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Sunday, 4 March 2012

St Thomas's Hamburg: Extending a Welcome 400 Years On.

A weekend of joyful celebration of 400 years of Anglican worship in Hamburg was held from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th February, part of a year long programme of concerts, events and services at St Thomas Becket Church entitled “Extending a welcome”.

Saturday saw the church packed for a service of thanksgiving led by Bishop Geoffrey and the Chaplain of St Thomas's, the Revd Matthew Jones. Among the many clergy there were the Lutheran Bishop of Hamburg and L├╝beck, Kerstin Fehrs, and the Roman Catholic Suffragan Bishop of Hamburg, Hans-Jochen Jaschke. Also present were representatives of the City of Hamburg and a delegation from the Company of Merchant Adventurers of York.

It was the Merchant Adventurers who formed the first congregation in 1612 after the Hamburg Senate granted them freedom to worship in English according to the rites of the Church of England. Even taking into account the commercial advantage to the city, it was a remarkable concession in strictly Lutheran post-Reformation Hamburg.

The evening before the service, Daniel Hope teamed up with pianist Sebastian Knauer and the conductor and pianist Jeffrey Tate for a concert in the church at the invitation of the British Honorary Consul to raise money to pay for much-needed repairs to the early 19th century building.

Guests from the wider Anglican community are very welcome to visit throughout this celebratory year. Details of events can be found at the impressive special website here.

In the photo above, the Revd Matthew Jones is seen being presented at the anniversary service with a plunger as one of the symbols of thanksgiving activity in the church!

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