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.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

April 2012 Book Reviews

Eight worthy volumes reviewed this month. 

I know our Diocesan Environmental Officer, Madeleine Holmes, will want us all to read A Heart for Creation. The Cranmer work will be a useful gift for ecumenical partners on the continent who wish to know more about this seminal Anglican theologian and liturgist. The Ward / Coakley volume on Anglicans relating to Islam is written from a UK perspective, but will be valuable to our own, particularly urban congregations in Europe. But there is so much more, just so little time to get through it all! 

Bună lectură!

For  the reviews press the read more button.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Archdeacon John de Wit at his last Bishop's Staff Meeting

The recent meeting of the Bishop's Senior Staff in London was the last for the Venerable John de Wit, the Archdeacon of North West Europe. Archdeacon de Wit has served in this post since 2008 as well as being the chaplain of Holy Trinity Utrecht since 2004. He retires from both posts next month.

When business was done his colleagues took him for a drink at a local pub where John was looking particularly relaxed! Surely it wasn't because it was his last meeting?

We will miss Fr John from around our table at Bishop's Senior Staff, where his wisdom and pastoral experience and insight have been invaluable as we address matters of oversight in the diocese.

Funeral of Bishop Ambrose Weekes

Just a note to correct the date and time of the funeral of Bishop Ambrose Weekes, former Suffragan Bishop of this Diocese in Europe.

The funeral will be on Thursday 10 May at 6.30 pm, at All Saints, Margaret Street, London.

For details from the Church website click here.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bishop Ambrose Weekes RIP

The Rt Revd Ambrose Walter Marcus Weekes CB FKC, formerly Suffragan Bishop in Europe and my predecessor twice removed, died on Tuesday 24 April, one day before his 93rd birthday.

After a distinguished career as a Naval Chaplain (eventually Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon of the Royal Navy) Fr Ambrose served several congregations in this diocese (Gibraltar as Dean, Tangier, Brussels and Montreux). He was named Auxilliary Bishop for Europe and then the first Suffragan Bishop in Europe, and served in this position from 1977 to 1986.

In retirement Bishop Ambrose lived at Charterhouse in London and was a faithful member of All Saints, Margaret Street. His funeral will be at All Saints on 5 May.

I am personally much indebted to Bishop Ambrose for his kindness towards me and his wise and often witty counsel on matters pertaining to episcopal ministry, especially in the first years after my appointment. I was also very much aware of and very grateful for his constant prayers for my ministry.
O God, mercifully accept our prayers which we offer for thy servant Ambrose; that he who laboured faithfully in the service of thy Name, may rejoice in the everlasting company of thy saints. Through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Revd Tom Heffer RIP

It is with great sadness that I pass along the news of the death of the Revd Tom Heffer, the Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, MtS. Fr Tom was well known in this Diocese in Europe, where MtS is very active and where several of our own priests are either MtS appointments or serve as MtS honorary chaplains. 

On Tuesday 17 April, Fr Tom lost consciousness whilst driving to work and had a minor collision. His heart was restarted at the scene by emergency service personnel and he was taken to a North London hospital where he remained, unconscious, in the Intensive Treatment Unit. In the early evening of Monday, 23 April, he passed away with his family by his side.

The Diocese has lost a much loved and respected colleague. We shall miss his outstanding service on behalf of MtS in support of our common mission.

Please remember Tom's wife Roz and his daughter Abi, and other members of his family, in their grief and loss. 

Funeral arrangements are not yet finalised. Further information can be obtained directly from the Mission to Seafarers website here

Heavenly Father, we commend to you your servant Tom. Open to him the gate to life and eternal fellowship with you.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Porvoo with a twist: Millennium Celebration of St Alfege's Martyrdom

St Alfege's Schoolchildren leading the last part of the pilgrimage. Photo: Southwark Diocese
The opening hymn in Southwark Cathedral had a startling verse:
Lo, a thousand years before us,
barb'rous Danes assailed this land:
homesteads, boroughs, churches, abbeys,
pillaged by a plundering band;
and the people suffered deeply
from the cruel heathen hand.
The occasion was the start of a pilgrimage to mark the millennium of the martyrdom of St Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, whose feast day was last Thursday 19 April. Alphege (or Alfege) was a much loved and revered man who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1005. In 1011 the Danes invaded south-east England and took Alphege prisoner. They put a ransom on his head, £3000, an astronomical amount in that day. Alphege refused to pay it and forbade anyone from doing so as he did not want to impoverish his people even more. He also never threatened his hostage takers with retaliation and thus became a a symbol of reconciliation. He was murdered by his captors on 19 April 1012.

The pilgrimage left Southwark Cathedral, led by St Alphege's successor, Archbishop Rowan Williams, and made its way to Greenwich where the parish Church dedicated to him now stands on the site of his martyrdom.  On the way a stop was made at St Alfege's School in Greenwich, where the Archbishop addressed the children about his predecessor and how enemies of 1000 years ago are now our friends, pointing out the many descendants of the Vikings who were present with us on the pilgrimage from our Porvoo partner Churches of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The Archbishop emphasised how reconciliation must always be our work and our goal.

The Revd Else Hviid, London's Danish Chaplain, enters St Alfege's Church with Metropolitan Seraphim of the Coptic Orthodox Church
In St Alfege's Church, the Bishop of Southwark, Christopher Chessun, and the Bishop of Bergen, Halvor Nordhaug, from another Viking land, Norway, signed a twinning agreement between the dioceses, inspired by the Porvoo Agreement.

Bishop Halvor signs the twinning agreement
History enthusiasts Regia Anglorum re-enacted scenes from St Alfege's life in the Churchyard where an entire Saxon village was reconstructed along with a replica Viking boat.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

German Anglicans support their sisters and brothers in Greece

St Paul's Church member, Agnes, assists with the feeding programme in Athens

In some quarters of Greece there are strong feelings of animosity towards Germany as the latter is blamed for the imposition of strict austerity measures as part of the EU financial assistance programme. But at the level of the Church, Anglicans in Germany have been expressing their solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Greece. For three Sundays in Lent, St George's Berlin took up special collections and raised funds which they sent to their sister parish of St Paul's in Athens. On receipt of the funds, the chaplain of St Paul's, Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, wrote to Canon Christopher Jage-Bowler, the chaplain of St George's:
"A very, very BIG expression of gratitude to all at St George’s for this act of solidarity with St Paul’s and the wider world in Athens as we journey through these difficult times. The stories of human hardship we are regularly facing or observe on the streets are heart rendering and overwhelming. The need is great and the resources few.... People’s spending power has greatly decreased because of a rapid rise in taxation, benefits are severely cut along with having to make provision for members in the family who are unemployed (particularly young adults). In the light of all this it seems little can be done. But such is Easter that we cannot give up on hope and generosity.  What little we have we must offer. This act of solidarity from St George’s helps to strengthen us in our resolve to respond as best we might in the spirit of our risen Lord".
The Athens Church is directing the German support through their 'Ephraim Boms Fund' which was set up in memory of the parish Reader who died last year and who had a special ministry supporting the migrant population in the Greek capital. The Fund assists mainly the migrants who have been particularly hard hit by the economic measures. Some examples of how the Fund has been used in the past weeks include payment for urgent medical tests for a new born baby whose parents are Nigerian but whose father has not been paid by his employer for three months, and the purchase of sleeping bags for several men who have to sleep in one cold rented room, with no mattress or bedding, as they are unemployed. And the needs continue daily.

The Revd Canon Christopher Jage Bowler, St George's Berlin

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Worship Resources for the Diamond Jubilee Available

Clergy and Readers of the Diocese who are planning worship over the next months will want to know of resources which have been compiled by the Church of England's Liturgical Commission to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There is a rich range of prayers and services available, drawn from material from the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship.

The Sunday of the Jubilee Weekend, 3 June, is a Principle Feast, Trinity Sunday, and the collect and readings at the main services that day must be for the feast itself, but the resources are adaptable to fit in with the feast or to be used on other occasions.

Some slight modification may be needed to certain prayers recognising that Queen Elizabeth II is of course, not Sovereign in most parts of the diocese, but our clergy and Readers are already used to making these adjustments!

Click here for the link to the resources.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Easter Joy in St Paul's Athens

Christos Anesti! Alethos Anesti! Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!  The Easter greeting, in Greek and English, echoed around St Paul's Athens on Easter day, as the Chaplain, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw welcomed regular worshippers and visitors from around the world. The Church was packed, standing room only, with overflow squeezed around the altar itself.

The music was provided by the parish choir and by a visiting choir and orchestral musicians from the Anglican Cathedral School in Sydney, Australia. As part of the joy of the day, prayers of thanksgiving were said for the birth of a new baby in the parish, Peter.

Less solemn, but equally joyful was the Easter egg hunt, the hot cross buns and then a lunch a local taverna.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Liturgy and Life in Athens

L to R: Reader Sherry Angelis, Fr Geoffrey, Fr Joseph, (me), Reader Christine Saccali, the Revd Pam Nicholson (PtO priest) and Canon Malcolm Bradshaw (Chaplain, St Paul's)  
The Good Friday Liturgy in St Paul's Athens was well attended by parishioners and visitors. Among the latter were the Revd Canon Geoffrey Evans, who until last year was priest-in-charge of St Nicholas Ankara, Turkey. Fr Geoffrey is now retired and living in Izmir. He had just arrived in Athens from Alexandria on Good Friday morning in time for the service!

We were joined by Fr Joseph, a priest of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Fr Joseph, a native of Lebanon, is studying for a PhD in Athens. Fr Joseph also joined for the Great Vigil of Easter the next day. His own Church observes Easter according to the Eastern date so he was free to be part of our own celebrations on the Western date.

Fr Malcolm arranged for some ecumenical discussions with Greek Orthodox authorities during my visit, including with Bishop Gabriel Papanicolaou (below), and with Drs Constantine Dimstas and Vassi Leontari of the Archdiocese of Athens Apostoli or social outreach programme. 10,000 meals are distributed each day to the needy in Athens, one of many programmes coordinated by Apostoli. Fr Malcolm and our Anglican parish work closely with Apostoli.  

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Announcement of Ordinations: Petertide 2012

With great joy I announce the following persons are to be ordained this Petertide (God willing):

Sacred Order of Deacon

Mrs Dana English (to serve as assistant curate of All Saints, Rome)
Dr Mary Styles (to serve as assistant curate of All Saints, Rome)
by Bishop David on Sunday 1 July at 10.30, in All Saints, Rome at 1030. The preacher will be the Very Revd Canon David Richardson, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The street address for All Saints is Via del Babuino 153, 00187 Rome, Italy.  For further details please contact the Venerable Jonathan Boardman, email:
Liturgical colour: Red
Ms Verna Veritie (to serve as assistant curate of St Paul’s, Athens)
by Bishop Geoffrey on Sunday 1 July, time to be confirmed, in St George’s, Lisbon. The preacher will be the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw. The street address for St George’s is Rua S Jorge 6, 1250-235 Lisbon, Portugal. For further details please contact Canon Michael Bullock, email:
Liturgical colour: White
Sacred Order of Priest
The Revd Jennifer Elliott de Riverol (assistant curate of All Saints Tenerife with St Martin de Porres, La Palma)
by Archbishop of Canterbury’s Episcopal Commissary in Norwich on Saturday 30 June at 3.00 pm.

The Revd Nigel Thomas (assistant curate of St George’s, Madrid)
by Bishop Geoffrey on Saturday 30 June at 1600, in St George’s Church, Madrid. The preacher will be the Revd Stephen Ferns. The street address for St George’s Church is: Nuñez de Balboa 43, (corner of Hermosilla), Madrid, Spain. For further details please contact the Revd Canon Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes,  email:
Liturgical colour: White
All are warmly invited to attend these celebrations.

Clergy and Readers are invited to robe (please note the liturgical colour for each service above) and join in procession. Priests of the Church of England or of a Church in communion are invited to join in the laying on of hands at the ordination of priests. Please plan to arrive at least ½ hour before the appointed service time.

Please pray for these candidates as they make their final preparations towards ordination as deacon or priest.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ecumenical Welcome for New Priest in Lanzarote

On Wednesday 28 March, Area Dean of Gibraltar, the Revd Canon Hugh Broad, licensed the Revd Tom Barnfather as the new priest-in-charge of St Laurence Anglican Parish, Lanzarote. The service took place in the church at Puerto del Carmen. The Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Dr John Paddock was the celebrant of the Eucharist. It was a very warm ecumenical occasion with clergy from the Roman Catholic, German Evangelical and Norwegian Lutheran Churches present.

left to right: Eiry Rees (Congregational Worship Leader); Fr Jose Manuel (RC Parish of Tias); Canon  Broad; Ken Rees (Churchwarden); Pastor Harm Dietrich Henke (German Church); the Dean; Fr Tom; David Dowdell (Reader); Fr Sixto (RC Parish of Yaiza); Fr Mike Smith (Tenerife North); Pastor Knut Kaldestad (Norwegian Church); Robin Wardle (Congregational Worship Leader); and Linda Davis (Churchwarden).
Fr Jose Manuel, RC Parish of Tias, welcomes Fr Tom to his new ministry
The members of the Mothers' Union branch welcoming Fr Tom and Rosie Barnfather.  

The Diocesan Director of Training Collated as Canon

At the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels, during the Chrism Eucharist on Tuesday 3 April, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Diocesan Director of Training, was formally collated into her stall of St Augustine of Canterbury by the Chancellor of the Pro-Cathedral, the Revd Canon Dr Robert Innes. The Canons form the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese and commit themselves to supporting the Bishop by prayer and counsel. Canon Monberg is pictured above seated in her stall next to the Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Jonathan LLoyd (whose stall is St Henry of Finland).

The Cathedral Chapter prayer:
Eternal God and Father,whose Son at supper prayed that his disciples might be oneas he is one with you:draw us closer to him,that, in common love and obedience to you,we may be united to one anotherin the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,so that the world may believe that he is Lord, to your eternal glory.we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Chrism Masses Celebrated in Brussels and Zurich

Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels
One of the most significant liturgies at this time of the year is the Chrism Mass. At this service, since the earliest days of the Church, the bishop blesses the oil of baptism, the oil of the sick and the oil of chrism. The modern service includes the reaffirmation of ministerial vows in which bishops, priests and deacons renew their commitment to service together in Christ’s Church. In recent years in the Church of England, this is also a time when Readers (licensed lay ministers) can also recommit themselves to their ministry of the word which they share with the ordained.

The Revd Canon Dr Jack McDonald was the preacher at the service held in the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels on Tuesday 3 April. Canon MacDonald is the priest-in-charge of Sts Mary and Martha, Leuven, and is a canon theologian of the Pro-Cathedral. In his sermon he reminded the clergy and readers of the essence of Christian ministry: "... Jesus offers us a value judgement on the entire exercise of power, with an admonition to his disciples that the key concept in leadership – their leadership of the church after the ascension – is that of service".

The distribution of oils after the service is also a solemn affair, normally involving a deacon and some rarely seen special vestments.

Also on Tuesday, Bishop Geoffrey presided at a Chrism Mass in St Andrew's Church in Zurich. In a vast diocese such as ours, holding two services simultaneously in different parts of Europe enables larger numbers of clergy and readers to attend. 
St Andrew's, Zurich

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Confirmations on Lady Day in Copenhagen

Photo: Bev Lloyd Roberts
This year the Feast of the Annunciation or Lady Day (25 March) fell on a Sunday. Sundays in Lent are not displaced by other feasts and I imagine that most of our Churches would have transferred the celebration to a suitable weekday following.

In St Alban's Copenhagen, Sunday 25 March was already going to be a packed day with the visit of their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. However the parish took advantage of my visit to anticipate the Annunciation on Saturday 24 March, and celebrate it with confirmations. Reflecting the international nature of the congregation, candidates came from a variety of backgrounds, Filipino, Danish, English, Ugandan, Nigerian and Indian among them.

Present for the weekend liturgies were the assistant clergy in St Alban's, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, and the Revd Mark Letters. I also had the opportunity to meet a deacon from Burundi, the Revd Christophe Ndikuriyo. who is worshipping in St Alban's and to whom I hope to give Permission to Officiate.

Photo: Bev Lloyd Roberts
At the end of what was an exhilarating but exhausting weekend, the clergy and visiting organist Adrian Mumford, along with spouses and friends, needed to sit down in the rare Copenhagen sunshine, and enjoy some refreshment.