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.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Festive Confirmation in Finnish, Arabic and English

12 young people of the White Nile congregation were confirmed on Sunday 22 January at a festive (3 hour!) service in Holy Trinity church in Vaasa in western Finland. Readings were in English and Finnish, songs and hymns in Arabic, and my serrmon, preached in English, was also translated into Arabic.

The White Nile congregation is part of the Anglican Church of Finland and consists largely of Sudanese refugees. Their priest is the Revd Amos Manga who is assisted by the Revd Deacon David Oliver. Over 130 people attended the service at which two Lutheran priests, the Revd Sami Saharinen and the Revd Gunnar Särs, also took part. Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, the assistant curate at St Nicholas, Helsinki made the 900 km round trip to be with us for the celebration.

The White Nile congregation was organised during the Revd Rupert Moreton's time as chaplain of the Anglican Church in Finland. Fr Rupert encouraged the establishment of this work and sought Lutheran cooperation from the start to demonstrate how such ministry can be a visible sign of the communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland and the Church of England, brought about by the Porvoo Agreement. Fr Rupert left Finland at the end of 2011 to take up a post in the Cathedral in Cork, in the Church of Ireland.

Vaasa is in the Finnish Diocese of Lapua, and the Bishop Simo Peura, is a good supporter of the White Nile congregation. He invited Fr Amos to attend his diocesan clergy conference last November. There has also been a joint meeting between the White Nile Church Council and the local Lutheran parish Council which has opened up the idea of monthly joint services. The Lutherans have offered to include Anglican Sunday School teachers in their regular programme of training. (There are presently 26 children in the White Nile Sunday School).  

During my parish visit to the White Nile congregation I met with the Council to hear updates on their programmes, which include youth work (for ages 18 - 25) and an Adult Education Programme.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Unity Week in Antwerp

Another report from this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes from Antwerp where the Revd Deacon Ann Babb of St Boniface Anglican Church took part in the ecumenical service at the Roman Catholic Cathedral. Deacon Ann is one of 4 "distinctive" deacons in the Diocese in Europe (so far!).

The Bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, is a committed ecumenist, having once served on the staff of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

January 2012 Book Reviews

Here is the first collection of book reviews for 2012. There are 8 volumes reviewed here (all thanks to Dr Martin Davie, the Bishops' Theological Advisor).  Interesting new works on patristic theology, canon law, medical ethics, spirituality and apologetics are among the books listed. Luke Timothy Johnson's new book on Luke-Acts will be useful to our preachers, and for those who are engaged in bereavement and funeral ministry, Professor Thiselton's book will be an invaluable theological resource.

Felix lectio!

Click on the read more link for the reviews.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Multicultural Moscow

St Andrew's parish in Moscow always produces a remarkable collection of people for baptism and confirmation. The service on 8 January was no exception. Candidates, younger and older, from as diverse places as Namibia, the United States, the UK, Russia and Indonesia were among those whose journey into Christ was solemnly celebrated on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Ecumenical Walk in Copenhagen

Copenhagen's streets saw 800 ecumenical walkers on the streets last Tuesday 24 January.  The Kirkevandringen ("church wandering") was started 58 years ago by the Fellowship of St Alban and St Serguis, and is older than the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity itself.  Pictured above with Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd and Canon Ulla Monberg are the Bishop of Copenhagen and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Denmark, alongside clergy from the Russian Orthodox, Danish Lutheran, Danish Methodist, Swedish Lutheran, Norwegian Lutheran, and RC churches in the city.

The large congregation worshipped for 15 minutes in each church (with two services in each of the smaller churches), and walked in procession between each one.  Starting at St Paul's Lutheran Church (built 1877), they then went to Jerusalem Methodist Church (built 1866), St Aleksandr Nevskij Russian Orthodox Church (built 1883), St Ansgar RC Cathedral (built 1842), St Alban's Anglican Church (built 1887) and finally (for the sermon by the Bp of Copenhagen) to St Gustaf Swedish Church (built 1911) followed by strong Swedish coffee!  At St Alban's, Evensong was led by Canon Ulla Monberg.

Archdeacon LLoyd said "To have 800 people walking the streets in prayer in a temperature of -2C, was a wonderful experience of visible ecumenism in action."

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

St Bartholomew's Dinard continues its witness for Christian unity

Fr Randall (rt) with ecumenical colleagues in St Bartholomew's
St Bartholomew's Dinard traditionally plays an active part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Brittany. This year was no exception. Our congregation hosted an ecumenical gathering on Thursday 19 January at which the Revd Gareth Randall, priest-in-charge of St Bartholomew's, preached in French. He spoke of the fundamental unity we share, whether Roman Catholic, Adventist, Reformed, Anglican, Methodist or Baptist, in the firm belief that Jesus is risen, and that through him, God's Son, we can attain eternal life.

Although relatively few in number on continental Europe, Anglicans continue to witness in significant ways to the Gospel imperative of unity for all Christians.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Anglicans in Istanbul take active part in Week of Prayer for Unity

Fr Engin Yildirim (left) at ecumenical evening prayer hosted by the Church of the Resurrection

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was an active one for Anglicans in Istanbul. Several Churches in the city hosted events during the week: Roman Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, German Lutheran, Anglican, International and Turkish Protestant churches all participated. 

Fr Engin Yildirim, priest-in-charge of the Church of the Resurrection, was invited to represent the Anglican Church in the readings in the different churches during the week.  This Turkish language congregation of the Diocese in Europe, in the Pera district of the city, hosted the evening prayer event on Wednesday 18 January.  

In spite of very cold and snowy weather, over 100 from different churches gathered for the prayers each evening. Afterwards every church served warm drinks and snacks to create and encourage a time for fellowship.

Fr Engin and the Church of the Resurrection – Pera continue to place significant importance on building bridges among all the churches in Istanbul. Their participation and leadership this past week most certainly helped accomplished this goal.

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Revd Sampson Ajuka makes history in Clogher

A priest from the Diocese in Europe is making history in the Church of Ireland! 

The Revd Sampson Ajuka is a native of Nigeria who tested his vocation to the priesthood in the diocese in Europe several years ago. He was ordained in this diocese after his studies at the Queens Foundation for Theological Studies in Birmingham and served his curacy in St Anthony of Egypt congregation in Padua and St George's Venice. Just before Christmas, Fr Sampson moved to take up responsibility for the Devenish and Boho Group of Parishes in the Diocese of Clogher in the Church of Ireland. He is accompanied by his wife Ugonna and their two children Chiemela and Rejoice.  

The Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, says of this appointment, "It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Sampson and his family into the Diocese. I think I am correct in saying that Sampson will be the first African clergy person to have charge of a parish in the Diocese of Clogher, and his presence will also serve to remind us that the Anglican Communion, to which we belong, is a worldwide fellowship. For many years all of the movement of clergy was from the UK and Ireland to Africa, but now the Churches of Africa are in a position to share their spiritual riches with us. We rejoice in that day.”

In the photo above, Fr Sampson (left) on the day of his ordination to the priesthood, with the Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, the Venerable Jonathan Boardman (right). 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Vocations to the priesthood being explored in St Andrew's Moscow

A remarkable feature of parish life in St Andrew's Moscow is the emergence of possible vocations to the priesthood. At present 2 young people, both Russians, are engaged in the discernment process under the direction of the Director of Ordinands of our diocese, the Revd William Gulliford.

Given that we have only two parishes in Russia (Moscow and St Petersburg) one would think it would be quite unusual for Russians themselves to have an experience of Anglicanism that was of such significance that  they wish to begin exploration to priesthood! So it is a tribute to the quality of the spiritual, liturgical and community life of this active, multicultural parish, that people are finding this to be a Church where deep questions of Christian discipleship and possible public ministry can be explored. It is also due, in no small measure, to the example of faithful parish priesthood seen in the ministry of the chaplain of St Andrew's, Canon Simon Stephens.

During my recent visit to St Andrew's, two of the postulants for Holy Orders, Olga and Ivan, took me for a walking tour of some of the more unusual Churches in central Moscow. They are pictured above outside the Church of the Bulgarian Metochion. A metochion in Orthodoxy, is rather like an "ecclesiastical embassy church". I suppose not unlike our own Church of England congregations on the Continent!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

St Andrew's Moscow and the Russian Orphan Education project

Fr Simon Stephens (left) with some students and teachers of the ROOF education centre
On a recent visit to St Andrew's Moscow I visited with some students and teachers at the ROOF education centre. ROOF (Russian Orphan Opportunity Fund) is a charity supported by St Andrew's. The education centre is housed in the parish facilities.

This project seeks to provide education for young people from orphanages in Moscow. In Russian orphanages only the basics of education is provided. ROOF provides further learning in core and vocational subjects to help the young people to overcome their disadvantaged past and thus open up opportunities for employment and higher education which otherwise would not be possible. Many graduates of the centre have gone on to university; one is now a lawyer and one is a priest! The chaplain of St Andrew's, the Revd Canon Dr Simon Stephens is very much the pastor to the students and teachers at the centre.

The ROOF education centre was launched in 2000. 200 students are currently enrolled. Classes run 6 days a week. The website for ROOF (there are other aspects to the charity besides the education centre) is here.

St Andrew's Moscow website is here.

The Revd Andrew Sillis to Bonn and Cologne

This month, the Revd Andrew Sillis began his new ministry in All Saints, Cologne, and St Boniface, Bonn, in Germany. 

Fr Sillis comes to this diocese from St Mary the Virgin, Cuddington, in the Diocese of Guildford. Before ordination he trained as an environmental scientist, and continues a interest in this area. He also is a musician and admits to being "an avid follower of Formula 1". He is accompanied by his wife Rebecca ( a teacher of English, German and French), and his two children, Zachary 14, and Hannah, 8. 

We welcome Fr Andrew to this diocesan family.

There have been Anglican congregations in these two cities since the mid 1800's.  The website of the Churches in Bonn/Cologne is here. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Bishop Arturo Sánchez, RIP

Bishop Arturo Sánchez Galán, the retired bishop of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church (Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal, IERE) died on the morning of 10 January. He was 85. "Don Arturo" was the bishop of this Spanish Anglican jurisdiction, from 1983 to 1995. (IERE was organised in 1868 by dissident Roman Catholics. It became an autonomous part of the Anglican Communion in 1980. The present Bishop Carlos López Lozano resides in Madrid. There are about 25 parishes and missions. These are quite separate from the Church of England's Diocese in Europe churches and congregations in Spain).  

Bishop Sánchez was responsible as chairman of FEREDE (the Federation of Protestant Churches in Spain), for heading up negations between the Spanish State and the non-Roman Catholic Churches including reaching important agreements of cooperation, following the difficult Franco years. He also had an international profile having served on the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches.

Don Arturo may be known to many of our Church of England’s long-term residents in Spain. I first met him  in Panama in 1987 at the Latin American Anglican Congress, where he was warmly welcomed as a bishop from "la Madre Patria". (This term sounds contradictory in English, but works for Latin Americans).  

The funeral for Bishop Sánchez will be held in the IERE Cathedral of the Redeemer in Madrid, on 15 January. Our condolences go to his wife Raquel and their family.

Señor, recíbele en los brazos de tu misericordia, y en el bendito descanso de la paz eterna.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Theodore Gulliford RIP

Theodore William Georges Gulliford

I am aware that many of the clergy and laity of the diocese may not yet have heard the sad news of the death of Theodore Gulliford, the young son of our Director of Ordinands, the Revd William Gulliford and his wife Beatrice, and beloved brother of Valentine, Marie-Pia and Philomene. Theodore died in the early hours of 31 December.
Shortly after he was born, he was diagnosed with having a neurological disorder. The family had not expected him to live for more than a year. But in fact this beautiful, joyful and loving child completed his sixth birthday on Christmas Day.
The funeral service was last Monday, with a requiem and committal service on Tuesday.
Fr William wrote these moving words on 4 January:
We are very very sad, but full of memories, and we know that Theodore’s earthly limitations are no more and that he was fully alive until God took him to be hid with Christ in Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
I know that across this diocese people have been praying for Theodore these past years. Please continue to pray for the Gulliford family as they mourn their loss. Pray also for Theodore, that he may live, radiant, in the happiness of God’s kingdom.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Conference for Readers and Readers in Training

There are still some places left for Readers and Readers in Training to register for the Europe Diocesan Readers' Conference scheduled for this June 15-18 in Cologne, Germany. The theme of the conference is Bearing the Word and an invited panel of speakers and resource persons will focus on different aspects of the ministry of Reader in the Church of England.

  • Nick Clarke (Senior Communications Officer for the Church of England): Communicating the Word in the Modern World
  • The Revd Elaine Labourel (Tutor for Reader Training in the Diocese): Bearing the Word in the Liturgy of the Church
  • The Revd Sara McVane (Assistant Priest, St Andrew's Zurich): Equipping Readers to address conflict in  the Church
  • Dr Clare Amos (World Council of Churches Executive for Inter Religious Dialogue): Reading the Bible and Contemporary Hermeneutics
  • The Revd Dr Paul Collins (Vicar of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne): Prayer and Spirituality, Rooted in the Word.
Daily worship drawing from the rich liturgical traditions, ancient and contemporary, of the Church of England, will undergird the days together. There will be time for sharing experiences and insights with Readers and those in training for this Ministry of the Word from across Europe.

The cost is £360. Licensed Readers in Europe can apply CME grant money towards this. (£150 is allocated per year, per Reader, so two years allocation almost covers the conference cost). Please contact your Archdeacon (or your priest). Readers in Training should also contact their Archdeacon or speak to their priest for grant support information.

The conference has been planned by a team which includes Readers and Readers in Training from the diocese who are aware of the particular joys and challenges of this ministry in Europe. The planning team is pictured below.

To download a registration form click here.