you.(Orthodox hymn for Pentecost)

Pentecost 2011: A message from the Presidents of the World Council of Churches

The 8 Presidents of the WCC, the fellowship of 349 Orthodox, Anglican, Old Catholic and Protestant Churches, has issued their Pentecost message to the world's Christians. Dr Mary Tanner, a lay theologian of the Church of England is one of the Presidents. 

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. (Acts 1:8)

The promise of the resurrected Christ before his ascension was actualized on the day of Pentecost in two types of power: the sound “as of a rushing mighty wind” and “tongues as of fire” (Acts 2:2-3). The advent of the Holy Spirit surpasses all possible description. For this reason Luke the evangelist uses the word “as”.
The powerful wind completely renews the entire atmosphere; it creates a new climate, providing a life-giving environment of breath and energy.  “This energy filled the whole house where they were sitting.”  The disciples were flooded, immersed, “baptized” in this divine energy, as the Lord had previously announced: “before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).

The other type of power is symbolized by “tongues as of fire”.  It is a manifestation of the uncreated energy of God.  The fire burns, heats, enlightens. The Holy Spirit acts within the world “as” fire, burning whatever is dangerous or not useful – warming, comforting, strengthening.  The Holy Spirit will forever remain a source of enlightenment, revealing the truth concerning the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of human existence.

The Holy Spirit comes in an hour when “they were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1), in a celebration of thanksgiving – “the Pentecost”.  It comes at a gathering of the faithful – “among the brethren” of “about a hundred and twenty” (cf. Acts 1:15), in order to transform the gathering into the Church of the Triune God.  The “rushing wind” does not originate from some earthly direction but “from heaven”, from the “Father in heaven”.  The fiery presence is split into tongues “and one sat upon each of them”. In this way the direct relationship between the Spirit and the Word of God (the Logos) is revealed, along with the personal nature of the divine gifts.  The Spirit will reveal Christ as Lord and Saviour (cf. I Cor. 12:3) to human beings and will bring him, along with his grace, into the human heart.  The Holy Spirit continues the saving work of Christ, within time and space, radiating the divine energy; in ways, often incomprehensible to the human mind.  “The wind (pneuma) blows where it wills” (John 3:8).

The power, which the disciples received on Pentecost with the advent of the Holy Spirit, does not concern their spiritual progress and personal growth only.  It is not an individualistic enlightenment, a fortunate state of ecstasy for them to enjoy on their own.  It is offered for the transmission of the gospel of salvation to all of the inhabited world, the oikoumene, to continue the work of the transformation of the world, the work which Christ began: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  The disciples, who until then had been afraid, are turned into courageous apostles, the ones who are sent to continue the ministry of Christ in the world.  And the Church becomes for all time “apostolic”.

The steadfast desire of each of the faithful is to become a temple of the Holy Spirit, for the personality of each one to be perfected with the maturity of the fruits of the Spirit within them (Gal. 5:22), so that each may become a bearer of the Spirit of love, truth, holiness and reconciliation within their surroundings, to those both near and far, and to contribute to a constant renewal of humanity.

Every celebration of Pentecost offers a new opportunity to each church community and to each of us, to live eucharistically and doxologically the advent and gift of the Holy Spirit, to renew our trust in the Spirit’s power and to implore with all of the intensity of our soul:

All-Holy Spirit, “come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain”:
Strengthen our courage and determination. 
Renew and impart new breath and power to the Church.
And give us the power to become, in today’s suffering world,
“martyrs” of the cross and the Resurrection, witnesses to justice,
peace and hope. 

Archbishop Dr Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania
Mr John Taroanui Doom, Maohi Protestant Church (French Polynesia)
Rev. Dr Simon Dossou, Methodist Church in Benin
Rev. Dr Soritua Nababan, Protestant Christian Batak Church (Indonesia)
Rev. Dr Ofelia Ortega, Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba
Patriarch Abune Paulos, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church 
Rev. Dr Bernice Powell Jackson, United Church of Christ (USA)
Dame Dr Mary Tanner, Church of England

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Message for our Turkish congregations

This Sunday parliamentary elections will be held in Turkey. We have several congregations in the country (Christ Church, Istanbul; Resurrection, Istanbul; St Nicholas, Ankara; and St John the Evangelist, Izmir with St Mary's Didim). Our members there, and all of us across the diocese, will be watching the results closely.

Turkey is a key country geopolitically. In recent days refugees from Syria are flowing over the border, to escape violence and repression in their own country.

This Sunday is Pentecost and we will read in the Acts of the Apostles about the peoples of the world, in their own languages, speaking of God's deeds of power. Among those listed were residents of Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia - all in modern day Turkey. So please remember Turkey in your intercessions, for the citizens who will be going to the polls, and for the authorities who seek to respond to the humanitarian crisis on their borders.

Today I sent, on behalf of the diocese, this message to our Church of England clergy and congregations in Turkey:

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Meeting of Training Incumbents of the Diocese in Europe

Canon Monberg with training incumbents Patrick Curran, Mark Collinson and Steve Axtell

On 3 June, immediately after the close of the Diocesan Synod, a meeting was held for training incumbents - those priests who are responsible for the training of our curates. (In the Church of England, the training for ordained ministry normally takes 6 - 7 years: 2 - 3 years prior to ordination, and 3 - 4 years post-ordination). The Director of Training, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, is responsible for overseeing the post-ordination training (POT) programme in the diocese.  

It was a useful time to share some key information regarding reporting, communications and training agreements. Canon Monberg outlined the POT syllabus and shared some principles regarding good practice in the development of general pastoral skills. Deacon Frances Hiller presented the liturgical matters to be covered in a curacy, from familiarity with the Book of Common Prayer and its authorised 1928 variations, to the extensive corpus of Common Worship resources now available. The Revd William Gulliford, the Director of Ordinands gave a presentation on areas related to Church Administration and Governance which must be covered during the training years. 

All our training incumbents are, themselves, highly experienced and competent priests. They valued the opportunity to share their own experiences in supervising curates and their vision of how to help new ordinands grow into the deacons or priests that God is calling them to be. 

Training incumbents Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes, Philip Mounstephen and Robert Innes, with  Fr Gulliford

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

New Zealand Ordination in Paris!

The Revd Paul McIntosh and Bishop Thomas Brown
On 27 May, the Rt Revd Dr Thomas Brown, Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand, ordained Paul McIntosh to the diaconate in St Michael's Church in Paris. Paul has been studying for Holy Orders at St Mellitus College in London and has been working as a lay ministry assistant in St Michael's during training. His wife, Catherine, is a New Zealand diplomat based in Paris. For the next seven months, Deacon Paul will be assisting in St Mark's Versailles, before he and Catherine return to New Zealand at the end of the year. Back in Wellington, Paul will be assigned to parish work by Bishop Tom, and God wiling, will be ordained to the priesthood at some point in the future.

The chaplain of St Michael's, the Revd Philip Mounstephen hosted the service. There were many clergy in attendance from France, the Netherlands and England. (I discovered that there is a small but very loyal NZ cadre of clergy in the diocese!) The Revd Dr Andrew Emerton of St Mellitus College was the preacher. Bishop Tom arrived just 1/2 hour before the service - having flown from Los Angeles via London! It was a joyous celebration and a sign of the unity we treasure in our world-wide Anglican Communion.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Christ Church Vienna Discusses Women in the Episcopate

The parish visit to Christ Church Vienna on 14 - 16 May had many of the usual components - a meeting with the Church Council and Churchwardens, individual interviews with the clergy and a confirmation service. In addition it was an opportunity for me to attend one of the newer activities of the parish - a Sunday evening service. The Assistant Curate, the Revd Jady Koch, has been responsible for the development of this more contemporary and contemplative eucharist, whose attendance is steadily growing, particularly, but not exclusively, among young adults. Fr Jady is pictured below with Mrs Hyacinth Oesterlin (who was one of the recipients of the Maundy Money from Her Majesty this year) and Victoria Curran, a younger member of the Church Council).
Hyacinth Oesterlin, Fr Jady Koch, Victoria Curran
The Chaplain of Christ Church, the Venerable Patrick Curran (below, 2nd from left), also arranged for a meeting with parishioners to discuss the present proposals for the consecration of women to the episcopate in the Church of England. Together we explored the theological arguments for and against, from both Catholic and Evangelical perspectives. The event was well attended and provoked a lively discussion from from parishioners from Europe, England, Africa and North America.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The decision of Diocesan Synod regarding Women in the Episcopate

On Thursday the Synod of the Diocese in Europe debated the following motion concerning women in episcopate which was referred by the General Synod: "That this Synod approve the proposal embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No. 30".  The motion passed.

I am in favour of women in the episcopate, but I do not believe that the  provision for those who are opposed to this development, contained in the measure, is sufficient to maintain the highest degree of unity in our Church. I therefore had to vote against the motion. I explained my position in a speech which I post below: