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, 30 September 2012

Jane Nyeche from St Paul's Athens: a steward at the WCC Central Committee

Photo credit: WCC
Jane Nyeche, a young adult member of St Paul's in Athens, Greece, recently served as a steward for a World Council of Churches Central Committee meeting, held at the Orthodox Academy, Kolympari, Crete, from 27 August to 6 September. The theme of the meeting was that which will be used at next year's General Assembly of the WCC, "Lord of love, lead us to justice and peace". It was an inspiring gathering, according to Jane, who was part of a team of 26 stewards, all between the ages of 18 and 30 who helped to staff the event. In the above photo, Jane is near the centre at the bottom of the picture.  

The participants were from many countries around the world, including both Koreas. As a steward, Jane attended all meetings and worked as a floor manager responsible for showing delegates to their seats and providing them with copies of documents and speeches. The team of stewards also participated in training seminars, Bible studies and social activities. Jane found the connection with other stewards fulfilling and enjoyable. 

The stewards were each given an ecumenical mission to take home and pursue. Jane selected climate justice, encompassing active work towards environmental care and protection. She plans to pass on these concerns, like re-cycling and reducing waste in the use of vital products and materials, to her Sunday School pupils and to the community around her. 

Jane was sad to bid farewell to so many new friends but she returned to Athens bursting with enthusiasm over her ‘wonderful experience’ and grateful to St Paul's for providing travelling expenses and a little pocket money. The cost of her attendance at the meeting itself was covered by the World Council of Churches. 

We in the diocese are very proud of Jane and are happy that one of our own young adults provide such key support to this global meeting of the WCC.

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Revd Canon Philip Mounstephen to lead CMS

We will shortly be saying farewell to one of our clergy, the Revd Canon Philip Mounstephen, who has been appointed to the post of CMS Executive Leader. Canon Mounstephen has served over five years as chaplain of St Michael's, Paris. He has brought passion and vision to this vibrant multicultural parish in the centre of the French capital. Under his leadership, St Michael's, where people from more than 40 nationalities worship, has deepened its commitment to the English-speaking as well as the French and Tamil-speaking communities. He has been an active member of Diocesan Synod, and has been a key consultant to one of our newer congregations, a the Turkish-speaking, Church of the Resurrection in Istanbul.

In speaking of his new appointment, Philip says, "I look forward to working in life-changing mission with partners the world over who share our abiding passion – that the world would know Jesus Christ.” This  is, indeed, an excellent move for Philip and very good news for CMS and for the wider, global Church, as this is a post that will have an impact across the Anglican Communion and ecumenically. It does leave enormous shoes to fill in St Michael's and in the diocese, however!

We wish Philip and his wife Ruth, every blessing as they return to England in October, and thank them for their service and many gifts they have shared in St Michael's and in the Diocese in Europe. We are enormously proud that one of our own priests has been chosen for this significant international mission post.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Midi-Pyrénées and Aude Parish spend a day looking at prayer and spirituality together

Over 20 persons from the Parish of Midi-Pyrénées and Aude gathered on Saturday 15 September in Toulouse for a day to reflect on aspects of prayer and spirituality. There were two major presentations, one on the purpose of prayer and the other about various ways of prayer and spirituality known to Anglicans in Europe. It was a rich occasion, with many deep questions being shared about what is at the heart of our faith - our relationship to God, and our journey with our Lord Jesus.

Midi-Pyrénées and Aude is a parish that covers territory twice the size of Wales, with 7 congregations served by the Revd Canon Andrew Hawken, and his assistant priests, the Revd June Hutchinson, and the Revd Canon Tony Jewiss, along with several licensed readers and retired assistant clergy. The website is here.

Friday, 21 September 2012

September 2012 Book Reviews

It's "back to school time" at Church, and for those who are eager to crack open some current theology, here are reviews of 10 new volumes which may be of interest. One author, Paul Bradshaw, is the Liturgical Advisor to this diocese, and may be well known by our clergy and readers.

Veel leesplezier!

For the reviews, click the read more button.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Two memorial services this week for former clergy

I experienced this as a sad week in the diocese as there were two memorial services here in London for two of our own clergy who have died this summer, the Revd Keith Gordon and the Revd Verna Veritie.

On Wednesday, in the Church of St Alban the Martyr, Holborn, friends and family gathered to remember Fr Keith. He was the priest-in-charge of St Francis Parish in Tenerife South and died of cancer on 4 June. The preacher at the service was the Revd Idris Jones, who had been a colleague of Fr Keith's on the neighbouring island of Lanzarote.

On Monday in St Matthew's, Westminster, the Ministry Team of the Diocese held a requiem for Deacon Verna. She was newly ordained and was in the early weeks of her work as assistant curate in St Paul's Athens when she died on 30 August. There is a further memorial for Verna to be held in Scotland on Sunday 30 September. Her ashes will be interred, following a requiem, at St George's Lisbon where she served as a reader, on Saturday 13 October.

Have mercy, O Lord, upon the souls of Keith and Verna. Given them eternal rest, let light perpetual shine upon them, and may they rest in peace; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Women Bishops

On Wednesday of this week, the House of Bishops, by an overwhelming majority, agreed the text of the clause in the legislation on women bishops which they were asked to reconsider by the General Synod in July. The text will now be presented for final approval by the General Synod in November. The House of Bishops made clear its desire for the draft legislation to be passed into law. Speaking on behalf of the House at the conclusion of their meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said:
“Since women were first made priests in the Church of England in 1994, their ministry has hugely enriched both church and society. It has become increasingly clear to most of us that barring women from becoming bishops is an anomaly that should be removed, for the good of the Church’s mission and service. 
In July this year, the General Synod asked the House of Bishops to reconsider an alteration it had made to the proposed legislation on this subject. The Bishops have taken very seriously the anxieties expressed about the possible implications of their amendment and there has been widespread consultation since then. We are very grateful for all the points and suggestions offered by synod members and others. 
In light of this consultation, the Bishops have discussed the measure again and are now bringing forward a new text that expresses both our conviction of the need to see this legislation passed and our desire to honour the conscience and contribution of those in the Church of England whose reservations remain.

It is particularly significant and welcome that the new text emerged not from the House of Bishops itself but rather from a serving woman priest.
I hope all members of Synod will now reflect carefully on what the Bishops have decided and will continue to give thought and prayer to how they will vote in November. I am convinced that the time has come for the Church of England to be blessed by the ministry of women as bishops and it is my deep hope that the legislation will pass in November.”
For the legislation to pass in November, it will require a two thirds majority in each of the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity. Our delegates to General Synod are:

The Revd Canon Debbie Flach  
The Revd Canon Dr Gary Wilton
Canon Ann Turner
Mrs Madeleine Holmes

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Revd David Waller to Palma de Mallorca

On the Feast of John Bunyan, 30 August, 2012, in the Church of St Philip and St James, Palma de Mallorca, the Revd David Waller was licensed as chaplain of Mallorca by Archdeacon David Sutch of Gibraltar.

The Anglican Church in Mallorca consists of three congregations: Palma, and Cala d'Or are served by the chaplain, and Puerto Pollensa is served by the Assistant Priest, the Revd Canon Mel Smith. Together, ministry is offered to the over 50,000 British residents on the island, and the thousands of tourists who visit each year. The parish website is here.

Fr David Waller comes to us from Plymouth. We welcome him and his wife Julie to this diocese.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Revd Verna Veritie, RIP

I have some very sad news from the diocese at this time.

The Revd Verna Verity, the Assistant Curate in the Greater Athens Chaplaincy, died suddenly on Friday. Deacon Verna was ordained in July this year in Lisbon, where she had served as a Reader. She requested that in her ministry as a Distinctive Deacon she be sent to wherever she may be of use to the Diocese. It was with great joy that we found a position for her in Greece, working with the Chaplain of Greater Athens, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw. It is so sad that this promising ministry has been cut off so shortly after ordination, by her tragic death.

Before moving to Athens, Verna had an active and fruitful ministry, serving many years as a Reader in Lisbon. She was a valued colleague to the former Chaplain there, the Revd Canon Michael Bullock. She leaves behind many friends and former parishioners in Portugal who will be shocked to hear this news. Verna was also well known throughout the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar as she had served as the secretary to the Archeaconry Synod.

We commend Verna to the love and mercy of God, and pray that she may now enjoy the fullness of God's promises in His Kingdom.  We pray also for friends, family and any who were touched by her ministry in so many places, that they may be comforted in their sorrow.

Lord our God, you give and you take away. You blessed us through the life and ministry of Verna. Help us, in our mourning, to glimpse your hand at work, to bring blessing out of sorrow. May she now share in your promises of happiness, light and peace in the kingdom of your glory for ever.