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.

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Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Revd Canon Dr Roger Greenacre RIP

It is with great sadness that I report that the Revd Canon Dr Roger Greenacre died in the early hours of this morning, Saturday 30 July. 

Fr Roger retired from serving as parish priest of St Michael's Beaulieu-sur-Mer in France, from 2000 until 2010. He moved back to England to live in Charterhouse, but was moved from there to a hospice in London in his last few days.

Fr Roger had an earlier distinguished career in this diocese as chaplain of St George's Paris from 1965 to 1975, from where he moved to Chichester to take up a residentiary canonry at the Cathedral, a post which he held for 25 years.

Dr Greenacre was a scholar of liturgy but perhaps  will be best remembered for his significant contribution to Anglican-Roman Catholic relations. He was honoured by the French Government in 1998 which appointed him Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite for his contribution to ecumenism. He leaves behind many ecumenical friends in France and beyond, and the Church of England is indebted to him for his work on our behalf, for the sake of Christian unity.

Accorde-lui, Seigneur, le repos éternel.
Et que brille sur lui la lumière sans fin.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Norwegian Church in London filled to overflow for memorial service

St Olav's Norwegian Church in London was filled to overflowing for today's memorial service. Candles were lit in memory of those who lost their lives in the attacks last Friday. In attendance were Norwegian diplomats, national and local politicians, ecumenical friends and representatives of other faith communities. Canon Andrew Nunn of Southwark Cathedral read a message from Bishop Christopher Chessun, and Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, led prayers. Along with the Norwegian Chargé d'Affaires, Mr Arne Sammes Bjørnstadm, The Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP, I was able to extend a message of tribute and solidarity. I post the text of my tribute below.

Prayers continue for Norway

Bishop of Oslo, Ole Chr M Kvarme
Today is St Olav's day. St Olav (or Olaf) was the king of Norway, killed in battle on this day in 1030. Today I will be attending, along with other ecumenical guests and representatives of the Norwegian and UK governments, a special service of prayer and reflection in the Norwegian Church in London, which is dedicated to this patron saint of Norway. The Revd Torbjorn Holt, the Rector and Senior Chaplain of the Norwegian Church, says "it is special to have this service on the feast day of the martyred Norwegian King".
During the service there will also be a chance for members of the congregation and visitors to sign the book of condolence.

The other day, I received a warm letter from the Bishop of Oslo, the Rt Revd Ole Chr M Kvarme, responding to the message I sent to him last Saturday, on behalf of our diocese. I share this below.

Bishop Ole writes:
Dear Bishop David
From all over the world we have received condolences after the immense atrocities in our capital Oslo and the massacre of young people at the island of Utøya. Your greeting has touched our hearts, and we share your words with our people as an expression of consolation and compassion.
We are now a people in mourning, and our churches provide space to express the pain and the agony, but also to get a glimpse of hope. A young generation has suffered immense losses, and we are moved when these young people say that our response should not be hatred, but love. Thousands upon thousands have taken to the streets, and we have experienced an unprecedented outburst of warmth, empathy and love.
But we are still in mourning, and a process of healing is in front of us. For this process your greeting and words to us are so meaningful and consoling. Therefore we again express our gratitude to you and take refuge in the words of Paul: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
+ Ole Chr M Kvarme
Bishop of Oslo
St Olav (left), a bishop, and St Peter

Thursday, 28 July 2011

BBC Radio 4 documentary on Christ Church Vienna

There is a heroic chapter in the history of Christ Church Vienna which is about to be featured in a documentary by BBC Radio 4. 

The chaplain of Christ Church at the time of the Anschluss or annexation of Austria by the Nazis in 1938, the Revd Hugh Grimes, began baptising Jews in attempt to protect them, believing that a baptismal certificate from the Embassy Chapel of the Established Church of England would buy some time for them to arrange papers to leave the persecution. When Fr Grimes was recalled to London, the baptisms were continued in Christ Church by retired priest (and former Chaplain of Cologne), the Revd Frederick Collard. 

BBC Radio 4 will feature this story as part of the series "Document". Altogether over 1800 Jews were baptised in Christ Church in the summer of 1938.  Giles MacDonogh and Christopher Wentworth-Stanley have been researching this fascinating story for several years and the programme includes contributions by them as well as by Archdeacon Patrick Curran, the Chaplain of Christ Church, and Fred Gruber.

The broadcast will be on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, 8th August at 8pm (BST). 

For those not in the UK, it can be heard live online at 21.00 (Continental time) via the Radio 4 website and for at least a week after the actual broadcast.

The Venerable Patrick Curran

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A St James's Day Celebration

Archdeacon Sutch reads the Mandate for the installation of the new Canon
Last Monday 25 July was the feast of St James the Apostle. St James, or Santiago, is one of the patrons of Spain, and his shrine in Compostela, has been the goal of pilgrims for over 1000 years. Fittingly, on that feast in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Gibraltar, the Chaplain of Madrid, the Revd Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes was installed in the stall of St James, his official place in our Cathedral Chapter.

The Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Dr John Paddock, led the service, assisted by the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch. Members of Canon Ian's family, his wife Raffaella, daughter Isabel, and one of his sons, Tómas were able to journey from Madrid to be present for the occasion.

The Canons of the Diocese, members of the Cathedral Chapter, undertake to support the bishops by prayer and counsel, and to work to support the common life of the diocese.

Dean Paddock seats the new Canon in his stall

Monday, 25 July 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury's Message to the People of Norway

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has sent his prayers and sympathy to the people of Norway following the tragic events in Oslo and Utøya last Friday.

His message is as follows:
"Along with all the faithful of the Church of England, I want to express my deepest sympathy with the people of Norway in the wake of the appalling events of recent days. Norway has played so great a part over many years in international reconciliation as well as developing its own distinctive national ethos of openness and fairness, and it is a special tragedy that it should suffer this outbreak of senseless carnage. Our prayers are with all those who died and all those who mourn them; and we are grateful for the many signs of strength and spiritual maturity that the Norwegian people have shown in their response to evil and destructiveness." 

(The Church of England and the Church of Norway are in communion, as a result of the Porvoo Agreement. Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien (below), is due to be installed as the first Praeses (Presiding Bishop) of the Church of Norway on 2 October). 


The Revd Stephen Murray: New Priest-in-Charge of Ghent and Knokke

On 1 August, the Reverend Stephen Murray, formerly Rector of the Church of the Resurrection, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada will become the Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist, Ghent and Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St George, Knokke, Belgium. Fr Stephen comes to the diocese in Europe from the Diocese in Niagara, where I, myself, was ordained. (Fr Haynes Hubbard, of St Vincent's Algarve, is also from the Diocese of Niagara. I think we should form a Europe Association of Niagara alumni!)

We welcome Fr Stephen and his wife Pleuntje to this diocese.

Church of England services have been held in Ghent since 1743. St John's website is here.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Prayers for Norway

This morning I spoke with Archdeacon Brian Russell who is looking after St Edmund's Oslo, during the holidays of our chaplain, the Revd Janet Heil. Archdeacon Russell confirms what we have seen on news reports from afar, that yesterday's bombing in Oslo and shootings on the island of Utoya represent a loss of innocent lives that is on a scale unseen in that country since World War II. Norway has a small national population, and the killing of over 90 people will mean that almost every person and family will be touched in some way by this enormous tragedy.

This morning, on behalf of the diocese, I sent the message below to Bishop Helga Byfuglien, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway, and Bishop Ole Kvarme, the Bishop of Oslo:

Dear Bishop Helga, dear Bishop Ole
On behalf of the clergy and people of the Church of England Diocese in Europe I want to send this message to express our sorrow and to convey our deepest condolences to our sisters and brothers in Norway, following yesterday’s massacre in the centre of Oslo and on the nearby island of Utoya. We are aware that there has not been such an act of violence to strike your nation since World War II, and that in a nation of just under 5 million people, a tragedy of this dimension will affect the whole population. That the gunman sought to attack the nation’s youth, gathered to think and reflect together about issues concerning the future of the country, adds to the pain of this immense tragedy. 
Norway is known throughout the world as a peace-loving country, which takes leadership among the nations to protect the weak and uphold the dignity of all. At this time of national sorrow, your Anglican brothers and sisters, in Norway and across our diocese, stand with you and assure you of our prayers, for the nation, for all who have died, and for the many families and friends who are affected. We pray for God to strengthen the faith of your people at this time, and to bring comfort to a country in shock, and console all who have lost loved ones. 
May God, our refuge and strength, our very present help in trouble, be with you and surround you with care and rekindle your hope. 
With deep fraternal love in the Lord
I ask the faithful of the diocese to remember the people of Norway tomorrow in our Church services. 
O God,
We seek your comfort and your blessing for those who mourn the dead in Norway and for all whose lives have been torn apart by this violence. We entrust those who have died in this tragedy into your loving arms. Be with your people, as the Father who stands alongside, as the Son who brings hope, as the Spirit who brings healing. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Bob Kelly licensed as Reader in St Vincent's Algarve

Bob Kelly holding his licence in Nossa Senhora da Luz Church

The ministry team in St Vincent's Algarve continues to grow. On Sunday 3 July, Bob Kelly was licensed as a reader, joining the two priests and two other readers who serve the 4 congregations of the parish stretched across the Algarve.

Normally the licensing of a reader is undertaken by an archdeacon or bishop, but the Senior Chaplain, Fr Haynes Hubbard was able to preside at this service with an episcopal commission for that purpose. The service was held in the beautiful church of Nossa Senhora da Luz, Praia da Luz.  

We welcome Bob to this new lay ministry in our diocese. There are about 100 licensed readers who serve our 300 congregations. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Awareness Sunday: 11 September 2011

Those preparing services and parish programmes for this autumn will be aware that the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York will fall on Sunday 11th September 2011. Christians have the opportunity to observe the anniversary as a milestone in our continuing search for peace and churches around the world are planning to mark the event by special services. Westminster Abbey will have a service of remembrance and reconciliation that day at 6.30 pm.

A special educational programme has been launched by the Awareness Foundation under the banner: Awareness Sunday: A Path to Peace. The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is patron of the Awareness Foundation. (He himself was in New York at the time of the attacks and wrote movingly of his experience of the horror). Archbishop Rowan said: "Awareness Sunday is acknowledging through education, the urgent need to dispel ignorance and the urgent need to help each one of us to build a path for peace in our diverse, ever-changing world".

Some suggestions for priests and readers who may wish to mark Awareness Sunday include:
  • Conduct a special service for Awareness Sunday
  • Preach a series of related sermons in the weeks leading up to Awareness Sunday
  • Include Awareness Sunday in your intercessions in services or prayer groups and pray for peace and understanding
  • Host an Awareness Round Table event in your church
  • Lead Awareness Sunday activities for children 
  • Write about Awareness Sunday in your parish magazine, write a letter about it to your local paper, and contact local politicians
  • Put an insert in your service sheets about Awareness Sunday
  • Feature your Awareness Sunday activities on your web site
  • Sign up for the Awareness Course, or sponsor another church to teach it
More information and resources to help mark 11 September can be found at the Awareness Sunday website.  There is a helpful sheet of material relevant to the Church of England lectionary readings for Sunday 11 September here.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Revd Dr Paul Dalzell to Montreux

The Reverend Dr D Paul Dalzell, formerly parish priest of the Anglican Parish of Alexandra, Australia is the new Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist, Montreux, Switzerland. Fr Paul took up this new post on  1 July 2011. Welcome to the Diocese in Europe!

The website of the parish of St John's Montreux is here.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Shall we gather at the river?

Many people are not aware that in the Church of England the administration of Holy Baptism is either by immersion or by pouring. It is the immersion part that surprises some! Both the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship: Christian Initiation make clear that these are the (only) two options. Common Worship says that the president of the rite "dips each candidate in water, or pours water on them".

I think that few, if any, of our churches in the Diocese have a font large enough to accommodate baptism by  immersion. However, some of our parishes are close to bodies of water! For instance, Christ Church Dusseldorf has taken advantage of its place on the Rhein to provide this option for candidates to be baptised there. The Revd Stephen Seamer, the chaplain of Christ Church, has noted that such baptisms have been a real encouragement to members of the congregation. Such a service is scheduled again for 31 July.

Our clergy will be aware, of course, that when adults ("those of riper years" to use the Prayer Book language) are baptised, the canon law of the Church requires two things: the priest must notify the bishop at least a week before the baptism; and that the candidate shall be confirmed as soon after the baptism "as conveniently may be".  Baptism is unrepeatable. Those baptised in infancy are not "re-baptised".
The Revd Stephen Seamer (right) baptises a new Christian in the Rhein

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Revd David Phillips, Priest-in-charge, Vernet les Bains

Vernet-les-Bains, you say? If you have not heard of this particular parish in our diocese, it is because until a few years back, we forgot that we had a church there! Thanks to the work of Fr David Burton Evans, the then priest-in-charge of St Andrew's Pau, who was alerted to the existence of the building back in 1997, St George's has been recovered and an association formed so that Church life can resume.

And so, on Saturday 9 July, I was able to license the Reverend David Phillips, formerly Associate Priest in the Benefice of Elloughton Brough with Brantingham (York) as Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St George, Vernet les Bains. We welcome Fr David and his wife Lesley to this diocese.

The Revd David Phillips and Lesley Phillips
The celebration on Saturday was a joyful event with a Church packed with parishioners, friends, ecumenical guests and clergy and readers from the neighbouring parishes of Pau and across the Pyrenees in Madremanya and Barcelona. Mme la Maire was on hand with her deputy, as the reopening of the Church was very much a civic event as well. The Diocese has given the building to the municipality which intends to use it (when restoration is complete) to host cultural events throughout the year, with the agreement that it will be available to our congregation on Sundays and one day per week. Abbé Christophe Péricho, the parish priest (who looks after 30 churches in his secteur!) was also in attendance along with many of his own parishioners.

Abbé Christophe, Mme la Maire, the Deputy Maire, Fr David Phillips and Fr David Burton Evans
A team of bell ringers, with their own transportable bells, rung changes before and after the service. A new stained glass window, depicting the patron St George, was also dedicated during the service.

The village, once known as "the Paradise of the Pyrenees" is associated with Rudyard Kipling who spent time here a century ago. Co-incidentally, the Church itself is celebrating its 100th anniversary. One of the attenders at worship in the early days was Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria.

While the municipality continues to seek funding for the necessary renovation to the building, St George's congregation uses a Roman Catholic Chapel in the village for Sunday services.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

St Paul's Athens and the Special Olympics

The Special Olympics were hosted in Athens from 26 June to 6 July. This global event is is modeled on the Olympic Games but dedicated to those who live with restricted learning abilities. 157 nations participated with Britain sending a team 150 strong along with the trainers and support members. Each participant and helper had to raise £2,000 to fund their part in the games.

St Paul's Church in Athens was on hand to assist with the welcome and support for this event. Christine Saccali, Reader, signed up as a volunteer to assist with translation. In the photograph above Christine is seen with the Nigerian team much involved in making bread. Below, she is pictured with a medalist from El Salvador, a power lifter. On Sunday 26 June participants in the Special Olympics joined St Paul's congregation for worship. The following Monday the Senior Chaplain, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, met with the British team at a reception given by H.M.Ambassador.

The Special Olympics are an extraordinary event which reveals what those who have limited learning ability can actually achieve when the appropriate care, organization and dedication is extended to them. Sadly, this year's Special Olympics, complete with beautiful opening and closing events, received very little publicity. Instead the Greek economic crisis and its accompanying demonstrations caught the world's headlines.

The next Special Olympics will be four years, just outside the diocese, in South Korea. Fr Bradshaw says if we should spot anyone who uses, in both formal and non-formal situations, red plastic shoe laces, it is a sign that the wearer is associated with the Special Olympics, and a custom started by the British Team.

Reader Christine Saccali and Salvadorean medalist

The Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Jennifer Elliot de Riverol ordained deacon in Tenerife

In what was a bit of an "ordination road-show", Archdeacon David Sutch, Area Dean Canon Hugh Broad, my chaplain Deacon Frances Hiller and I flew from Madrid following the ordination of Nigel Thomas, to Tenerife, for what I believe to be the first Anglican ordination in the Canary Islands: Jennifer Elliot de Riverol who was made deacon on Sunday 3 July in All Saints Church, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.

Deacon Jennifer is vested by the Revd Richard Morgan
Deacon Jennifer has felt a calling to the sacred ministry for over 20 years. She will serve as Assistant Curate in All Saints, Tenerife, with special responsibility for the Congregation of St Martin de Porres, on the neighbouring island of La Palma, where she has already ministered for a number of years as a reader. Her supervising incumbent is the Chaplain of Tenerife North, the Revd Mike Smith.

The Area Dean was the preacher for the service, and one of Jennifer's lecturers at the Eastern Regional Ministry Course in Cambridge, the Revd Richard Morgan, was one of her presenters.

The new deacon is presented to the congregation
Many parishioners from La Palma joined in the historic service in All Saints, and with great joy a new sense of partnership and mutual support was affirmed between the "mother church" in Tenerife and the daughter congregation which Jennifer will lead in La Palma. A festive lunch was prepared by All Saints which was enjoyed by all present in the parsonage gardens.

Deacon Jennifer with her husband Francisco

Nigel Thomas ordained deacon in St George's Madrid

Nigel Thomas hears the assent of the congregation to his ordination as deacon.  
A sultry Madrid morning (38C) did not stifle the congregation which filled St George's Church on Saturday, 2 July, which cried out  "It is!" to the question in the ordination service, "Is it now your will that Nigel should be ordained?". Thus the ordination of Nigel Thomas as a deacon in the Church of God proceeded with the enthusiastic support of the parish.

The ordinand in prayer during the Veni Creator and solemn litany

Deacon Nigel will serve as Assistant Curate in St George's, under the supervision of the Revd Canon Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes, the chaplain. The Area Dean of Gibraltar, the Revd Canon Hugh Broad was the preacher, with the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch, present for the legal formalities. Readings and hymns were in Spanish and English. A special setting of the Veni Creator Spiritus the ancient hymn invoking the Holy Spirit, sung before the laying on of hands, was composed by the organist and choir director of St George's.

Ecumenical guests were present from the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, the Charismatic Episcopal Church, and the International Ecumenical Fellowship. A joyful spirit flowed over into very Spanish reception of tapas and refreshments, served in the shady courtyard of the Church.

St George's was consecrated in 1925, but Church of England services have been held in Madrid since at least 1864. as we know it today, was consecrated in March 1925, but as long ago as 1864 
Canon Hugh Broad, Deacon Nigel Thomas, and Churchwarden Celia Paterson

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Elaine Wolfenden RIP

Elaine Wolfenden, the wife of the Revd Peter Wolfenden, was laid to rest today following a packed funeral in the 11th century church of St Wulfran in Ovingdean, Sussex.

The congregation included former parishioners from Malta and Gozo and Malaga, where Fr Peter had ministered in this diocese, as well as members from St Wulfran's itself. Elaine's children and grandchildren were surrounded by many long-standing friends who gave thanks for her remarkable life.

The former Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Alan Woods and the former Chancellor of St Paul's Pro-Cathedral in Valetta, Malta, the Revd Canon Tom Mendel among the mourners present.

May she rest in peace.