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.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

HM the Queen honours Archbishop Rowan

The following news was released yesterday, 26 December, a wonderful gift from Her Majesty to Archbishop Rowan:
The Queen has been pleased to confer a Peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams Lord Archbishop of Canterbury upon his retirement from the See of Canterbury.
Rowan Williams will be created a Baron for Life by the style and title of Baron Williams of Oystermouth in the City and County of Swansea.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Lessons and Carols in Caen

Carol Services have been in full swing across the Diocese. The traditional format of lessons and carols is a unique English tradition at this time of year, and proves to be very popular not only with English-speaking expatriates on the Continent, but also with our ecumenical partners and friends.

Recently in the Anglican Congregation in Caen in Normandy, about 150 people filled the Chapel of the Sisters of La Miséricorde where our normal Sunday service are held. Several clergy who celebrate the eucharist there regularly for our Anglican congregation, Fr Matthew Harrison (St George’s Paris) and Frs John Hughes and Robert Lloyd-Richards, joined in the service, as well as Fr Pavy who represented the Roman Catholic Bishop of Caen, Mgr Jean-Claude Boulanger, and the RC chaplain of the community of the Sisters of La Miséricorde. The excellent music for the service was provided by the choir of St George's Paris.

Choir of St George's Paris in Caen
The website for the Anglican Church in Caen is here

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Ecumenical Celebration of Vatican II in Monaco

Vicar General René Giuliano (left) and Archbishop Bernard Barsi (right)
2012 has been a year to celebrate with our Roman Catholic partners the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. I myself have been kept busy giving papers at ecumenical events in France and Spain throughout the year, presenting an Anglican perspective on the ecumenical significance of the Council. 

From 30th November to 1 December, Monaco also hosted an Ecumenical Colloquium "Vatican II: A Council for the World". I was asked to participate in an ecumenical round table at the event, which was hosted by the Archbishop of Monaco, Mgr Bernard Barsi.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Fr Malcolm Bradshaw and the international solidarity visit to Athens

WCC / CEC Solidarity Delegation to Athens
On 19th and 20th November, there was an official solidarity visit by a high level delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) to Athens. Our Anglican Chaplain in Athens, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw was part of the local team of Church leaders who were on hand to greet the delegation and to explain what was happening in Greece. The international delegation was headed by the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit General Secretary of the WCC and the CEC General Secretary the Revd Dr Guy Liagre and also included Dame Dr Mary Tanner from the Church of England, and a WCC President. 

Church in the Street Programme: Fr Malcolm Bradshaw (grey shirt), Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to his right, Dame Mary Tanner to his left.
The delegation visited the ‘Church in the Street’ programme in Athens.Bishop Gabriel Papanicolaou of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese invited Fr Malcolm to explain to the delegation the history and what was being done by the 'Church in the Street' programme, a significant ecumenical project, supported by the Church of Greece, St Paul's Anglican Church and several African immigrant Pentecostal Churches. The line at the soup kitchen provided by the project that day consisted of  some 1,000 people in need of food included Afghans, Syrians, North Africans. But marking a more recent change, one third of them were Greeks.

A press statement issued by the WCC and the CEC stated that “The severe challenges facing Greece are only one part of a larger dilemma within Europe and the rest of the world. This reflects not only a potential economic catastrophe but an emerging moral and spiritual degradation reaching into the heart of the European Union and the current economic system”. In the same statement, Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria said, "We really suffer with our friends. We are all one Europe." He said in discussions with Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens that the crisis should encourage the leaders of the European Union to return to the founding values of the union and asked the WCC and CEC to raise their voice.

The Press Release from the WCC and the CEC is here.

(Photos courtesy of WCC)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Bishop of Helsingør visits St Alban's Copenhagen

Archdeacon LLoyd with Bishop Lise-Lotte
The Bishop of Helsingør, the Rt Revd Lise-Lotte Rebel was the ecumenical guest at the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols recently held at St Alban's Copenhagen and gave the blessing at the end of the service. St Alban's has an historic link with Helsingør as the first English congregation in Denmark started in 1793 in that town. Bishop Lise-Lotte was the first woman bishop in the Lutheran Church of Denmark, and has served as a bishop since 1995.

While the Church of England is still seeking to find a suitable measure to enable the consecration of women as bishops, it should not be forgotten that many Church of England congregations in the Nordic countries already have experience of life within dioceses of churches in communion, whose bishops are women. Commenting on this, Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd, Chaplain at St Alban's and Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe said, "The Danish Church is taking a keen interest in the recent General Synod debate on women bishops, as one of their conditions for joining the Porvoo Communion in 2010 was that the Church of England will follow through its theological commitment to have women bishops. In the Nordic/Baltic Deanery we work in close partnership with women bishops with whom we are in full communion, in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Our ecumenical partnerships in this archdeaconry are very important to our mission and ministry, and Bishop Lise-Lotte was pleased to know that the Diocese in Europe Synod voted in favour of the legislation."

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Anglicans in Aquitaine make ecumenical relations a priority

Ecumenical activity is a central feature of our Chaplaincy of the Aquitaine, as it is, indeed, across the diocese. Anglicans in this region of France, recalling that Jesus prayed for his disciples to be one (John 17:11), make working good relationships with Christians of other denominations a matter of priority.

The chaplain of Aquitaine, the Revd Paul Vrolijk, (at the lectern above) reported recently on just some of the ecumenical encounters of the last 2 months:

  • an October 11 meeting with Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy, followed by a Eucharist in Agen Cathedral to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II 
  • an ecumenical service in Ste Foy la Grande with Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy for the regional meeting of ACAT, Action des Chrétiens pour l'Abolition de la Torture (photo above) 
  • A service on 21 November when Anglicans were able to welcome Mgr Hubert Herbreteau, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Agen in Dondas (photo below). 

Anglicans in the Aquitaine are thankful for the generosity of the Roman Catholic Church in allowing the use of many of their buildings for our regular worship services, and to the Eglise Evangélique Libre in Bergerac who allow us to use their building for Church Council meetings and parish training sessions of all kinds.

The Anglican Chaplaincy of Aquitaine website is here.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

December 2012 Book Reviews

Looking for ideas for Christmas? Here are eight new works which would be welcome stocking stuffers, or some meaty reading for the post Christmas break!

God læselyst!

For the reviews, click the read more button.

Friday, 14 December 2012

St Paul's Monaco Confirmations

Parish Reader Frank Megginson and Fr Walter Raymond assist at the Confirmation 
"God has called you by name and made you his own". These profound words spoken to each candidate just before  the anointing and laying on of hands in the Apostolic Rite of Confirmation, remind each person of God's love and care for them. 

At a recent service of Confirmation in St Paul's Monaco thirteen candidates were confirmed, including two from nearby parishes of St Raphael and Menton. I was assisted by the Chaplain of St Paul's, the Revd Walter Raymond OGS, and one of the Parish Readers, Mr Frank Megginson.

At the end of the service of Confirmation each candidate receives a lit candle which they carry out with them into the world to signify their role as members of the Church to bear Christ's light to all they meet.

St Paul's has a very active and attractive website here.

(Photos courtesy of St Paul's Church). 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Diocesan Office - An International Meeting Place

Canon Adrian Mumford, Diocesan Secretary, with Bishop Griselda Delgado of Cuba 
At least a couple of times on each parish visit people ask where I am based and I say, "in that great European capital city called London!" Some are surprised to learn that the bishops of this diocese do not live in Gibraltar. (Bishop Geoffrey lives in Sussex).

There are a number of reasons why I keep my office in London. For one, it is by far the best transportation hub in Europe. But another vitally important reason which may not be well known is this: my office and the adjoining Diocesan Office host a large number of visitors each week. Some just want to say hello; some want to find out about the Diocese; some want to have some conversations about matters of mutual interest. Very often archbishops and bishops, ecumenical partners, diplomats and other international visitors, perhaps on their way to or return from Lambeth Palace (5 minutes away) or to Church House add on a visit to the Diocese in Europe Office. So our location in the heart of London makes us a good centre for communications, meetings, and networking. The Diocesan Secretary, Adrian Mumford and his diocesan staff team, and my own chaplain, Deacon Frances, play a key role in providing hospitality, welcome and information for these guests thus helping to hold high the profile of a diocese that can easily be forgotten.

For example, two recent impromtu visits included bishops from our world-wide Communion. Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, of the Bishop of the Diocese of Cuba and Bishop Tunde Adeleye of the Diocese of Calabar in Nigeria. Bishop Griselda and I were able to have conversations about international development, theological education and ecumenical matters in the Anglican Communion. Bishop Tunde and I were able to discuss strategies for the healing of rifts in the Anglican Communion and the phenomenon of the growing Nigerian diaspora in Europe. He is pictured below left with the Revd Canon Ben Enwuchola, the Nigerian Chaplain in London.

Bishop Tunde and Fr Ben

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Kermesse in Monaco

Volunteers from St Paul's Church Monaco
Kermesse, an initiative by a former Chaplain of St Paul's Monaco in 1970 has now grown to be one of the key charity events each year in the Principality. Other founding members 42 years ago were the British Association of Monaco and the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Kermesse is held just before Advent and is a large gathering now coordinated by Anglican, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Reformed Churches of Monaco, along with the British Association, bringing together hundreds of volunteer workers. The lively and popular event is a combination of Christmas bazaar, jumble sale, international food court and ecumenical fellowship gathering. This year's Kermesse held on Saturday 1 December raised over €66,000 for the Churches' charities.

St Paul's Monaco continues to play a major role and our own parish volunteers are very much in evidence. In the photo below, the Pasteur of the Eglise Reformée (left) meets with Fr Walter Raymond (3rd from left), in an ecumenical encounter mediated by Papa Noël

Friday, 7 December 2012

Becoming Cross-Cultural Christians

The 2012 Partnership for World Mission Conference was held from 5 – 7 November in Swanwick. Diocesan Link Officers from across the Church of England came together with representatives of Mission Agencies for three days of worship, discussion and sharing. The context for the conference was the publication of World-Shaped Mission, the report from the World Mission and Anglican Communion Panel which was debated and passed by General Synod in July 2012.

World-Shaped Mission advocates the need for deeper mutuality in our world church relationships through understanding mission as hospitality, and for a deepening awareness of our identity in the Body of Christ which crosses cultures and human boundaries.

There were three keynote speakers from the global Church:
The Revd Canon Grace Kaiso, General Secretary of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa
Revd Dr Evie Vernon, Director of the Selly Oak Centre for Mission Studies
Revd Dr Peniel Rajkumar, Tutor at the United Theological College in Bangalore

The consultation considered these questions which are very pertinent to the life of our own multicultural diocese:
How can the conditions be created through which the church can realise its cross-cultural identity?
How can the global and local visions of church speak to each other?

The Diocese in Europe was represented by Deacon Frances Hiller. There was a moment of reunion with some old friends from the diocese pictured above: The Revd Canon Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes (left), formerly from St George’s Madrid who represented the Diocese of Chichester, and the Revd Canon Philip Mounstephen, formerly from St Michael’s Paris, now the Leader of CMS (Church Mission Society)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

400th Anniversary Year at St Thomas Becket Hamburg draws to a close

On the Feast of Christ the King, 25 November, the 400th Anniversary celebrations of St Thomas Becket Church in Hamburg drew to a festive conclusion. There were several confirmations as well as a baptism and a reception into the Church of England – an exciting way to mark the entrance into the next 400 years of life of this vibrant parish, as these new committed disciples carried the light of Christ into the world, symbolising the call of the whole people of the parish to bear witness to Christ’s love in Hamburg.The Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd, joined St Thomas's own chaplain, the Revd Matthew Jones to help celebrate this significant milestone.  

As the eucharist ended I commissioned the parishioners with their new “mission statement” which the congregation had prepared as a description of their parish and as a guide for their life together in the future:
“A welcoming, active and inclusive church, growing in our relationship with God and the wider community".

St Thomas Becket website is here

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The next Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome

Archbishop Rowan Williams and the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome last night announced their appointment of the Most Reverend David Moxon as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. 

Archbishop David Moxon is currently the Bishop of Waikato, Senior Bishop of the New Zealand Dioceses, and an Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.  He succeeds the Very Revd Canon David Richardson, previously Dean of Melbourne and of Adelaide (Australia). Canon Richardson will retire at Easter, and Archbishop Moxon will take up his appointment in the early summer.  He will remain co-chairman of ARCIC, the Anglican –Roman Catholic International Commission. He is married to Tureiti. They have four adult children.

Archbishop Rowan Williams in congratulating Archbishop David on his appointment said:
“I am personally delighted that Archbishop David Moxon has agreed to take up the joint post of Archbishop’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.  There can be few people in the Communion so well qualified for this work.  Archbishop David has done distinguished service to the Anglican – Roman Catholic dialogue both locally and globally, and brings to this post both a wealth of experience and a range of profound friendships across the confessional frontiers.”

Archbishop David Moxon responded: 
“I feel humbled to be called to the role of Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.  My predecessor Canon David Richardson, together with Margie his wife, has carried out an extraordinary ministry, taking the Centre on a quantum leap forward.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to build on what they have achieved. 
This appointment occurs at a time when ‘receptive ecumenism’ is making its presence felt as an opportunity to engage in honest dialogue about our two churches’ respective wounds, needs and opportunities.  Already there is considerable interest in the potential of such an approach as commended by phase three of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC-3).  This appointment also occurs at a time when the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) has been restarted.  The atmosphere of our relations in these commissions is positive and hopeful:  we are, I believe, on the cusp of a new kind of engagement and relationship which will focus on attending to each others’ deepest needs and working in solidarity with each others greatest mission challenges.  Jesus’s prayer that we all be one will come about through increasing degrees of communion borne of increasing degrees of companionship and prayer.
The Anglican Centre has been—and will continue to be—an embodiment of these hopes and a place where this vision can be nurtured and demonstrated more and more.  Dialogue that leads to shared mission projects can only facilitate the coming in of the Kingdom of God, which is why we journey in hope together.  I look forward to being part of this quest and believe it is a privilege to work on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ministry and the Anglican Communion as whole in the time ahead.”
The Very Revd David Richardson, retires as Director at Easter
The Anglican Centre in Rome seeks to enable Anglican – Roman Catholic dialogue at every level and to encourage the formation of friendly and informed relationships between Roman Catholics and Anglicans. It gives opportunities for Roman Catholics to learn more about the Anglican tradition and Anglicans to learn about the Roman Church. A place of study, for groups and individuals, the Centre offers hospitality, dialogue and prayer in the search for unity.

As the Centre is in Rome there are warm and very close links with our diocese in Europe, and we do all we can to support its vital work. Personally I am very pleased to learn of Archbishop David’s appointment. I have known him through our ecumenical work together on Anglican-Roman Catholic relations, especially more recently since his appointment as Co-Chairman of ARCIC and my own appointment as Co-Chairman of IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Commission on Unity and Mission.

We wish Archbishop David and Tureiti every blessing as they prepare to take up this new ministry.

The website of the Anglican Centre in Rome is here.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Porvoo and Meissen on the Canary Islands

The Revds Tom Barnfather and Knut Kaldestad

The Porvoo and Meissen ecumenical agreements are alive and well across our diocese. One example of our close cooperation is on the island of Lanzarote where our own priest, Fr Tom Barnfather, and the priest of the Norwegian Church and the pastors of German Protestant Church meet regularly for prayer, mutual support, consultation and fellowship.

The Porvoo Agreement brings the Anglican Churches of Britain and Ireland into communion with the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran Churches (except in Latvia) and the Meissen Agreement permits mutual Eucharistic hospitality between the Church of England and the EKD, (German Protestant Church).

On a recent pastoral visit to Lanzarote I was able to have some conversation with the Norwegian and German pastors who told me about their own ministry, which is quite similar to the work of our priests in Spain. Like the Church of England in Europe, the Norwegian and German churches provide spiritual homes and pastoral care for their respective diasporas and visitors, as well as providing a cultural and social meeting place. We joined in one of the Norwegian cultural traditions following our meeting: coffee and waffles!

The Norwegian Priest in Lanzarote is the Revd Knut Kaldestad and the German pastors are a husband and wife team, the Revds Rainer Wutzkowsky and Renate Sturm-Wutzkowsky. They were also very keen to learn about Bishop Justin Welby, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Advent Appeal 2012

The Diocesan Advent Appeal 2012 is to support two areas within our diocese helping refugees. 

Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Turkey: Syrian refugees
This tragedy is a result of the civil war and violence in Syria. Caritas Turkey and the Jesuit Refugee Service are both helping support the refugees with food coupons, hygiene items, medical assistance, blankets and other items to survive the winter. The Syrian refugees out of the camps are not able to enter the state's assistance system and most of the time are left on their own. As they are foreigners with no work permit they have a difficulty to make their own living. Their psychological trauma increases with a situation of uncertainty about official procedures. It is important for them to feel the support from international community as much as possible in these days of displacement due to the violence in their homeland. This project was recommended by the Church of the Resurrection, Istanbul, our Turkish-speaking congregation, which has close connections with the work of Caritas and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Sudanese Refugees in Finland
Finland: White Nile Congregation
This growing community of Anglicans who are refugees from Sudan continue to need our support. They are running an Education Project which is training students in English language skills. In this way, key leaders are being equipped for eventual return to their homeland, the new country of South Sudan, where English is now the national language, replacing the Juba Arabic which was the previous lingua franca. The Education Project is supervised by the Revd Amos Manga, the priest who serves the White Nile Congregation within the Anglican Church of Finland.

Please consider contributing to the Advent Appeal and supporting these projects with refugees within our Diocese in Europe. Funds can be sent to the Diocesan Office. Contact the Diocesan Finance Officer, Mr Nick Wraight, for further information:

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The first 10 years

Even while emotions and reactions were very raw following the failure of the women bishops' measure in General Synod, our own members of General Synod were able to enjoy a more relaxed and joyful moment in the Diocesan Office on 21 November when we celebrated Deacon Frances Hiller's 10th anniversary as my chaplain.

In the photo above, the General Synod members the Revd Canon Dr Gary Wilton and the Revd Canon Debbie Flach congratulate Frances (on the right, purple socks!) for managing to tolerate working for me for a decade.

Frances is not only a vital support for my ministry, but is a key contact, friend and advisor to so many of our clergy, readers and lay officials across the diocese.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Breaking Open the Word of God

The Revd Mary Styles (All Saints Rome) and the Revd Maurice Ryan (St Mary's Didim)

“Breaking Open the Word of God – Preaching in Today’s Church” was the title of a recent residential session of our diocesan post-ordination training programme (or IME 4-7 as is the official title) for clergy recently ordained and  recently received into the communion of the Church of England. This particular session was held from 16 - 19 November at George Bell House in Chichester and focussed on the art of preaching and provided an opportunity to deepen knowledge of the principles of homiletics and to develop further preaching skills. 

In the course of the four days the programme dealt with different aspects of preaching. I gave a lecture on the principles of Anglican homiletics today, entitled  “Godly, wholesome and necessary for these times". Deacon Frances Hiller led a session on  “Preaching and Personality”. Canon William Gulliford led the curates in an  exploration of  “Rhetoric – The History of Public Speaking”. There were also sessions on the proper use of breath, movement and voice in the form of “Practical Exercises” taught by actors Jules Melvin and Patricia Routledge. The participants had an opportunity to work in pairs preparing and delivering sermons. 

The curates also experienced the riches of  Cathedral worship through participating in the daily offices at Chichester Cathedral.

These semi-annual residential sessions of Post Ordination Training also give our newly ordained an opportunity to share their early experiences of ministry and to have individual meetings with the Director of Training, Canon Ulla Monberg, to discuss their ongoing formation and ministry in the churches where they serve.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A double celebration in Costa Blanca

On Thursday, 22 November, in the Ermita Corazón de Maria in Dénia, the Anglican Parish of The Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca, had a joyful double celebration: The Revd John Richardson was licensed as Chaplain-Team Vicar, and the Senior Chaplain, the Revd Peter Edwards was collated as a Canon of the diocese.
Fr Richardson (left) arrives in the diocese from the Parish of the Risen Lord in Preston, Lancashire. Canon Edwards (right) will have the stall of St James in Holy Trinity Cathedral in Gibraltar.
The Area Dean, the Revd Hugh Broad (centre), presided at the liturgy, with over 80 people In attendance, including a number of ecumenical guests.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Letter to the women clergy of the Diocese in Europe

Following on the failure of the proposed legislation to enable the consecration of women as bishops to gain necessary approval in the final consideration vote in the General Synod, Bishop Geoffrey and I have sent the following letter to the women clergy of our diocese: 

21 November 2012

To the women clergy of the Diocese in Europe


Dear Sisters

As a result of the vote in the General Synod yesterday,
there is deep sadness and disappointment felt by so many in our Church, and
bewilderment in the world we are called to serve. For both of us, yesterday’s
pattern of voting raises questions about the processes of the General Synod in
considering this kind of legislation. We know from the results of the diocesan
synods across the Church, including our own, that the Church of England does
want women bishops. The size of the majority which voted in favour of the
legislation at the General Synod yesterday confirmed this. However, as we know,
the hurdle to attain 2/3 of the votes in each house of the Synod is a high one,
and rightly so, when we need to decide on important matters which touch upon
the unity of the Church. In the house of laity there were 6 votes short of this

We have to remember that what was defeated yesterday was a
particular and quite complex piece of legislation. A great deal of work has
gone into this and much of that will not be wasted when, in due course, a new Measure
comes before the Synod to enable the consecration of women to the episcopate
and to make proper provision for those with theological reservations about this.

In the face of the widely shared disappointment resulting
from the Synod vote, we both want personally to affirm and uphold the valued
place that women priests and deacons have in this diocese. As an international
part of the Church of England, very much the Anglican Communion in miniature,
we in the Diocese in Europe are already aware of the blessings that women in
all three sacred orders of ministry bring to Churches of the Anglican Communion
in the Americas, the Pacific and Africa. Moreover, we observe very closely the
fruitfulness of the ministry of women bishops in our sister Churches of the
Porvoo Communion in Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, even while some
other partner Churches do not accept this development.

Let us pray earnestly for a healing of our strains and
divisions and that God will help us to find a way through these difficulties,
with wisdom and with generosity towards each other.

May God also grant us strength to continue to witness
with integrity to the Gospel of love, justice and reconciliation.

Your brothers in Christ

 +Geoffrey                                                                 +David

 Bishop Geoffrey                                                         Bishop

Thursday, 15 November 2012

St Laurence's Parish, Lanzarote

There are four congregations in the Anglican parish of St Laurence Lanzarote. Earlier this year the parishioners welcomed their new priest-in-charge, the Revd Tom Barnfather. Already the fruit of Fr Tom's ministry is being experienced as confirmations were celebrated on Sunday 11 November.

A significant part of the confirmation rite is when the candidates gather at the baptismal font to renew, along with the members of the congregation, their vows of baptism. The candidates then cross themselves with the baptismal water to remind themselves of that moment they were joined to Christ in baptism. The Reader in Lanzarote, David Dowdell (blue scarf) assists me at the font in the Church of Our Lady of Carmen, in Puerto del Carmen, one of the local Roman Catholic Churches in Lanzarote which we use for our services.

At the Sunday morning service, I also admitted Fr Tom Barnfather as a member of the Mothers' Union (yes, men can join!) and welcomed his wife Rosie who transferred her membership from the branch of St Saviour's Westgate-on-Sea in Canterbury Diocese. St Laurence's parish in Lanzarote was one of the first in our diocese to begin an active Mothers' Union branch.
There is an attractive website of St Laurence's Lanzarote here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Anglican Parish in Costa Brava receives encouragement from Bishop of Girona

Bishop David, Bishop Francesc, the Revd Anne Jenkins, Mr John Copestake

The Diocese of Girona in which our new Anglican Parish of Costa Brava is situated takes its ecumenical vocation most seriously. The Bishop of Girona, Mons. Francesc Pardo i Artigas, has an active ecumenical officer, Father Joan Busquets, who states clearly that the divisions among Christians must be overcome as they are 1) contrary to the will of the Lord, 2) a scandal to the world, and 3) cause of difficulty in our work of evangelization in these secular times.

In this ecumenical spirit, on 27 October Bishop Francesc hosted a fruitful meeting with our new priest-in-charge of Costa Brava, the Revd Anne Jenkins, the parish Reader Mr John Copestake, Fr Joan and myself,  at his Episcopal Residence. John has built very fruitful ecumenical inks in Costa Brava and the Bishop was keen to meet our priest Anne who is the first resident Anglican priest in the area.

It was a very warm and engaging meeting. Bishop Francesc drew our attention to the fact that Catalunya is the most secular region of Spain, and Girona is the most secular area in Catalunya. “We need to support each other in our work and witness,” he said.

At present we have one congregation within the Anglican parish which uses the ancient Church of St Stephen in the village of Madremanya. The visit with Bishop Francesc gave me a chance to thank him for the continued use of the Church. He turned to Anne and said we can count on the hospitality of the Roman Catholic diocese as our work grows and extends in Costa Brava. 

St Stephen's Church in Madremanya

Friday, 9 November 2012

Bishop Justin Welby to be 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Today Downing Street announced formally what the press had already been proclaiming for a couple of days, that the Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Revd Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

I am very pleased to hear of this appointment. It is excellent news for this Diocese in Europe as Bishop Justin already knows us rather well. Before his ordination he lived and worked in Paris and was an active member of the Council of St Michael's Church there. He retains a keen interest in French culture and life.

Archbishop Elect Justin Welby at Gibraltar Synod 2011
More recently, in 2011 while he was still Dean of Liverpool, he was a keynote speaker at the Synod of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar and led reflections on "Growing Together: Conflict and Growth" which were very well received, and showed a deep wisdom in matters to do with congregational life and conflict in communities. Many delegates to the synod spoke to me of how warmly he engaged with them during the meetings. 

We pray for Bishop Justin, his wife Caroline, and their children, as they make preparations to move from Durham to Lambeth, and especially for Bishop Justin as he takes up the enormous responsibilities of his new office in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion. 

Eternal Father  look with love upon your people. Guide Bishop Justin who has been called to the office and ministry of Archbishop of Canterbury, and all the shepherd you have chosen to lead us.  Give them the grace and guidance of your Spirit so that they may bring us to you in the footsteps of Jesus our Lord. Amen.  

For  the official press release, click read more

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Canon Ulla Monberg at ACC-15

The 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) has been in session in Auckland New Zealand from 27 October until 7 November. Each member Province/Church of the Communion has from 1 to 3 members on the ACC, depending on the population of the Church. In addition to the 3 members representing the Church of England, the Diocese in Europe has, for the first time, a co-opted member to represent the Europe region. That member is the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, our Director of Training.

The Anglican Communion Office points out that Anglicans are present in over 165 countries of the world. But 45 of those countries are in our own Diocese in Europe, where our over 300 congregations serve Anglicans and other Christians from Iceland to Russia. So it is very good news for the Diocese that we have our own representation, thus giving a profile to our life and ministry in this international instrument of the Anglican Communion.

Canon Monberg has been busy at the meeting, which has a packed agenda dealing with the business of the Communion at the international level, including matters pertaining to mission, theological education, refugees, youth, ecumenical relations and much more. Ulla was the convenor of a group which dealt with the report and recommendations related to Anglican-Old Catholic relations.

It is a time for networking as well, and for sharing experiences and ideas related to the mission and life of the Church, and of course expressing thanks to Archbishop Rowan, on his last ACC as President.

More information on ACC-15 can be found on the Anglican Communion website here.

Photos: ACC

Monday, 5 November 2012

Professor Robin Gill installed as Canon Theologian

On Sunday 4 November the Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Dr John Paddock installed the Reverend Canon Professor Robin Gill as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, in the Stall of John Keble in Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Canon Gill (photo above, signing the declaration to accompany his installation) was the Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology at the University of Kent for 20 years. In 2011 he assumed the position of Professor of Applied Theology at the University. He has served on advisory groups on both theology and medical ethics for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I first had the privilege of meeting Canon Gill when he was theological consultant to the bishops at the Lambeth Conference 1998. I was on the staff of the Anglican Communion at that time.

There are now two Canon Theologians of the Diocese. Canon Gill joins the Revd Canon Dr Jack McDonald, the Priest-in-Charge of Saints Mary and Martha, Leuven, Belgium.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

First Confirmation Service in St Stephen's Madremanya

Last week I presided at the first confirmation service in St Stephen's Madremanya, the centre of the Costa Brava Anglican parish. This relatively new parish in the diocese also hosted some candidates from St George's Barcelona. who came with their priest, the Revd Andrew Tweedy. The priest-in-charge of Costa Brava, the Revd Anne Jenkins, was only licensed a month ago, and is hoping for a "normal" Sunday soon!

Among the candidates from Barcelona was Lydia Lau whose parents, the Revd Drs Timothy and Theresa Lau, are both priests from the Diocese of Melbourne Australia, and both teachers at the International Chinese Biblical Seminary in Europe, which is located in Barcelona. Dr Timothy Lau is in fact the Principal of the Seminary. Many of the Chinese Christian community came to support Lydia. 

Its hard to get more international than that: an Australian priest from a Chinese seminary at a Church of England confirmation service in an ancient parish Church in a village in Catalunya! 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Anglican priest in Riga headed up team which produced new Latvian Bible

The Revd Dr Juris Calitis (above left), our priest at St Saviour's Anglican Church, Riga, has completed a long, special and historic task. As a theologian at the University of Latvia he coordinated an academic team of 22 theologians and translators over the last 17 years to prepare a new translation of The Holy Bible in the Latvian language. Working from the original Greek and Aramaic, the scholars have produced the first such translation in modern Latvian.  The last Latvian Bible was translated over 300 years ago. The new translation was launched at an ecumenical service on 13 October at Riga Cathedral, and all 3000 copies sold on the first day of publication.

Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd (above right) was at St Saviour's Church Riga last month to congratulate Dr Calitis on behalf of The Diocese. The Archdeacon said, "This is an incredible task and Dr Calitis and his colleagues are to be warmly congratulated on such a major achievement. The new Bible in modern Latvian will have a major impact on the life of the Church of all denominations across Latvia, and indeed, for Latvians across the world."
There are 35,000 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia. The Latvian Lutheran Church participated in the theological discussions which led to the Porvoo Agreement but has not yet signed the common declaration. There are a further 25,000 members of the Latvian Church Abroad (which has observer status within The Porvoo Communion). The Latvian Church Abroad has 70 priests and 10 deacons  - half of which are women.

More news about this historic event can be found at the Latvian Bible Society website here.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Parish life continues to thrive in Menorca, thanks to locum priest Michael Higgins

When a church or congregation in the Diocese in Europe is without a resident priest at the time of a vacancy, a locum priest is appointed to ensure the continuity of worship, the availability of the sacraments and the pastoral care of all who need it. Scores of clergy, most resident in the UK, but some in other countries, have Permission to Officiate in order to provide such essential ministry. Such Permission to Officiate is only granted after a priest has completed the extensive safeguarding procedures required by the Church of England and after I have received the necessary references and assurances that they are in good standing.

The length of time a locum priest may serve during a vacancy is negotiable but very often a period of at least 2 months is desirable  We are very grateful for the dedication of these locum priests who often respond to requests at very short notice and who travel sometimes thousands of miles to take up their assignments.  

Their responsibility is to maintain the usual pattern of services, provide routine pastoral care, attend to the round of hospital and sick visits and preside at any weddings or funerals that occur in the parish during their time, observing the local norms, customs and laws, as advised by the archdeacon. A vacancy in a parish can be an anxious time for parishioners so it is a role that calls for experienced and loving pastors with excellent diplomatic, listening, and sometimes conflict-resolution skills! 

Recently I visited the parish of Santa Margarita in Menorca. The parish is in vacancy but thanks to excellent work of the locum priest, the Very Revd Michael Higgins (above), the life of the community continues to thrive, as can be seen by the preparations for the parish Harvest Festival service and festive lunch following! 

More information on locum ministry in the Diocese in Europe can be found here.