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.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

November 2012 Book Reviews

Here are nine engaging volumes to keep you busy this November. Among them is an important new work to help with the Christian's apologetic task in countering questions raised by the new athiesm. There are volumes of thoughtful comment on Western society, including one which will be the last book by Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. Two Biblical studies are included, one from a popular perspective and another quite dense and scholarly. Included is a reprint of a ground-breaking study on the Church and same-sex relations which will keep you up-to-date on an important perspective on this issue. For a change of pace there is an enlightening study of Da Vinci's Last Supper mural. If you get into this November reading list chances are you will not have time to do much else! The introductions below are again based on the excellent reviews by Dr Martin Davie, the Bishops' Theological Advisor.

As one of the books is a fascinating review of the contribution of Germany to our modern culture... Genießen Sie diese Bücher!

For the reviews, click the read more button.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Churchwardens training in Hamburg

Claire Clausen (Copenhagen), Hellen King-Scott (Heidelberg), Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd, Eric Jarman (Stuttgart) and John Thompson (Stuttgart)
Churchwarden is the most ancient elected office in Europe which still continues to this day. The main responsibilities of a Churchwarden for key aspects of parochial life have remained largely unchanged for over 7 centuries, but the details of how the office is exercised have of course changed as the laws and rules of the Church have evolved.  

Fourteen Churchwardens from our parishes in Germany, Latvia, Finland, Denmark and Sweden gathered for 24 hours for a training session on their duties on 26 and 27 October. Meeting at St Thomas Becket Church in Hamburg, the course was led by Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd and the Reverend Matthew Jones, Chaplain at Hamburg. The course covered the nuts and bolts of the duties of the churchwarden - terrier, logbook, externally-examined accounts, stipend review and more - and also explored managing conflict, the duty of care to the priest, and helping the Church Council to be effective and mission-focused.

Archdeacon Jonathan said "It was a great opportunity to get to know each other, and form the start of a supportive network across this archdeaconry.  Churchwardens have a pivotal and vital role in our Diocese, and I thank God for their ministry."

Morning Prayer and Compline were led by the Revd Matthew Jones, who was previously an archdeacon in the Diocese of Brisbane, Australia.

St Thomas Becket Hamburg is celebrating its 400th Anniversary this year.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy damages the Haitian parish supported by the Diocese in Europe

Pupils at ND de l'Annonciation School
A quick update for people and churches of the diocese in Europe which have given support towards the rebuilding of the (Episcopal or Anglican) parish school of Notre Dame de l’Annonciation in Port-au-Prince Haiti. 

As readers will know Hurricane Sandy has hit Jamaica and then moved across Cuba and Haiti yesterday. 10,000 Haitians have been displaced by the storm and so far 9 persons have been found dead in that country. Late last night (25 October) I received a text message from Père Jean Fils Chéry, the vicar of the parish which we supported with funds raised from a diocesan appeal. He said,
“Here we’re under storm Sandy, we lost or worship space, the roof of our preschool has been destroyed and a tree falls and destroys the toilet of the school. May lost, many damages. My family is safe. Keep us in prayers”.
Please pray for our sisters and brothers affected by yet another natural disaster.

God of goodness and love, in whom we can trust in every hour of need: have mercy on all who are faced with fear and distress. We ask that help may be given to them speedily, and that this emergency may be turned into an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of love and service which bind people together, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Fr Jean Fills and the Director of the school.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A pocket sized resource for pastoral ministry

In the past 12 years the Church of England's liturgical life has been greatly enriched with the publication of prayers, services and rites which are authorised or commended as alternatives or supplements to the Book of Common Prayer. I refer, of course, to the resources known as Common Worship. 

What we have now is an embarras de richesses, which can occupy 7 or 8 volumes on our bookshelves! For clergy and lay ministers there is is not generally time to extract all you might need from these volumes as you head out the door to respond to an emergency or urgent need, say a sudden illness, injury or death. And certainly one does not want to be carrying two or more heavy volumes as you go!

Church House Publishing has now addressed this situation with the compilation of a slim, light-weight volume, which contains the essentials that will be required in such pastoral circumstances. It is called Common Worship: A Pastoral Ministry Companion. It is durable enough (with two ribbon markers) and portable enough to be always with you as a vade mecum in the glove compartment of the car, in a bag, briefcase or coat-pocket.

Common Worship: A Pastoral Ministry Companion includes liturgies, prayers and readings for:

  • emergency baptism
  • Prayers for the sick, including Laying on of Hands and Anointing  
  • Holy Communion at home or in hospital, including distribution of Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament
  • Confession and reconciliation
  • Prayers with the dying and at the time of a death 
  • Prayers for use at home before and after a funeral 
Passages of scripture and the psalms are included, in both modern and traditional language, eliminating the need also to carry a bible with you.

I highly recommend this book to our clergy (and to those of our Readers who find themselves engaged in emergency pastoral response). It is available from Church House Publishing at an introductory price of £16. It is also available as a Kindle eBook from Amazon.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ministry Team Administrator: Farewell to Margaret, welcome to Debbie

Margaret Jeffery
Margaret Jeffery has served as the Administrator for the Diocesan Ministry Team for several years. She is well known to our postulants, ordinands, curates and readers in training for she has been a key point of contact and support for those who are in any stage of discernment, selection or training for ordained or lay ministry. Her duties include giving administrative support to the Director of Training and the Director of Ordinands, and to me in my role as chairman of the Ministry Team of the Diocese.

In November Margaret will be retiring and is presently handing over responsibilities to Debbie Cunningham who has been appointed as her successor. At the Vocations Seminar held in Woking from 9 - 11 October, Margaret and Debbie were both able to be present, which gave an ideal opportunity for some practical hand-over experience. It was a chance for us to thank Margaret for her outstanding support over the years. We are delighted that she has every intention of keeping close links with the Diocese in retirement.

We welcome Debbie to this post and look forward to the gifts and experience she brings. Her last position was as PA to the Chief of Staff at Lambeth Palace.

Debbie Cunningham

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

An Anniversary

17 October is the feast of St Ignatius of Antioch. He was the second bishop of that city in Syria and was martyred in Rome in the year 107, torn apart by two lions. On his journey to Rome he wrote seven letters to various churches, in which he defended the true teaching handed down by the Apostles, so that the brothers and sisters in the early Christian communities, (and we are their spiritual descendants) would keep from being led astray by false doctrine.  

St Ignatius of Antioch and his teaching mean much to me. On this day, 10 years ago in Southwark Cathedral, I was consecrated a bishop. 

Feed us, O Lord, with the living bread and make us drink deep of the cup of salvation that, following the teaching of your bishop Ignatius and rejoicing in the faith with which he embraced a martyr's death, we may be nourished for that eternal life for which he longed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, 15 October 2012

In the stall of Edith Cavell: the Revd Canon Barbara Moss

We took advantage of the Revd Barbara Moss being present at the Diocesan Vocations Seminar last week to have her formally collated as a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese. This took place at the opening eucharist, at which Bishop Geoffrey presided, in the chapel of St Columba's Conference Centre in Woking. Canon Moss, the chaplain of St Andrew's Gothenburg, Sweden, will later be seated in the stall of  Edith Cavell in the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels. She will be the first occupant of this new stall.

Edith Cavell was a nurse serving in Belgium during World War I, and was a member of Holy Trinity, Brussels. She was shot by a German firing squad on 12 October 1915 following her arrest and court-martial for helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from the German occupation. On the night before her execution, the chaplain of Holy Trinity, the Revd Stirling Gahan, gave her Holy Communion. She told Fr Gahan that night, "Patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone". 

The Revd Canon Barbara Moss
In addition to her parochial work in Gothenburg (and her close collaboration with Swedish Church colleagues in University Chaplaincy), Canon Moss is Area Dean of the Nordic Baltic Deanery and an Assistant Director of Ordinands. She is also an active member of the Communications Committee of the diocese.

Most people in the diocese benefit directly from Barbara's work as she is the one who compiles and edits the Diocesan Prayer Diary which enables each church and community in the diocese to be remembered in prayer once a year. Barbara also incorporates into the Prayer Diary the World Council of Churches prayer cycle as well as the cycles of the Anglican Communion and of the  Porvoo Communion of Churches, making this a comprehensive resource for our intercessions.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Postulants from Grand Canary to Moscow explore vocation to the sacred ministry

Fr William Gulliford gives guidance to the postulants for Holy Orders
The Diocesan Vocations Seminar was held in St Columba's House in Woking from 9 - 11 October. This is the annual event where postulants for Holy Orders gather for some intense days of discernment led by the Director of Ordinands, the Revd William Gulliford. Fr William is assisted by the bishops, the Director of Training, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, and some assistant Directors of Ordinands. This year those assistant Directors of Ordinands were the Revd Canon Hugh Broad from Costa Cálida, Spain, and the Revd Canon Barbara Moss from Gothenburg, Sweden. This year's postulants were men and women from Spain (mainland and Canaries), Russia, France and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The days at the Seminar are full, with interviews for each postulant which focus on each of the nine criteria for selection for Holy Orders in the Church of England. There are also group exercises and input from former ordinands and theological educators about the process and journey towards ordination. All this is under-girded with the daily office and eucharist.

At the end of the Vocations Seminar the Diocesan Ministry Team makes recommendations about the next stage for each postulant, which may include being sent on to a national Bishops' Advisory Panel, which is where the final recommendation in terms of entering training for ordained ministry is made.

As Fr Hugh Broad is retiring at Easter this was likely the last Vocations Seminar he will be helping with. We will miss his years of experience in ministry and his wise and insightful skills of discernment and direction. He is seen below chatting to one of our postulants from Madrid.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Reader Angela Mirani gives spiritual leadership in St John the Baptist Varese

Candidates celebrate their confirmation day in Varese  
There are a couple of congregations in the diocese which, not having a resident priest, are given spiritual and liturgical leadership by a licensed Reader. One such congregation is St John the Baptist, Varese, in the Italian  lake district, close to the border with Switzerland. There Mrs Angela Mirani leads regular services of the word, preaches, teaches, provides pastoral care, and ensures at least monthly eucharists by inviting neighbouring priests from Milan and across the border in Lugano.

Dedicated lay (and volunteer!) ministry such Angela's is a vital part of the life of our Diocese in Europe and bears much fruit. Evidence of this can be seen in celebrations such as was held on 6 October when several candidates for confirmation which Angela  had prepared received that sacrament, joined by another parishioner who, having been already confirmed, was received into the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Angela is pictured below, vested with her blue Reader's scarf, as she oversees one of her parishioners renewing her baptismal promises just prior to receiving the Apostolic Rite of Confirmation.

Candidates for Confirmation from the parish of All Saints in Milan, together with their priest, the Revd John Payne, journeyed North to join the service in Varese. It was a festive celebration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, given to the candidates for their work as Christians in the world. The Revd Andrew Horlock, the priest-in-charge of St Edward the Confessor, Lugano, joined us for the celebration as well as the Revd Patrick Coleman, a former priest in Varese, now in Wales, who played the organ for the service.

St John the Baptist, Varese, has an attractive website here.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Jack Noonan admitted as a Reader

Left to Right: Jack Noonan, Bishop Geoffrey, Fr Yates, Archdeacon Curran. (Photo: Ricky Yates)
On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, Jack Noonan was admitted as a reader in the Church of England and licensed to serve in St Clement's Prague. The service was during the synod of the Archdeaconry of the East, which was held in Athens. Archdeacon Patrick Curran presided at the service, at which Bishop Geoffrey licensed Jack, who will serve in St Clement's under the direction of the chaplain, the Revd Ricky Yates.

Like all readers in the Diocese, Jack was interviewed and selected for this ministry and then undertook a course of study consisting of 6 modules, delivered through St John's College, Nottingham. The course of study, which includes practical training in liturgics and preaching, normally lasts from 2 to 3 years. 

At the Sunday Eucharist in St Paul's Athens, which concluded the Archdeaconry Synod, members of the congregation were able to greet Jack, and wish him well in his Reader ministry. 

For information on the life of St Clement's Prague where Jack will serve, visit the parish website here.

Friday, 5 October 2012

New Disciples, Mission Engagement, Ecumenism in Midi-Pyrénées & Aude

Confirmations are a regular part of the annual cycle of church life in the Anglican parish of Midi-Pyrénées and Aude in the South-West of France. It was a joy, once again, to celebrate the commitment taken by these new disciples of Jesus Christ, in the midst of their families, friends and fellow parishioners at a festive service in Toulouse on 16 September. 

The parish is deeply committed to ecumenical life, even providing key leadership for music and cultural events in the community. One such event coincided with my parish visit when over 400 people (including the Archbishop of Toulouse) attended a musical evening in a city church which was organised in large part by musicians from the Anglican church. It was entitled L'Orgue en Folie and featured organ, voices and even lasers! Funds raised at the event were given towards the restoration of a historic organ in that RC parish church. 

In addition, this active chaplaincy, in partnership with our Roman Catholic hosts, is giving support to refugees. At this time accommodation and special care is being to asylum seekers who have fled persecution in their native Bangladesh - a direct engagement in outreach and service. The Church Council is also exploring a partnership within the diocese, and is looking to build links with St Mary's congregation in Belgrade, Serbia. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Developing Brussels & Leuven as theological centres in the Diocese

Canon Dr Jack McDonald and Canon Ulla Monberg at the Chapel of the Resurrection
A day of consultation was held in Brussels last week involving the Director of Training, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Revd Canon Dr Jack McDonald, Canon Theologian at the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Brussels and priest-in-charge of Saints Mary and Martha, Leuven, the Revd Canon Dr Robert Innes, the Chancellor of the Pro-Cathedral and myself. 

We explored the potential for training offered by theological faculties in Leuven, and the possibility of working with Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox partners in developing a lay theological centre for reflection, dialogue and formation, based at the Chapelle de la Resurrection which is situated at the heart of the EU institutions in Brussels. 

The Chapel of the Resurrection is also known as the Chapel for Europe. It is a place for all Christians working in the European Institutions and seeks to be a place of ecumenical dialogue, reflection, prayer and interaction. Canons McDonald and Innes have been putting funding in place to support an Outreach Worker, who will operate from the Chapelle and build contacts among the more than 20,000 EU civil servants in the Belgian capital.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Revd Anne Jenkins appointed to the Anglican parish of Costa Brava

One of our newer congregations in the diocese has just received their first resident priest. The Revd Anne Jenkins has been appointed Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of Stephen, Madremanya, Costa Brava, Spain. She formally began her ministry on 29 September, when she was licensed by the Area Dean, the Revd Canon Hugh Broad. Anne was previously Vicar of St. Margaret and All Hallows, Leeds, in the diocese of Ripon and Leeds.

St Stephen's began its life about 10 years ago, and has been lay-led and directed over these years, under the steady guidance of Reader John Copestake. The sacraments have been provided during this time by visiting clergy. About 5 years ago, the congregation embarked on a plan to work towards appointing their first resident priest, and through their faithful planning and stewardship, that day has arrived. The people of St Stephen's are to be congratulated for their vision and joint effort. 

At present services are held in an ancient Church in the village of Madremanya. There are plans to look at expanding services in other parts of the Costa Brava. The church is a good mix of people of all ages, as can be seen from the photo below. The parish website is here.

Anne has a wide experience in ministry, which even includes serving in Northern Ghana. We welcome her to this diocese.  It should be noted that this is the first incumbency held by a woman in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar. We welcome Anne to this diocese in Europe.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Jeanne French retires

After more than 18 years of service to the Diocese in Europe, Mrs Jeanne French, the Assistant Diocesan Secretary, retired last week.

Jeanne was known to virtually all the clergy of the diocese, as well as to the churchwardens and PCC secretaries, as she has been the key link in the diocesan office for matters related to vacancies, appointments and locum ministry. Our churches and congregations have come to rely on her wisdom and her vast knowledge of our diocese and the challenges of ministry. She has been an invaluable source of advice to everyone from bishops to curates. We wish Jeanne every blessing in retirement.

Monday, 1 October 2012

October 2012 Book Reviews

Autumn is fully upon us in the northern hemisphere, and longer nights mean more time for reflective reading. Here are reviews of 7 new volumes which may be of interest. The range is wide: from Black Liberation Theology to Old Testament Study. There is a fascinating work from Archbishop Rowan Williams on the work of CS Lewis. (Where does the Archbishop find time to write!) For those in training for ministry or who are themselves training clergy and lay ministers, there is an important new manual. And there is an important volume on pastoral responses to homosexuality from a distinctly Evangelical perspective. Inclusion on this monthly list does not mean I endorse all the views contained in any of these books, by the way. As always I am grateful to Dr Martin Davie, the Bishops' Theological Advisor, for the basis of these reviews.

Genießen Sie diese Bücher!

For the reviews, click the read more button.