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 December 2011

Recent Retirements in the Diocese

As a rule I announce on this website any retirements from active ministry in the diocese. In the last three months there have been three such retirements which I note below.  

The Reverend Canon Geoffrey Evans retired as Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St Nicholas, Ankara, Turkey on 5 October. Fr Geoffrey has had an illustrious career in this diocese having previously served in Izmir, Istanbul, Rome and Moscow. He was the last post-holder of the magnificent title Archdeacon of the Aegean, which he held from 1978 - 1994. In June he was honoured with an OBE in the Queen's birthday list. In his retirement, Fr Geoffrey has Permission to Officiate which will come in useful in our developing work on the Turkish coast.

The Reverend Deacon Ann Babb, the Assistant Curate in the Anglican Church of St Boniface, Antwerp, Belgium retired on 20 November. Deacon Ann has had a long association with St Boniface, and with the Mission to Seafarers chaplaincy in the port. She was ordained deacon in 2006 and has helped to open up the awareness of this distinctive ordained ministry within our diocese. Although now officially retired she continues to serve St Boniface's parish with Permission to Officiate.

The Reverend Robert Ellis, Chaplain of the Anglican Church of SS Philip & James, Palma de Mallorca, Spain  retired on 7 December. He has led this active parish since 2001 in outreach to the 50,000 British who reside on the island, as well as to the vast numbers of visitors.  Fr Robert has also served on Diocesan Synod and on Bishop's Council and has shared extensively his considerable knowledge of Church communications.  

We wish Fr Geoffrey, Deacon Ann and Fr Robert every blessing in their retirement and thank God for their service to his people.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

End of Year Book Reviews

Here are some books reviewed for your end of the year reading. The 10 works below include one by our former Director of Training, Charlotte Methuen. There are also two Lent Books suitable for both private and group study which you may like to peruse for your forward planning. (Ash Wednesday is on 22 February!). As usual there are also works on prayer and spirituality, volumes of ecumenical interest, and lots of solid theology. 

Buona letttura!

Click on Read more for the reviews ...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A happy and blessed Christmas

I wish a happy Christmas to readers of this blog. At this holy season may you find  a moment of gentle, quiet stillness for the Incarnate Word to be received with joy. May the Good News of his birth rekindle within us the flame of love for others.  
Holy Jesus,by being born one of us,and lying humbly in a manger,you show us how much God loves the world.Let the light of our love always shine in our hearts,until we reach our home in heaven,and see you on your throne of glory.(Common Worship)

Advent in the Diocese in Europe: full churches and ecumenical importance

Reports from across the Diocese in Europe indicate that services this Advent were well attended once again. On the Continent of Europe, many of our congregations hold a service of lessons and carols which has become  immensely popular among Europeans, who find this English / Anglican tradition with its fine music and stirring scripture readings to be very moving. Such services are usually important ecumenical occasions as well, and in many local communities helps to put our Church of England parishes in Europe "on the map". St Paul's Monaco (above) is good example of this. Fr Walter Raymond, the Chaplain of St Paul's said that this year's Carol Service was the best attended ever! The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Monaco, Monseigneur Bernard Barsi, (below 4th from left), was present again this year, to give the final blessing.

Photos courtesy of St Paul's Monaco

World Council of Churches 2011 Christmas Message

The World Council of Churches General Secretary, Olav Fykse Tveit, has sent this Christmas message to the member Churches. The WCC brings together 349 churches in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians. It includes most of the world's Anglicans (including the Church of England), as well as most of the Old Catholic, Orthodox,  Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many Independent churches. The headquarters are in Geneva, within our diocese.

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation
hath appeared to all". Titus 2:11, KJV

Grace to you and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the appearance of the gracious salvation of the Triune God enlighten our hearts, minds and spirits in this joyous season.

New Testament accounts of the advent and nativity of Jesus stress the all-encompassing nature of the Christ event. Without reservation, the Biblical text says that God’s grace appears to all, offering the promise of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation with God in heaven and with our neighbours on earth. The grace of God has appeared in the person of Jesus Christ. He appears for the sake of marginalized shepherds and their families in his homeland. He attracts the attention of well-to-do scholars in distant nations. He appears to Mary and Joseph as a gift of God’s mystery. Through these faithful witnesses, and the proclamation of good news down the ages, Jesus appears to us. We, too, are called to respond to his presence among us today.

In May 2011, one thousand people gathered in Jamaica under the theme, “Glory to God and Peace on Earth.” It is the heart of the Christmas message and gave heart to the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC). This song of angels recorded in Luke called our attention to the need for Just Peace for all in the 21st century. Praying that the peace of God will appear to all, the message of the IEPC made this vow:
“With partners of other faiths, we have recognized that peace is a core value in all religions, and the promise of peace extends to all people regardless of their traditions and commitments. Through intensified inter-religious dialogue we seek common ground with all world religions.”
And the IEPC message offered this exhortation to Christians:
“We as churches are in a position to teach nonviolence to the powerful, if only we dare. For we are followers of one who came as a helpless infant, died on the Cross, told us to lay aside our swords, taught us to love our enemies and was resurrected from the dead.”
May the grace and peace of God appear to many more through this season of Christmas! On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I wish you well at the turning of this year, and I pray for God’s blessing on our common journey in the years to come.

Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General Secretary
World Council of Churches

Friday, 16 December 2011

Ecumenical guests join the Revd John Marvell to Celebrate 30 years as a priest

The Revd John Marvell, a retired priest who has Permission to Officiate in the Diocese and who assists regularly in St Bartholomew's Dinard, France, celebrated his 30th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood last Sunday 11 December. To honour the occasion, the priest-in-charge of St Bartholomew's, the Revd Gareth Randall, invited Fr John to preside and preach, and hosted a celebratory lunch following.

Fr John was heartened to see many ecumenical friends, Roman Catholic and Protestant, who attended the service, which was clearly a tribute to his ecumenical leadership as he served as chairman of the Groupement Oecumenique for five years.

Congratulations, Fr John. Ad multos annos!

St Bartholomew's Church, now 140 years old, serves English-speaking residents and visitors on the North Brittany coast. The parish website is here.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A festive moment in Tufton Street

The staff of my office (Deacon Frances!) and the staff of the Diocesan Office work very hard together as an extended team in Tufton Street, serving the 300 congregations of the diocese. With well over a week to go before the Christmas break, on Wednesday we unchained ourselves from our desks and came together for a moment to share the festive spirit (i.e.a selection of white and red) and to munch some mince pies. It was also the time for the traditional Secret Santa exchange. In the photo above from left to right: Bron, Adrian, me, Frances, Sylvia, Verena, Nick and Andy. Jeanne, somehow, escaped the camera!

This year's most coveted Secret Santa gift went to Andy Male, the Finance Assistant: Wash Away Your Sins Bubble Bath.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Prayers of the diocese for the people of Liege, Belgium

I have been in touch with the Revd Paul Yiend, the priest-in-charge of our congregation in Liege, Belgium, to offer the assurance of the prayers of the faithful of the diocese for the city which has been terrorised by today's attack by a criminal armed with grenades and guns. 4 people were left dead and over 75 injured. The attack, according to Fr Yiend, was in the very heart of the city where there is an extensive Christmas market. He added that with the crowds that visit the square it was indeed fortunate that there were not more lives lost.

There are no reports of any of the Anglican community directly affected. Of course, an event like this will leave the entire population traumatised. We pray for all who are seeking to bring comfort in the midst of the tragedy.
Father of mercy, in this time of grief let your people know your comforting love, that you stand alongside them, as the Son who brings hope and as the Spirit who brings healing. 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Lucia in St Paul's Cathedral

Diocese in Europe parishioners in Sweden will certainly be familiar with the Sankta Lucia service. In London, the Swedish Church and Swedish community continues the tradition and shares it with the English. Indeed, the event is a highlight of the Advent season in the city. This year the service was held in St Paul's Cathedral, where the Cathedral choir joined with the 50 voice Ulrika Eleanora Church Choir from the Swedish Church in Marylebone. As a sign of our close links through the Porvoo Agreement, I was invited to be present for this service in a packed St Paul's.

The beautiful service of readings, hymns and carols, in Swedish and English, comes to a climax with the appearance of Lucia, dressed in a white gown, crowned with candles and a red ribbon of martyrdom around her waist. St Lucia, whose feast day is 13 December, (formerly the Midwinter or longest night of the year in the Old Swedish calendar), was a martyr in Syracuse, Sicily in 304.

The Swedish Dean and Rector in London, the Revd Michael Persson, prays "May this Lucia celebration inspire us to receive the light, which is Christ, into our hearts this Christmas and to pass it on to everyone we meet in 2012".

Friday, 9 December 2011

Mr Colin Pratt, Reader in Aquitaine, RIP

This morning I received news from the parish of the Aquitaine in France of the sudden death of one of our Readers, Mr Colin Pratt. This comes as a shock to the members of the parish, as he was actively serving in his ministry last Sunday. He had been a Reader in our diocese since 2007 when he transferred from the Diocese of London. 

The Chaplain of Aquitaine, the Revd Dr Paul Vrolijk, has written to his parishioners announcing Colin's death, and said:
It is with great sadness that I have to share the news that Colin Pratt has died. Colin was a great friend to many....and a great servant to the church. I will miss a wise friend. Please pray for all who are grieving.
Lord God, may our brother Colin come to the banquet of life Christ has prepared for us. 

December 2011 Book Reviews

Here are 9 books reviewed in our December selection. Among the volumes below you will find an important new look at 1 Corinthians, a resource to help us understand the contemporary Twilight phenomenon, a remarkable story of conversion, an anthropological work by an important modern European theologian, and a stimulating volume on leadership in the parish. But there's much more... 

Felix lectio!

Click on the read more link for the reviews.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

25 years of Anglican worship in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca

Due to Iberia misplacing my luggage, I was 1/2 hour late for the patronal feast of the congregation of St Andrew in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca, on 30 November. But despite the delay, joy filled the air as the parishioners came together for the celebration which included the confirmation of 4 of their number.

The day also marked the 25th anniversary of the congregation, which began its life under the Revd Roy Greenwood, who, though now retired on the island, still actively assists the priest-in-charge. At the offertory, one of the Churchwardens, Mrs Mary Payne, presented a festive cake to mark the anniversary.

The present priest-in-charge is the Revd Canon Mel Smith, who, together with Fr Roy concelebrated the eucharist with me that night.

The congregation has a webpage here.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Revd Andrew Jacobson, new Assistant Priest in Gibraltar

The staffing of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Gibraltar is now restored to its normal level. On 30 November, St Andrew's Day, the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Very Revd David Sutch, licensed the Revd Andrew Jacobson as Precentor / Port Chaplain.

Fr Andrew is pictured above, holding his licence, with his wife Jane to the right and the Revd Jim Sutton, the Dean's Chaplain to the left. The Dean, the Very Revd John Paddock is on the far left, and Archdeacon David Sutch is on the right, with the Peruvian stole.

We welcome Fr Andrew to this diocese and to his new ministry in our Cathedral Church!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Diocesan Secretary Installed as Canon

On Sunday 4 December, the Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Dr John Paddock, installed Mr Adrian Mumford, the Diocesan Secretary, as a Lay Minor Canon of Gibraltar Cathedral and Honorary Precentor of the Choral Foundation of the Cathedral Church in the Stall of St Cecilia. 

This is a most fitting appointment. Many of us know that, in addition to serving us as Diocesan Secretary, Adrian gives outstanding musical leadership as organist for many diocesan events, including synods. He is, of course, our diocesan organ advisor. 

Adrian is also an active singer, a member of the Twickenham Choral Society and the Marble Singers. He often participates in a small choir which provides music for special services in the Archbishop of Canterbury's chapel at Lambeth Palace. 

St Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians.

Our best wishes to Canon Mumford on this appointment!

The Stall of St Cecilia in the Cathedral

Mystery Worshipper strikes again in Lanzarote!

The Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper has struck again in our Diocese in Europe, and for the second time in our Parish of St Laurence on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.

The Mystery Worshipper, whose pseudonym is "Chris Teean", gave St Laurence's a 10/10, the highest possible score, and concluded with this tribute:
"I would definitely want to be involved actively with this lovely parish if I lived on the island. Everyone had to drive their cars quite some distance to gather at this delightful little church, and the outcome was a most moving act of worship".
Well done people of St Laurence, and interim Priest--in-charge, Fr Geoffrey Arrand!

Read the full Mystery Worshipper Review here.

The parish of St Laurence has an attractive website here.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Journey in Hope: a resource for Anglican-RC relations

Each year in Rome are held what are called the "Annual Informal Talks". It is a meeting of staff of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Anglican Communion Office, Lambeth Palace, the Anglican Centre in Rome, the ARCIC co-chairmen and spokespersons for the ongoing agenda of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). I attend these meetings to represent the Anglican Communion's IARCCUM interests.

This year we met at the Anglican Centre in Rome on 21 November. The chapel of the Centre is pictured above. The Director of the Anglican Centre, the Very Revd Canon David Richardson, the former Dean of Melbourne, is a good friend of this diocese. He is pictured below on the right, next to Margie, his wife, along with the Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, and the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Director of Faith and Order and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, respectively.

The Anglican Centre in Rome has just published a helpful booklet of key texts in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, called Journey in Hope. This is a useful and accessible document which many in our own churches will find useful to deepen their understanding of the agreements which undergird our relations with Roman Catholic partners.

Information about obtaining Journey in Hope can be found here. The website of the Anglican Centre in Rome is here.