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, 31 May 2012

The Revd Marcus Ronchetti joins team at Holy Spirit Costa Blanca

The Reverend Q Marcus Ronchetti, formerly Vicar of Midhurst and Woolbeding in the diocese of Chichester, will begin his new work as Chaplain (Team Vicar) of the Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca, Spain on 1 June 2012. Fr Marcus joins Fr Peter Edwards, the Senior Chaplain of Costa Blanca, in serving the 8 congregations in this part of the Spanish Mediterranean. He will be licensed by the Area Dean, Canon Hugh Broad, at 12 noon on Thursday 7 June, the feast of Corpus Christi.

Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca, has the largest electoral roll of any parish in our diocese. The pastoral area covers over 7000 square kilometres. The parish website is here.

Fr Marcus replaces the Reverend Robin Carter, who retired on 30 April. 

We welcome Fr Marcus to our diocesan family.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

May 2012 Book Reviews

Nine fascinating books reviewed this month. 

Another important Christian work on ecology, this time by biblical scholar Richard Bauckham, heads the list. A major tome on George Bell is included; it's expensive, but if you are a scholar of Bell, this is for you. Clergy and Readers will be interested in the volume on theological reflection, no doubt, and there are important works on Islam in Europe, the Baptist tradition, patristics, and much more. The Eberstadt book on the effect of the Pill is sure to be a challenge to Anglicans! But we like challenge, don't we? 

As always these reviews are based on those of Dr Martin Davie, the theological advisor to the Church of England's bishops. 

Hav en god læsning!

For  the reviews press the read more button.

Readers: Central to the Diocese in Europe's Ministry

Reader Angela Mirani
There are over 100 licensed Readers in the Diocese in Europe. These are lay ministers, theologically trained and formed in liturgical, preaching and pastoral ministry. They are recognisable by the blue preaching scarf they wear over their alb or surplice. In most places Readers work as members of ministry teams, providing essential auxiliary support to the ordained ministry of priests and deacons. There are some places in the diocese, however, where a Reader is not providing a supplementary ministry, but is the minister of the congregation, at the centre of parish life and responsible for keeping the (non-sacramental) worship of the Church going from week to week.

One such example is the congregation of St John the Baptist, Varese, in northern Italy, close to the Swiss border. Although a relatively small congregation without a resident priest, under the leadership of Reader Angela Mirani, it pulled out all the stops to join in this year's celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer with a beautiful  service of Choral Evensong on 20 May. A small but competent choir was formed for the occasion from members of the congregation and  friends. A few were nonplussed when faced with  Anglican chant for the first time, but soon got the hang of it and then  found William Smith and Thomas Tallis straightforward in comparison. Reader Angela Mirani, led the service which was a truly ecumenical affair as the congregation included members of the German Lutheran Church (whose building the Anglicans use), local Italian Roman Catholics and also the Ecumenical Officer for the Diocese of Milan. The  nearest Anglican churches, All Saints Milan and St Edward's Lugano, were also represented. The wonderful afternoon was rounded off in true Italian (or might one say Diocese in Europe? ) fashion with splendid food and wine!

The first diocesan wide gathering for Readers and those in training for this ministry will be held in Cologne Germany from 15 to 18 June. If you have not yet registered and you wish to attend, further information can be found here. (Financial support may be available: speak to your Archdeacon).

Saturday, 19 May 2012

All Saints Marseille Confirmations

All Saints Marseille is a historic congregation of the diocese, but a relatively small one these days. However it is a very faithful one, which is still producing candidates for confirmation. The apostolic rite of confirmations was celebrated again on 6 May. It was a joyous celebration of faith, for younger and older members of the parish.

There are several significant moments in the rite of Confirmation, besides the  laying on of the bishop's hand. One is when, gathered at the baptismal font and having rehearsed the baptismal creed of the Church, the candidates dip their hands into the water and sign themselves with the cross, to remind them of their union with Christ in Holy Baptism. Another is at the end of the service when the newly confirmed carry a lit candle out into the world, the place where their Christian discipleship is lived out, as they bear  the light of Christ to those they meet through their service of love.  

Friday, 18 May 2012

The Revd Gabriel Amat celebrates 40 years of priesthood

The Revd Gabriel Amat, (kneeling in the photo above) the priest-in-charge of All Saints Marseille, celebrated 40 years of his ordination as a priest at a celebration on Sunday 6 May. Fr Gabriel was ordained in the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church, a small autonomous Anglican jurisdiction in Spain. He has served in that Church as well as in our Church of England Diocese in Europe, first in Zurich, and now in Marseille. Anna Maria, his wife, was on hand for some prayers of thanksgiving for these years of fruitful ministry.

Two other priests were present: a former priest-in-charge of Marseille, Fr Patrick Cassidy who was my  chaplain for the occasion; and the Revd Riita Granroth. Riita is a priest of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, with whom the Church of England is in communion. She heads up a fascinating project sponsored by the Finnish Church, the Marhaban Diaconal Centre, which offers pastoral care and advice to the immigrant community in Marseille, particularly to North African women, most of whom are from a Muslim tradition. We are looking to explore how closer links can be encouraged between the Marhaban centre and our Anglican parish.

The Revd Riita Granroth
In good French style, a glass of champagne was raised to toast Fr Gabriel after the parish eucharist. Congratulations, Fr Gabriel!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

New Readers for Midi Pyrénéés and Aude

"Brothers and sisters, these men have been chosen for the office of Reader. Will you uphold and encourage them in their ministry?" With this question the support of the people of God is sought as new Readers are admitted to this ancient office.

On 11 May, during a eucharist at the French Archdeaconry Synod in St Jacut de la Mer, I admitted and then licensed Rodney Bridges and Mike Pennington to this lay ministry. A copy of the New Testament is given to them, signifying that their ministry is focussed on preaching and teaching the Word of God in the congregations to which they are assigned.

Rodney and Mike will serve in the chaplaincy of Midi Pyrénéés and Aude, along with the Revd Andrew Hawkin, the chaplain, (below left) and assistant priests June Hutchinson (below right) and Tony Jewiss. Readers in the Church of England wear blue scarves over their surplice or alb.

Readers in training undergo a programme of theological and practical study, normally lasting three years. I like to think of them as lay theologians with skills in pastoralia and liturgics, who complement the ordained ministry of priests and deacons. There are about 100 licensed Readers in the Diocese in Europe.   Information on the process of selection and training for this ministry can be found here.

Rodney Bridges (left) and Mike Pennington, with their wives

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell given extension beyond 70

The Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, announced on Monday 14 May that, following consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, he has been given an extension in office beyond his 70th birthday. (The normal retirement age for bishops in the Church of England is 70). Bishop Geoffrey will reach that age in February 2013.

French Archdeaconry meets in Brittany

Photo: St Paul's Monaco
Over 120 clergy and lay representatives from our congregations in France and Monaco gathered for the annual synod of the French Archdeaconry in St Jacut de la Mer, Brittany.  There are over 70 Church of England congregations in France and Monaco, clustered into about 30 "parishes".

Abbey of St Jacut
Besides the daily round of office and eucharist, and the customary business that synods must address, the representatives heard some stimulating lectures by the Revd Dr Anders Bergquist, the vicar of St John's Wood, London. Dr Bergquist spoke on "God's work and ours", reflecting on aspects of the liturgical life of the Church, and on the dimensions of the Church's ministry, lay and ordained.

The Revd Dr Anders Bergquist
Other discussions and presentations were on
  • the updated Diocesan Safeguarding guidelines (formerly known as Child Protection)
  • Environmental matters
  • the Anglican Covenant
  • Diocesan Strategic Planning
  • next steps in the ordination of women to the episcopate
  • Music copyright
  • Rising costs of ministry
Significantly, the Revd Franck Lemaître OP, the Ecumenical Officer of the French (RC) Episcopal Conference, joined us for part of the synod and addressed the gathering, reporting on the good state of ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholic Church in France.

 The Revd Franck Lemaître OP
This was the last archdeaconry synod at which the Venerable Ken Letts would preside. Fr Ken steps down as Archdeacon of France on 30 June (but continues as Chaplain of Holy Trinity Nice and St Hugh's Vence). There were several moments when the synod's deep appreciation for his leadership were expressed. The representatives gave Fr Ken an icon of the 12 Feasts, as a token of their love and best wishes. 

Photo: St Paul's Monaco
Mrs Isabel Letts and Archdeacon Ken Letts. Photo: St Paul's Monaco

Monday, 14 May 2012

Consultation on Anglican work in Finland

On 2 May in the western Finnish city of Pori, Anglican clergy, ordinands, readers and lay officials held a consultation on various matters to do with the life, mission, pastoral organisation and staffing of Anglican work in Finland. Some clergy from the Church of Finland who assist with Anglican work joined in the consultation, recognising the important place of the Porvoo Agreement when it comes to the Church of England presence in the country.

Aspects of the life of the congregations and communities in Helsinki, Espoo, Turku, Pori, Salo, Rauma and Kuopio were reviewed as well as that of the White Nile congregations in Vaasa and Oulu. (Representatives from the joint Anglican-Lutheran congregation of Christ the King in Tampere as well as the community in Mikkeli unfortunately were not able to be represented at this consultation). Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd and Area Dean of the Nordic and Baltic counties, the Revd Barbara Moss, were on hand for support, advice and direction. It was a full day of rich sharing, prayer and discussion, with some agreed items for follow-up.

The Revd Dr Mika Pajunen, (below right), an assistant priest in the Anglican Church in Finland, teaches at the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences in Pori. Fr Mika was able to arrange the meeting at the same time as an international gathering of diaconal workers was being held at the University, making for some interesting encounters. One person I met was Armin Krueger (below left), who works for the German Evangelical Lutheran community in Finland. Armin is classified in the Finnish Church system as a "deaconess" even though clearly a man. Church can be so complicated!

The closing eucharist seemed to be a good time for me to admit the newly elected Churchwardens of St Nicholas, Helsinki, Rachel Skinner and Jonathan Heeb, who were part of the consultation. They are pictured below with Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, assistant curate at St Nicholas.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

From British Embassy Church to Multicultural Christian Community: St Michael's Paris

Diocese in Europe = Brits abroad? A common misconception that I still meet when talking to many on the island of Great Britain.

A recent confirmation in St Michael's Paris demonstrates the international nature of many, if not most, of our congregations in Europe. Candidates came from these backgrounds: French, Algerian, Sri Lankan and English. (There were probably more that that is what I remember). The service was in French and English with readings in Tamil. St Michael's has certainly developed from the days when it was known as "the British Embassy Church"! Of the four regular services in St Michael's each Sunday, two are in English, one in French and another in Tamil.

The website of this vibrant chaplaincy is here.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

English Church in Ulm

As a diocesan family we are always heartened by stories of new congregations. Here is one from Germany.

The Revd Ken Dimmick, priest-in-charge of St Catherine's Stuttgart, has been nurturing a small daughter congregation in Ulm for a couple of years. This Easter was a particularly joyful time for this small, but growing community. Fr Ken recently wrote enthusiastically, following the service on Easter day:

"I could not be more joyous than I was driving home to Stuttgart after Easter service.  I am so glad we were able to make it happen.... and thank each of you who were able to participate.  Some were out of town, some were sick at home, but still we had a very nice group of children and adults who sang beautifully, thanks to to Malin and Tobias's guitar abilities, and who entered into the prayers with heartfelt devotion.  Thanks to Elsa we had a successful Easter Egg hunt for the children, and a great feast with delicious things brought by many.  And... thanks also for a generous donation in the offering plate.  Such stewardship in financial things will be important if our relationship with the Münster Gemeinde is to continue".
We pray for God's continued blessing on this new work. Visitors and newcomes are always welcome! The services are held at the Ulmer Münster Gemeindehause, Münsterplatz 21, next to the Münster on Sunday evenings at 17:30 on a frequent basis. Details of the "Ulm Mission" can be found here.

Members of the English Church in Ulm

Monday, 7 May 2012

Two New Readers in Aquitaine: Sheila Marshall and Sue Blomley

Archdeacon Ken Letts in Aquitaine. (Photo: Anglican Chaplaincy in Aquitaine)
On 22 April, two new Readers were admitted and licensed in the Anglican parish of the Aquitaine by the Archdeacon of France, the Venerable Ken Letts (above). It involved quite some travel for Fr Ken, and the members of the parish, as the pastoral area is larger than Wales! Sue Blomley was admitted and licensed in the Church in Menteton in the morning, and Sheila Marshall in the Church in Bertric Burée in the evening. 

We welcome Sue and Sheila to the fellowship of Readers in this diocese and wish them God's blessing on their work as part of the ministry team in Aquitaine, headed by the Chaplain, the Revd Paul Vrolijk. 

More information about this extensive work can be found on the chaplaincy website here

Sheila Marshall, Archdeacon Letts, Sue Blomley (Photo: Anglican Chaplaincy in Aquitaine)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Revd Hilary Jones - Bishop's Adviser for Women's Ministry

The Revd Hilary Jones has been appointed as Bishop's Adviser for Women's Ministry for the Diocese in Europe in succession to the Revd Adèle Kelham. Hilary has recently moved to reside in the Diocese (in Switzerland) having previously served as a priest in the Diocese of Canterbury where she also served as Adviser for Women's Ministry from 2004 to 2011. Thus she brings a wealth of experience to this role in Europe. We congratulate Hilary on this appointment and look forward to working with her.

The appointment takes effect immediately. There will be a formal commissioning on 17 October this year at the Annual Friends of the Diocese Eucharist at St Matthew's Church, Westminster.

The position is a vital one, focussing on supporting the women clergy through prayer, counsel and encouraging their fullest possible participation in the life and mission of the diocese. Hilary is available to women clergy of the diocese for pastoral, spiritual and professional support and advice as required. She will advise the bishops on matters of concern related to women's ministry.

There are now about 36 women clergy, priests and deacons, licensed in the diocese and many more with permission to officiate. The total number of licensed clergy is 213.