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, 27 July 2012

The Revd Christopher Maclay to St Mark's Versailles

The new chaplain of St Mark's Versailles and St Paul's Chevry, France, is to be the Reverend Christopher Maclay. Chris was rector of Ashington, Washington and Wiston with Buncton in the diocese of Chichester. He takes up his new post on 1 August and will be licensed on 16 September by the Area Dean of France, the Revd Canon Trevor Whitfield. We welcome Chris to this diocese!

The assistant priest in the parish is the Revd Elaine Labourel.

St Mark's Versailles has been undergoing an ambitious building programme and the new worship space will be dedicated on 16 February 2013. The parish website is here

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Prayers for the Olympics

This week the Olympic Games begin in London. It is estimated that about 205 countries will be represented. 45 of them are in this diocese in Europe, so we have no official favourite!

There are criticisms of the Games, of course. There is concern about the huge amount of money that is being spent, money that is in short supply these days, and which might be spent on bettering the lives of the world’s impoverished. Some, in London, are concerned about the disruption to normal life. (We who have offices in Central London have been asked to consider working from home as much as possible during the Games). However the Bishop of Barking, the Rt Revd David Hawkins, in whose area the Olympic Park is located, has said, “Sport, culture and religion lift spirits and give value, significance and inspiration to all of our lives. The Olympic movement gives expression to each of these, and it sits well with the values of the Church”.  

The Mission Society, USPG, in its prayer diary entry for this week also affirms that the games embody a number of values that people of faith can welcome and embrace. For example there is the ancient tradition of the “Olympic truce”, and the charitable actions shown from time to time by athletes towards competitors from poorer countriesThe USPG prayer diary also notes that the extreme dedication with which athletes pursue their training and competing can teach us something about the dedication needed for the outworking of our faith! So in the days of the games, we pray for peace throughout the world in the spirit of the Olympic truce; for an end to poverty and injustice; and for the Churches that we may be inspired with new dedication. 

Here is a prayer from the USPG for the Games:

In our celebration of the Olympic Games
May we be inspired to train for action
To run the race with hope,
And to hit the mark of truth
Amid the interlocking rings of your all embracing love.  Amen.

I have adapted this one, from the Church of England’s website:

Eternal God, Giver of joy and source of all strength,
we pray for those who participate in the London Olympic and Paralympic games.
For the competitors and their loved ones, For the many thousands who support them,
and for those who welcome many people from many nations.
In a world where many are rejected and abused, 
we pray for a spirit of tolerance and acceptance, of humility and respect and for the health and safety of all.
May we at the last be led towards the love of Christ who is more than gold, today and forever.  

Saturday, 21 July 2012

From Army Chaplaincy to Tuscany: The Revd William Lister

On 29 July, the Revd William Lister, takes over as Chaplain of St Mark's Florence with St Peter's Siena, in Italy. Fr William comes to us from a distinguished career in Army chaplaincy, where he held a number of challenging appointments: in the UK, Germany and in operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also been an Assistant Director of Ordinands for the Army and has guided a number of people through their vocational journey to priesthood. 

We welcome Fr William to this diocese. He comes with an exciting vision for ministry in this part of Italy which has been a cultural, artistic, and commercial centre for centuries, and where there are new challenges for the development of the Church's work in Siena and Bologna. 

St Mark's Church itself is decorated under the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and is itself an established cultural venue in Florence as well as a centre of excellence in Anglo-Catholic worship. The parish website is here.

St Mark's Florence, High Altar

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Anglican and Old Catholic Cooperation in Schiphol Airport Ministry

It was in 2004, with the support of Christ Church Amsterdam, that the Church of England Diocese in Europe appointed its first priest to work with the ecumenical chaplaincy at Schiphol Airport. Schiphol is the fourth busiest air hub in Europe, after Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt. in 2011 close to 50 million passengers used the airport. The present Anglican chaplain is the Revd Joop Albers, who works alongside Roman Catholic and Protestant colleagues in this ecumenical chaplaincy.

The Revd Joop Albers
To give expression to the communion between Anglicans and Old Catholics, the Willibrord Society, encouraged a broadening of the Anglican participation in this ministry to include the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands, specifically the Diocese of Haarlem. In 2011 this was formalised through the formation of a board called the "Old Catholic and Anglican Airport Ministry", OCAAM, whose membership is 50% Anglicans and 50% Old Catholic. Our work and presence in the airport is now fully a joint Anglican-Old Catholic project. The Willibrord Society, founded in 1908 works for closer links between Anglican and Old Catholic churches. There is a website here for more information. Our cooperation in the airport ministry is a clear witness to our Churches' sharing in mission as well as in sacramental life and faith.

Alongside Fr Joop there are a number of volunteers, from both Churches, who work at the airport's meditation centre, which sees 45,000 visitors each year! The Airport ministry serves the employees of Schiphol as well, who number close to 60,000. The pastoral care offered transcends cultures and religions. Fr Joop reports that one Muslim employee at the airport said, "we do not need an imam because the church is already here".

The Anglican Airport ministry has a website here. There is a fascinating YouTube clip of the ecumenical work in Schiphol here.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

From Hen and Chicken Court to the Zoo

It may not be realised, given the amount of work that he accomplishes, that the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO), the Revd William Gulliford, works for the diocese on a half-time basis. The other half of Fr William's time is spent as a parish priest in the diocese of London. In June, Fr William moved to be the vicar of St Mark's Regent's Park, from his previous position as Guild Vicar of St Dunstan's in the West. 

While he was at St Dunstan's I always enjoyed the fact that his street address was "Hen and Chicken Court". Now at St Mark's, situated on the north border of Regent's Park, the famous London Zoo is part of his parish. This could be helpful for Fr William's ongoing work in this Diocese in Europe!

We wish Fr William and his wife Beatrice, and daughters Valentine, Marie-Pia and Philomene, every blessing as they settle into their new home. 

The DDO is responsible for the assessment of postulants for Holy Orders and providing oversight of the candidates during their training. At any given time, there are about 20 - 25 people in the diocese at various stages of discernment and training for the ordained ministry.

Fr William's contact details for his work as DDO in Europe remain as before:

Fr Gulliford (rt) with two ordinands of the diocese

Monday, 16 July 2012

Old Catholic Congregations in Italy look to new home in the Church of England

It is not often that a diocese is asked to receive existing communities of Christians, together with their clergy, into its life. But such a process is under way in Italy. 

In March, I met with the Revds Teodora Tosatti and Renzo Rodani, priests of the Old Catholic Church  in Italy. That Church had been under the pastoral oversight of the Old Catholic Bishop of Switzerland, Dr Harald Rein. By mutual agreement that oversight was ending and a new ecclesial home was to be found for the Old Catholics. Mother Tosatti and Father Rodani thus approached me on behalf of their parishes, to request that they be incorporated into the structures of the Church of England. Anglicans and Old Catholics have been in communion since 1931 under the provisions of the Bonn Agreement, so there is no problem with regard to the inter-changeability of ministries, but there are pastoral and administrative matters which would need attention. (Information about the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht can be found here).   

In our March discussions we agreed the procedure for the clergy to become licensed priests of this diocese, and also the process, led by the Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, working with the church councils, to bring the parishes into the Diocese formally and constitutionally. This pastoral accompaniment is now under way. One feature of their Old Catholic inheritance which Mother Tosatti and Father Rodani wish to secure into the future was the retention of their Italian language services and liturgy. 

Mother Tosatti is parish priest of Dio Padre Misericordioso in Rome, while Father Rodani is parish priest of San Vincenzo di Lerins in Florence. Mother Tosatti is shown in the picture above between me and Archdeacon Jonathan Boardman of Italy and Malta.

Remember these clergy and their people in your prayers as the Archdeacon works with them and supports them in this time of transition.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Eurobishop is 3 years old

Eurobishop is 3 years old today. It is hard to believe that what began as a very tentative experiment, based on a morning's course on new technology that I took in Church House, seems to now be an important vehicle for communications within and about our diocese. There are now normally between 350 and 700 views per day. 

The top 10 countries from where visitors to the site come are: USA, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Malta, Finland, Australia and Spain. Apparently (I have no idea how the internet knows this) 44% of viewers are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Some have asked about the picture on the design. It comes from this photo which I randomly picked for a number of reasons. First of all it is a bridge, and bishops are supposed to be bridge-builders. It is a bridge across the Bosphorus, which joins two continents, and the diocese actually includes countries in Europe and in Asia. I myself am Eurasian, Scottish and Burmese. And it is the sunrise, a sign of hope expressed in the morning canticle Benedictus: "In the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us".

I am always open to suggestions about improvement and modification, about possible items to be covered in posts. Just drop me a line.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Iceland consecrates its first woman bishop

Photo: Church of Iceland

The Church of England is still seeking a way forward on the matter of the ordination of women to the episcopate, attending both to the majority in the Church who wish to proceed, and the minority who wish an assured place in the Church despite not being able to accept this development. 

Meanwhile, in Churches with which we are in communion, women bishops are becoming more and more a normal aspect of Church life. In the Churches which have signed the Porvoo Agreement, with whom the Church of England is in communion, the Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian Churches already have women bishops (and in Norway, the Presiding Bishop, or Primate, is a woman). And on 24 June, the new bishop of Iceland, also a woman, was consecrated, Bishop Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir. The service of consecration was held in the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík with 11 bishops and archbishops from neighbouring countries present, including the Bishop of Sodor and Man, from the Church of England.  

Bishop Agnes, in the sermon at her consecration, addressed the need to strengthen and rebuild the membership of the Church: "Those who have left the Church in recent years have chosen to do so for various reasons. Now we need to set the goal to increase Church membership and find ways to do so. We need to be like the shepherd who seeks or the woman who searches. They looked until they found and so we should also do".  

Close to 80% of the population of Iceland belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland. There are 280 congregations around the country and close to 160 priests and deacons. The website of the Church is here.

The Diocese in Europe has one congregation in Iceland, in Reykjavik, which also meets in the Hallgrímskirkja. The priest is the Revd Bjarni Bjarnason, an Icelandic priest, who has permission to minister to the Anglican congregation, under the provisions of the Porvoo Agreement.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Church of England's parish in Andorra

Easter Sunrise Service in Andorra
Principat d'Andorra is the official Catalan name for one of the smallest countries in Europe and in our Diocese. St George's in Andorra is a faithful congregation of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar, with a dedicated laity, who keep Anglican worship going each week, despite not having a resident priest. Although tucked away, high in the Pyrenees, the congregation clearly keeps in touch with the wider Church, Anglican and ecumenical. Here is part of a recent report from one of the Churchwardens, Valerie Rymarenko:  
"....without a chaplain we depend upon locum chaplains to visit us to celebrate Holy Communion....We really benefit from the influence of such a wide range of chaplains, coming from various parts of the world, some retired and some full-time. In their different ways of leading Bible Study, celebrating Holy Communion and preaching, we gain a panoramic view of the Anglican Church and we cannot get into a rut or become set in our ways and attitudes. We are most thankful for the care and devotion of these good priests.
Our relationship with the Roman Catholic Church in Andorra continues to flourish. We were very happy to be asked once again to help organize, and participate in, the annual Christian Ecumenical Service at Sant Esteve Church in Andorra la Vella, led by Arxiprest Mossèn Ramon Sàrries on 20th January 2012. St George’s was represented for the second year running by our visiting chaplain, the Reverend Dr Bill Maxwell. There is no doubt we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Co-Prince of Andorra, Archbishop Joan Enric Vives Sicília of Urgell, for his support and care of St George’s.
The other Co-Prince of Andorra is, of course, the President of France.

For more about this remarkable congregation, see the parish website here.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Diocese in Europe Measure is given final approval by General Synod

There was very good news for this Diocese in Europe from the July sessions of General Synod: The draft Diocese in Europe Measure was given final approval.

This measure gives power to the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops' Council to make financial provision for our Diocese.

Additionally, it brings our diocese into line with the other 43, in that items referred to it by the General Synod are now to be dealt with by our Diocesan Synod, rather than by Bishop's Council and Standing Committee.

The text of the measure is here.

Monday, 9 July 2012

The General Synod postpones the final decision on women bishops

Today, Monday 9 July, was to have been the day when the General Synod would take the final vote on the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. Members of this diocese will recall that our own Diocesan Synod and Bishop's Council gave approval to the Measure in the form it was referred to dioceses 18 months ago. (42 of the 44 dioceses gave their approval). The House of Bishops has the power to amend the draft Measure, and indeed, did make 2 amendments. One of them, to clause 5, proved to be controversial. 

The clause 5 amendment was intended to ensure that when a parochial church council requests under the Measure that the Diocesan Bishop provide a male bishop to minister to them, that the exercise of ministry by a bishop so delegated be consistent with the theological convictions of those opposed to the consecration or ordination of women which prompted the Letter of Request in the first place. Thus the clause 5 amendment sought to address the fact that for some parishes a male bishop or male priest is necessary but not sufficient.
Clearly the mind of the Synod was to ask the House of Bishops to think again, and the following motion was carried (for 288, against 144, abstentions 15):

'That the debate be now adjourned to enable the new clause 5(1)(c) inserted by the House of Bishops into the draft Measure entitled "Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure" to be reconsidered by the House of Bishops.'

So the draft Measure will now go back to the House of Bishops. The House will meet on 11 and 12 September and will pay special attention to the amendment it made which evidently caused the Synod to press the pause button on the final decision. The final approval debate by the General Synod will now be held at a group of sessions  scheduled for 19 - 21 November. 
The official press release about all this can be found here.

Maureen Kyle joins the Ministry Team in St Vincent's Algarve

On Tuesday 3 July the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, the Venerable David Sutch, licensed Maureen Kyle to serve as a Reader in St Vincent's Algarve. Maureen comes to us from the Diocese of Southwark where she has served as a Reader, and has even been Diocesan President of the Mothers' Union. We welcome Maureen to this diocese and wish her every blessing as she resumes her reader ministry in St Vincent's. It is a busy parish, with 4 congregations in the Algarve, so Maureen's assistance as part of the ministry team will be highly valued!  

In the photo above, left to right, Archdeacon Sutch, Reader Maureen Kyle, Reader Eckart Floether, Fr Bob Bates, Chaplain, and Reader Bob Kelly. 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Europe Ordinations in Madrid, Lisbon ... and Norwich

On Saturday 30 June in St George's Madrid, the Revd Nigel Thomas (above left) was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Geoffrey (centre). Fr Nigel continues to serve as assistant curate in St George's, under the supervision of the chaplain, the Revd Canon Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes (right).

On Sunday 1 July, in St George's Lisbon, Verna Veritie (above centre) was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Geoffrey. Deacon Verna will serve as assistant curate in St Paul's Athens and St Peter's Kifissia, under the direction of the chaplain, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw (above left). Fr Malcolm was the preacher for the occasion. Verna's move to Greece to take up her diaconal ministry comes at an appropriate time when our parish is engaged, with our Orthodox partners, in reaching out to those who are affected by the economic crisis in the country.

On Saturday 30 June in Norwich Cathedral, the Revd Jennifer Elliott de Riverol, the assistant curate of All Saints Tenerife with St Martin de Porres, La Palma, was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, as commissary of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Jennifer has connections in Norfolk and as women priests in this diocese are ordained either by the Archbishop of Canterbury or his commissary, it was appropriate for her ordination to be held in Norwich. 

Jennifer (4th from left above) continues her ministry in La Palma and Tenerife, under the supervision of her training incumbent, the Revd Mike Smith. She is the first woman priest to be ordained to serve in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Book of congratulations for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth

On Sunday 1 July, following the ordination of Mary Styles and Dana English, Sandra Annovazzi, (above, in the green dress) one of the Churchwardens in All Saints Rome, presented me with a beautifully bound book of the congratulatory wishes which were collected from parishes across the diocese. The handsome volume will be presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth this year, to express our joy on the occasion of her diamond jubilee. 

Sunday 1 July was also Canada Day. Now, Sandra is a (persuasive) Canadian, and she encouraged a "pop-up" choir to lead a rousing version of the Canadian National Anthem, O Canada. There are a number of Canadian families in All Saints.

The Canadian flag flies permanently in All Saints near the memorial to the 48th Highlanders of Canada, who were instrumental in the liberation of Italy in 1943. The regiment's Colonel-in-Chief is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Two Deacons Ordained in Rome

"You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God". Following these words of the ordination liturgy, Mary Styles and Dana English, who were about to be ordained as deacons, prostrated themselves for silent prayer, followed by the ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and the solemn litany sung by the deacon of the mass, the Revd Frances Hiller.

Laying on the marble floor of All Saints Church was probably the coolest place in the service. It was 39 degrees Celsius in Rome for the ordination on Sunday 1 July, a steamy day, even by Roman standards. But the heat was felt to be a sign of the Spirit which moved through the packed Church.

Deacons Mary Styles (left) and Dana English (right)
Members of the neighbouring (American) Episcopal Church of St Paul's attended, along with their priest, the Revd Austin Rios. Mother Teodora Tosatti and members of the Old Catholic Community were present along with visiting clergy from the Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches. 

The daughter congregation of St Mary at the Holy Cross, Macerata, a flourishing Nigerian community served from All Saints, Rome, were in attendance, with their lay minister Shedrak Iheanyiogu. They supplemented the music of the fine All Saints choir with some traditional Nigerian songs.

The Revd Mary Styles and the Revd Dana English, the two new deacons, will serve as assistant curates in All Saints Rome, under the supervision of the Venerable Jonathan Boardman, the Chaplain and  Archdeacon of Italy and Malta. Mary also has responsibility for a new Fresh Expression of Church, "Footsteps", which meets in the suburbs of Rome. All Saints is a multicultural congregation. Two of the youngest members of the servers' guild are twin boys from Pakistan, shown below with their parents.

The preacher for the service was the Very Revd David Richardson, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See. A festive lunch followed the service in the crypt of All Saints.

Diocesan Advisor for Healing and Deliverance Ministry

The Revd Matthew Jones, the Chaplain of St Thomas Becket in Hamburg, has been appointed the Bishop’s Advisor for Healing & Deliverance Ministry. He succeeds the Revd Michael Selman in this position.

The ministry of healing is, of course, part of the routine pastoral work of the clergy, and resources can be found in Common Worship: Pastoral Services. The ministry of deliverance on the other hand, is a highly sensitive matter and should not be undertaken without the supervision of those such as Fr Matthew, who are specifically authorised by the bishop to give such supervision and advice. 

Clergy needing any advice in the areas of healing or deliverance ministry should be in touch with Fr Matthew:  

Monday, 2 July 2012

June 2012 Book Reviews (a couple of days late!)

A little late, I am afraid, but here is the June selection of reviews of 10 new theological works. Lots of  meaty summer reading. Among them, two commentaries on Old Testament books, a new resource for post-confirmation, studies on "Fresh Expressions", Church History, the latest "Tom Wright" (just how does he keep up his publishing pace?!) and much more.

Buona lettura!  

For the reviews press the read more button.