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.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Anglican Co-Chairman of IARCCUM announced

The following announcement was made by the Anglican Communion Office on 25 June. As it involves someone in our diocese, I thought it should be posted here:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has named the Right Reverend David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese in Europe, as the Anglican Co-Chair of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).
IARCCUM was established by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church in 2001. It is a commission of bishops ‘to promote our relationship by seeking to translate our manifest agreement in faith into common life and mission’.
In its first report, Growing Together in Unity and Mission (2007), IARCCUM made an appraisal of the work to date of Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and ‘offered practical suggestions on the way in which Anglican and Roman Catholic ecumenical participation can be appropriately fostered and carried forward’.
There has not been an Anglican Co-Chair since the sad death in 2008 of the Right Reverend David Beetge, Bishop of the Highveld in the Anglican Province of Southern Africa. The Roman Catholic co-chair is the Most Reverend Donald Bolen, Bishop of Saskatoon in Canada.
The two Co-Chairs are already making plans to conduct a survey of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations throughout the world and to promote the developing work of ARCIC III".

I am honoured to be asked to take on this role and I look forward to working with my good friend, Bishop Donald Bolen, the Roman Catholic Co-Chairman. I would value the prayers of the people of the Diocese as I take on this additional responsibility on behalf of the wider Church and her ecumenical engagement.

Bishop Donald Bolen

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Petertide Ordinations

Just a reminder the people of the Diocese in Europe to pray for the four women and one man to be ordained this weekend:  

Dana, Mary, Verna
To be ordained in All Saints, Rome on Sunday 1 July: 
Dana English (to serve as assistant curate of All Saints, Rome) 
Mary Styles (to serve as assistant curate of All Saints, Rome)
To be ordained in St George's, Lisbon, on Sunday 1 July:
Verna Veritie (to serve as assistant curate of St Paul’s, Athens)

Jennifer, Nigel

To be ordained in Norwich Cathedral on Saturday 30 June:
The Revd Jennifer Elliott de Riverol (assistant curate of All Saints Tenerife with St Martin de Porres, 
La Palma)
To be ordained in St George's, Madrid on Saturday 30 June:
The Revd Nigel Thomas (assistant curate of St George’s, Madrid)

It will be good to remember these candidates in the intercessions at services this weekend. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Updated Safeguarding Policy launched at Diocesan Synod

The safeguarding of children in our Church is paramount. 
This clear statement of our Church's commitment was reaffirmed at the Synod of the Diocese in Europe at its meeting in Cologne, from 11 to 15 June, when an updated policy on Safeguarding (formerly known as “child protection”) was introduced and explained. 
Chris Lees, the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer together with the Diocesan Communications Officer, Paul Needle, highlighted the major new element in the updated policy, which is a procedure for the safe recruiting of volunteers who may have regular contact with children and vulnerable adults. Up to now, robust procedures for the safe recruitment of licensed workers (clergy and readers) are in place, but not for general volunteers who may hold positions of trust in our congregations, such as teaching Sunday School. All new volunteers recruited for such positions must now have the normal background checks completed. The procedure for the safe recruitment of volunteers is outlined in the updated Diocesan Policy. 
Bishop Geoffrey and I, in our foreward to the policy, expressed our hope that it may be “an instrument to help our communities be places of security, care, love and mutual responsibility. These are values of the Kingdom of God which we seek to live out in our lives, both personally and as a Church”.
The clergy and safeguarding officers of our parishes should be aware of these new standards. Any questions can be directed to the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, Mr Chris Lees, at We are aware that in a complex and international diocese such as ours, there may be times when advice on how to comply with the policy may be needed. Chris is the person to consult with on such occasions, and he can provide appropriate and sensitive professional advice. 
The updated diocesan policy can be accessed here. The Church of England's general policy is contained in the document Protecting All God's Children which can be obtained here.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Readers return to their parishes with renewed commitment

At the close of the Readers' Conference in Cologne, on Sunday 17 June, the lay ministers solemnly affirmed their commitment to service, asking God to give them grace to respond with gladness to their calling. Representatives then carried before the people the symbols which had been the focus of the daily worship, the Bible, the oil of healing, the water which gives life, and a burning candle which gives light out into the world, as the African song, "Send me Lord" was sung.

Many new friendships were made during the conference, and plans were shared about how to strengthen the network of communication among the Readers.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Readers of the Diocese in Europe are encouraged to engage with social media

Nick Clarke, the Senior Communications Officer for the Church of England, addressed the Readers' Conference on Sunday 17 June and issued two challenges to Readers as persons trained in the communication of the Gospel: Prepare two press releases a year, to get the news of the Church's life and witness out into the world; and engage with social media.

As a trained radio broadcaster and journalist, he gave a quick instruction on how to prepare effective press releases using a very simple format. He also proposed that "the greatest mission opportunity of the 21st century is to engage social media".

A lively discussion ensued about the use of websites, blogs, facebook, twitter, flickr and other social media to get the Church's message out into the world.

Secretary of the Central Readers' Council of the C of E is impressed by Europe's Readers

Dr Alan Wakely, the Secretary of the Central Readers' Council of the Church of England, was surprised and heartened by what he saw at our recent Diocesan Readers' Conference. "The average age of readers in the Church of England begins with a 6...", Dr Wakely remarked. "Clearly from what I see this is not the case in the Diocese in Europe, where you are much younger. I am delighted that you are not all over 75!"

Dr Wakely came to address the Readers on current trends in Reader Ministry across the Church of England, including the question of whether Readers should now be called "licensed lay ministers" and some key areas where canon law touches upon the ministry of Readers. He particularly liked the way we refer to our Readers as "lay theologians".

Friday, 22 June 2012

"All we are saying is give liturgy a chance"

In worship, "you are the actors, the celebrant is the prompter, the audience is God". With these words of Søren Kierkegaard, the Revd Elaine Labourel introduced her plenary session entitled "Bearing the Word in the Liturgy" at the Diocesan Readers' Conference on Sunday 17 June. Elaine is the Assistant Priest at St Mark's Versailles and St Paul's Chevry, and is presently completing an MA in Liturgy at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield. She explored how the liturgy of the Church forms the people of God, nourishes them with sound doctrine, and enables them to enter deeply into the work of giving glory to the Holy Trinity. Paraphrasing the old Lennon-McCartney song, Elaine told the Readers, "all we are saying is give liturgy a chance". 

At the eucharist on Sunday 17 June, in the midst of the Conference, I commissioned Elaine as "Senior Tutor and Advisor for Reader Ministry", recognising her work as part of the Ministry Team of the diocese. Elaine is pictured below with some of her most recent "graduates" whom she has tutored in their studies, and who have recently been admitted to the office of Reader and licensed.

Was this history being made?

In the evocative chapel at Cardinal Schulte Haus, dedicated to St Edith Stein, a carmelite nun and convert from Judaism who died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, a service of healing and reconciliation was held on Saturday evening June 16 at the Diocesan Readers' Conference.

Canon Ulla Monberg presided and preached. I am led to believe that this may be the first time that a woman priest has presided at a eucharist at a diocesan event.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Conflict as opportunity

Conflict as opportunity for ministry was the theme of a plenary session at the Diocesan Readers' Conference on 16 June, in Cologne. The Revd Sara MacVane, the Assistant Priest at St Andrew's Zurich, led the session. She distinguished between "honest conflict" on the one hand, where parties, even though holding different opinions, are trying to promote the good of the Church, and "toxic behaviour" on the other hand, where conversation and communication become secretive, manipulative and destructive.

Sara recognised the potentially important role that Readers have in addressing conflict in our congregations. They are often the only minister a local priest in our diocese can talk to and share situations which are problematic. As lay persons they also understand the investment, often emotional investment, that people have in their local church.

Prayer is like breathing

"Prayer is like breathing - you can't do without it". With these words, Brother Sam SSF, began his plenary session on prayer at the heart of the life of the Christian minister, for the Diocese in Europe Readers' Conference on 16 June. Brother Sam, a Franciscan friar and until recently the Provincial Minister of the Society of Saint Francis (SSF), spoke about prayer as having to do with our relationship with God, with others and with our natural environment. He spoke to our lay ministers on some key dimensions of prayer and the spiritual life:
  1. the link between prayer and action: opening our heart and wills to God's purpose for the world.
  2. the need to be free of distraction in our prayer so we can truly listen to God.
  3. that our life of prayer needs to be earthed - it should not be divorced from real, even mundane life. 
  4. the importance of practice - making sure our prayer is regular. Like athletes and musicians, regular practice helps us improve.
  5. that we need always to be reminded that we pray with brothers and sisters around the world and who have gone before us. We are not alone.
  6. to be aware that prayer opens us up, touches our wounds, our hurts, our vulnerabilities.
Brother Sam,  in his Franciscan habit, was also a visual reminder of the fact of the existence of religious communities in Anglicanism. Interestingly, this year there have been 4 men from continental Europe  testing their vocation with the Anglican Franciscans in England, 2 Swedes, a German and a Romanian!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wrestling with God: Clare Amos kicks off Readers' Conference with study of Jacob and the Angel

As preaching and interpreting the bible is a central feature of the ministry of Reader, it was appropriate that one of the keynote speakers at the Diocesan Readers' Conference held in Cologne from 15 to 18 June was a biblical scholar, Dr Clare Amos. Clare is the Programme Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches, a theological educator, and has taught Old and New Testament studies in Jerusalem, Beirut, Cambridge, London and Kent. She was also a former editor of the national journal The Reader. One of her most recent works is a commentary on Genesis.

Clare led a bible study on Genesis 32 and 33 (the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel) and another on the Transfiguration. She also led a plenary session on some issues in biblical hermeneutics, particularly apt for this conference of lay theologians and preachers. (Indeed she thought our Readers should be called hermeneuts!)

Clare inspired the participants at the conference with the vision of Archbishop Michael Ramsey: "to be a theologian is to be explosed to the vision of heaven and the tragedies of mankind".

Bearing the Word - Diocese in Europe Readers' Conference

50 Readers and readers in training, from Trondheim to Athens, descended on Kardinal Schulte Haus in Cologne on from 15 to 18 June for a three day conference. The theme of the event, the first ever diocesan-wide conference for lay ministers, was "Bearing the Word". 

Although we have had two diocesan clergy conferences since 2005, there has never been a similar event for our lay ministers. However, it simply would not be possible to continue to provide worship in the over 300 congregations of the Diocese in Europe, and to continue to provide quality pastoral engagement without the ministry of our Readers. There are now over 110 who exercise this ministry seek by week and close to 20 others in stages of training. Clearly the time was right to give the Readers an opportunity to meet each other and to engage in some time of learning together.  Whereas the clergy conferences have been fully funded, enabling virtually all clergy to attend, the Readers' Conference had to be self-financed, and attendees paid their own cost, although, Continuing Ministerial Education funds from Archdeaconries were available to some, as well as direct support from their parishes to attend.

The Conference was designed to enable the Readers to explore some of the most important aspects of their ministry: biblical study, liturgics, spirituality, communicating the Gospel and working as bridge builders and reconcilers.  

Acting Archdeacons of France and NW Europe appointed

Two acting or interim archdeacons were commissioned by Bishop Geoffrey at the diocesan synod in Cologne on 12 June. The Revd Ian Naylor (above left), priest-in-charge of St Andrew's Pau, was appointed Acting Archdeacon of France and the Revd Canon Meurig Williams (above right), Bishop Geoffrey's Chaplain was appointed Acting Archdeacon of North West Europe. 

These interim appointments enable the essential work of archdeacons to continue in this time of transition as the Diocese works towards implementing the plan to replace the 7 part-time archdeacons with 4 full-time ones.

We wish Fr Ian and Fr Meurig every blessing in their additional responsibilities.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Keith Clements addresses Diocesan Synod

Christian Faith in Europe: Residual or Potential.

This was the intriguing title for a presentation given to the Synod of the Diocese in Europe on 12 June by the Revd Dr Keith Clements, the former General Secretary of the European Conference of Churches, and a Baptist minister. 

Dr Clements outlined four dimensions of Christian life in modern Europe, which resonated deeply with the experience of members of our own diocese, and which gave an analysis which will be very helpful as we seek to minister in the complex Europe of 2012:

  1. Migration: Europe is part of a migratory world (one in 35 people in the world today is a migrant)
  2. Secularisation: Churches are home to a wide spectrum of belief and unbelief. Are some of us Anglican, but not Christian?!
  3. Inherited Christendom is replaced by "Conscious Choice" Christianity, the move from "national church" to "a gathered church"
  4. The phenomenon of "vicarious Christianity". To what extent is this an indicator of an insipient, residual or potential belief? Are people expecting the Churches to hold on to certain values on behalf of us all, values such as hospitality, a place of enquiry, spiritual tradition and discipline, justice?    
It was a stimulating and encouraging session. We were reminded that "secularisation can be an opportunity for the renewal of the Church".

Friday, 15 June 2012

Canon Ulla Monberg Appointed to ACC

At the Diocesan Synod final dinner last evening, it was announced that our Director of Training, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, has been co-opted onto the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), for the next 6 years. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, wrote to Canon Monberg with this exciting news last week.

The ACC is one of the instruments of the Anglican Communion, set up after the 1968 Lambeth Conference, to facilitate the co-operative work of the Churches of the Communion, exchanging information between the provinces and helping to co-ordinate common action. It advises on the organisation and structures of the Communion and seeks to develop common policies with respect to the mission and ecumenical life of the Churches.

The ACC membership includes from one to three persons from each province (the Church of England has three). Canon Monberg has been invited to bring the perspective of European Anglicanism, which gives us a unique voice in the Council for the first time ever. Before, we had to rely on the three Church of England delegates to represent the interests of this rather unusual diocese.

The ACC meets every two or three years. The next meeting, and Canon Monberg's first, will be in Aukland, New Zealand, in October.

We wish Canon Monberg every blessing as she takes up this additional responsibility. We are very proud that our diocese can be represented by her in this international forum.

For more information on the Anglican Consultative Council, check the official website here.


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Revd Dr Mika Pajunen to be Theological Advisor to Abp of Finland

The Revd Dr Mika Pajunen

The Revd Dr Mika K T Pajunen, is a priest of the Church of Finland, who served a curacy in our own Anglican parish of St Nicholas, Helsinki. This was a pioneering move promoted by the then chaplain of St Nicholas, the Revd Rupert Moreton, to bring an added dimension to the relationship of communion that exists between the Churches of England and Finland, thanks to the Porvoo Agreement. After his curacy, Fr Mika has continued to serve as a licensed priest of this diocese.

It has just been announced that Fr Mika has now been appointed the Theological
Advisor to the Archbishop of (Turku and) Finland, the Most Revd Kari Mäkinen. He will leave his present post at Diak University in Pori this summer, where he was the Principal Lecturer in Church Life.
This is a very important appointment and a strategic one in terms of our deepening relations with the Church of Finland. We wish Fr Mika every blessing as he prepares to take up this new and exciting work.

Archbishop of Finland with Mrs Mäkinen 

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Diocese in Europe Partnership Project in Haiti

On my recent visit to Haiti for the episcopal consecration of a friend, Bishop Ogé Beauvoir, I was able to spend some time in the parish that this Diocese in Europe supported through the Bishop's Appeal, following the devastating earthquake which struck on 12 January 2010. Over 300,000 died in the earthquake and some 1.3 million people displaced, many of which are still living in temporary camps. Even the presidential palace remains in ruins.

Following the earthquake, I consulted with the Diocese of Haiti about a suitable project to support, and they identified the parish of Notre Dame de l'Annonciation, Our Lady of the Annuciation, in Port-au-Prince. Our funds were directed to the school which this parish runs, in one of the most deprived areas of the Haitian capital. The Annunciation parish was founded by the Roman Catholic Church, but they abandoned the parish in the 1940s as it was too poor an area for them to work in! The Episcopal (Anglican) Church took over the property and the parish. 

Interior of the damaged church
The parish priest, the Revd Père Jean Fils Chery, warmly welcomed me to the eucharist on Sunday 20 May, and to a later visit to the work of the parish school on Monday 21st. After the Sunday eucharist, the parish presented me with a plaque to thank the diocese for their support following the earthquake. There was a huge feeling of appreciation for what their brothers and sisters in our European diocese had done for them, helping them to know that they were not forgotten by the world-wide Church following their plight. 

Père Jean Fils with his wife and son

The Church itself was so badly damaged structurally, that it is not likely that it will be repaired, especially given the more urgent needs of the school. The congregation worships in a makeshift partially open-air space, which is also the school's lunch room! Our diocesan funds went to the reconstruction of the school, which serves about 275 students, with 11 teachers. The students all come from the post impoverished of backgrounds. Père Jean Fils insists that the 11 teachers at the school are all fully qualified (unusual in Haitian schools), and that the medium of instruction is French, not Creole, so that these youngsters can have the best possible education and future possibilities.

The school provides a basic hot meal each day, which for most of the pupils, is their only meal of the day. It is prepared in a very humble kitchen. There is also a basic clinic at the school to provide some essential medical attention to the students. Some of the needs of the school are still to be addressed: there is only one toilet left, after the earthquake. It will cost about $20,000 to build a proper block of sanitary facilities, including providing a place for the children to wash.

School Kitchen
One immediate need after the earthquake was to rebuild the perimeter wall of the school, for security and to provide a proper environment for the children. Just outside the wall are the bustling streets of this poor neighbourhood.

The parish itself is thriving under Père Jean Fils skilled leadership , with two seminarians assisting (one a woman), and another young person wanting to test his vocation to the priesthood. There is a marvellous choir, an enthusiastic team of servers, and an active scout troop. The liturgy is celebrated partly in French and partly in Creole. 

The Diocese in Europe can be assured that its generosity has been well managed and that our gift is in very good and competent hands, helping a heroic community in a deprived part of the Haitian capital.  In addition to this work of assisting this project of the Haitian diocese, following the earthquake, the Diocese in Europe also raised further funds, about £15,000, which was sent for immediate emergency relief in Haiti, via our partner agency Christian Aid.

The Diocese of Haiti the largest and fastest-growing of the US-based Episcopal Church. It was founded in 1861. Its first bishop, James Holly, was one of the first black bishops in the Anglican Communion. Many of the 254 schools, the university, vocational colleges, a hospital and numerous clinics were destroyed in the earthquake, as was the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Port-au-Prince.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Celia Paterson: A New Reader for St George's Madrid

Celia Paterson was recently admitted to the office of Reader in the Church of England, by the Area Dean of Gibraltar, the Revd Canon Hugh Broad. Celia is licensed to the parish of St George's Madrid, where she will be working under the chaplain, the Revd Canon Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes, and with the Assistant Curate, the Revd Nigel Thomas. They are pictured above, left to right: Deacon Nigel, Fr Hugh, Celia, Fr Ian.

Celia was a member of the design team which planned the first Diocesan Readers' Conference which begins this Friday 15 June, in Cologne, Germany. They are shown, hard at work, in the photo below.

We look forward to congratulating Celia personally at the conference, and wish her God's blessing as she begins her licensed ministry in St George's, Madrid.

The Readers' Conference Design Team. Celia Paterson 3rd from Rt

Friday, 8 June 2012

St Philip and St John in The Hague celebrates 425 years of history

The English Church of St John and St Philip in the Hague can trace its history back to 1586. Churchwarden Tony May has written to me to point out some features of the interesting history of this parish: 

In 1584, during the early years of the revolt against King Philip of Spain, Prince William the Silent was assassinated. The Dutch begged Queen Elizabeth I of England to become their sovereign and to provide military aid. Reluctant to get too involved, she nonetheless promised to send soldiers, and appointed the Earl of Leicester as Governor General of the Netherlands. The English Church in The Hague was established in 1586 when the magistrates of the city built a chapel in Noordeinde for the use of chaplains accompanying the English soldiers, diplomats and merchants who came over with the Earl. The English (now Anglican) Church in The Hague has occupied four buildings on different sites and the present building was consecrated in 1952. But the bell that calls the faithful to worship on Sunday is the original bell from the first church building!
Although 2011 marked 425 years since the founding of the congregation, planning to mark this event could not proceed last year, and it was decided to make this year, 2012 the focus for the anniversary. A celebration weekend will be from 22 to 24 June. As part of the weekend, there will be a Festival Evensong 'Through the Ages' on Sunday 24th, when music from the 16th to 21st centuries will be featured. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

In the Manche: an ancient church houses one of our newer congregations

The Ancient Church at Gratot Hommeel, home to the Anglican Congregation
Gratot Church
"So, Adrian", I asked, "which is the oldest church building of any congregation of our diocese?" The Diocesan Secretary had to think for a moment, and after suggesting several which came to mind, I had finally to let him know the correct answer. It is the ancient church which is now the home of our congregation in Gratot Hommeel, just north of Coutances, France. The building given over to our sole use by the Bishop of Coutances (with the consent of the local maire), is over 1000 years old. It may be that William the Conqueror passed by this Church when riding through this part of Normandy. He would be surprised that it is now the home to a thriving congregation of Anglais. 

The Church in Isigny le Buat
Through the hard work and prayers of the faithful, and the dedication of the priest-in-charge, the Revd Peter Hales, the Anglican parish of Christ Church in the Manche in Normandy is now a vibrant and growing pastoral area within the diocese. From a small start 10 years ago, there are now 2 centres of worship, Gratot Hommeel in the north and Isigny le Buat in the south. In Isigny the congregation has been granted use of yet another Church by the local Roman Catholic bishop, which is shown in the above photo. It is not so ancient, only about 400 years old! This ecumenical kindness is a tribute to the solid ecumenical links that the parish have forged with the Roman Catholic diocese of Coutances. Mike Brooke, a Reader, assists Fr Peter in the pastoral and liturgical life of the parish, and there is another reader-in-training.

Parish Centre, Gratot
The parishioners of Christ Church in the Manche have raised funds to purchase a presbytery and parish hall next to the Church in Gratot, providing a venue for gatherings, a parish office, and a future possible residence for a priest. The land purchased includes a tennis court! I was privileged to formally dedicate the new parish centre during my visit on Sunday 10 May. Local politicians and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church were present at both eucharists I celebrated, in Gratot and Isigny.

The website of Christ Church in the Manche is here.

Right: the Revd Peter Hales

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

St Paul's Athens Parishioner to be WCC Steward

Jane Nyeche (pictured above), has been chosen to be one of the forty young adults from the world over to act as a steward at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee Meeting to be held at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymbari, Greece, from 28 August – 5 September, 2012. (The stewards serve the WCC governing bodies, and are chosen for their cross-cultural and linguistic skills, and their experience and interest in the ecumenical movement).

Jane, although born in Belgrade, is of Nigerian nationality and grew up in Athens. She is an active member of St Paul’s Church, Athens, and with others has special responsibility for Junior Church. She has some preparatory work to do by means of a long distance training programme provided by the WCC. During the conference she will not only undertake the responsibilities assigned to her but also participate in a progarmme tailor made for the stewards.

We in the Diocese in Europe are very proud that Jane has been chosen to serve this major ecumenical gathering as a steward, and wish her every blessing in this undertaking. She would very much like know of any other young adult from the Diocese who like her has been chosen to be a steward. Her email address can be obtained through
We look forward to hearing of Jane's experiences in due course.