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, 30 November 2012

Advent Appeal 2012

The Diocesan Advent Appeal 2012 is to support two areas within our diocese helping refugees. 

Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Turkey: Syrian refugees
This tragedy is a result of the civil war and violence in Syria. Caritas Turkey and the Jesuit Refugee Service are both helping support the refugees with food coupons, hygiene items, medical assistance, blankets and other items to survive the winter. The Syrian refugees out of the camps are not able to enter the state's assistance system and most of the time are left on their own. As they are foreigners with no work permit they have a difficulty to make their own living. Their psychological trauma increases with a situation of uncertainty about official procedures. It is important for them to feel the support from international community as much as possible in these days of displacement due to the violence in their homeland. This project was recommended by the Church of the Resurrection, Istanbul, our Turkish-speaking congregation, which has close connections with the work of Caritas and the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Sudanese Refugees in Finland
Finland: White Nile Congregation
This growing community of Anglicans who are refugees from Sudan continue to need our support. They are running an Education Project which is training students in English language skills. In this way, key leaders are being equipped for eventual return to their homeland, the new country of South Sudan, where English is now the national language, replacing the Juba Arabic which was the previous lingua franca. The Education Project is supervised by the Revd Amos Manga, the priest who serves the White Nile Congregation within the Anglican Church of Finland.

Please consider contributing to the Advent Appeal and supporting these projects with refugees within our Diocese in Europe. Funds can be sent to the Diocesan Office. Contact the Diocesan Finance Officer, Mr Nick Wraight, for further information:

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The first 10 years

Even while emotions and reactions were very raw following the failure of the women bishops' measure in General Synod, our own members of General Synod were able to enjoy a more relaxed and joyful moment in the Diocesan Office on 21 November when we celebrated Deacon Frances Hiller's 10th anniversary as my chaplain.

In the photo above, the General Synod members the Revd Canon Dr Gary Wilton and the Revd Canon Debbie Flach congratulate Frances (on the right, purple socks!) for managing to tolerate working for me for a decade.

Frances is not only a vital support for my ministry, but is a key contact, friend and advisor to so many of our clergy, readers and lay officials across the diocese.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Breaking Open the Word of God

The Revd Mary Styles (All Saints Rome) and the Revd Maurice Ryan (St Mary's Didim)

“Breaking Open the Word of God – Preaching in Today’s Church” was the title of a recent residential session of our diocesan post-ordination training programme (or IME 4-7 as is the official title) for clergy recently ordained and  recently received into the communion of the Church of England. This particular session was held from 16 - 19 November at George Bell House in Chichester and focussed on the art of preaching and provided an opportunity to deepen knowledge of the principles of homiletics and to develop further preaching skills. 

In the course of the four days the programme dealt with different aspects of preaching. I gave a lecture on the principles of Anglican homiletics today, entitled  “Godly, wholesome and necessary for these times". Deacon Frances Hiller led a session on  “Preaching and Personality”. Canon William Gulliford led the curates in an  exploration of  “Rhetoric – The History of Public Speaking”. There were also sessions on the proper use of breath, movement and voice in the form of “Practical Exercises” taught by actors Jules Melvin and Patricia Routledge. The participants had an opportunity to work in pairs preparing and delivering sermons. 

The curates also experienced the riches of  Cathedral worship through participating in the daily offices at Chichester Cathedral.

These semi-annual residential sessions of Post Ordination Training also give our newly ordained an opportunity to share their early experiences of ministry and to have individual meetings with the Director of Training, Canon Ulla Monberg, to discuss their ongoing formation and ministry in the churches where they serve.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A double celebration in Costa Blanca

On Thursday, 22 November, in the Ermita Corazón de Maria in Dénia, the Anglican Parish of The Holy Spirit, Costa Blanca, had a joyful double celebration: The Revd John Richardson was licensed as Chaplain-Team Vicar, and the Senior Chaplain, the Revd Peter Edwards was collated as a Canon of the diocese.
Fr Richardson (left) arrives in the diocese from the Parish of the Risen Lord in Preston, Lancashire. Canon Edwards (right) will have the stall of St James in Holy Trinity Cathedral in Gibraltar.
The Area Dean, the Revd Hugh Broad (centre), presided at the liturgy, with over 80 people In attendance, including a number of ecumenical guests.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Letter to the women clergy of the Diocese in Europe

Following on the failure of the proposed legislation to enable the consecration of women as bishops to gain necessary approval in the final consideration vote in the General Synod, Bishop Geoffrey and I have sent the following letter to the women clergy of our diocese: 

21 November 2012

To the women clergy of the Diocese in Europe


Dear Sisters

As a result of the vote in the General Synod yesterday,
there is deep sadness and disappointment felt by so many in our Church, and
bewilderment in the world we are called to serve. For both of us, yesterday’s
pattern of voting raises questions about the processes of the General Synod in
considering this kind of legislation. We know from the results of the diocesan
synods across the Church, including our own, that the Church of England does
want women bishops. The size of the majority which voted in favour of the
legislation at the General Synod yesterday confirmed this. However, as we know,
the hurdle to attain 2/3 of the votes in each house of the Synod is a high one,
and rightly so, when we need to decide on important matters which touch upon
the unity of the Church. In the house of laity there were 6 votes short of this

We have to remember that what was defeated yesterday was a
particular and quite complex piece of legislation. A great deal of work has
gone into this and much of that will not be wasted when, in due course, a new Measure
comes before the Synod to enable the consecration of women to the episcopate
and to make proper provision for those with theological reservations about this.

In the face of the widely shared disappointment resulting
from the Synod vote, we both want personally to affirm and uphold the valued
place that women priests and deacons have in this diocese. As an international
part of the Church of England, very much the Anglican Communion in miniature,
we in the Diocese in Europe are already aware of the blessings that women in
all three sacred orders of ministry bring to Churches of the Anglican Communion
in the Americas, the Pacific and Africa. Moreover, we observe very closely the
fruitfulness of the ministry of women bishops in our sister Churches of the
Porvoo Communion in Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden, even while some
other partner Churches do not accept this development.

Let us pray earnestly for a healing of our strains and
divisions and that God will help us to find a way through these difficulties,
with wisdom and with generosity towards each other.

May God also grant us strength to continue to witness
with integrity to the Gospel of love, justice and reconciliation.

Your brothers in Christ

 +Geoffrey                                                                 +David

 Bishop Geoffrey                                                         Bishop

Thursday, 15 November 2012

St Laurence's Parish, Lanzarote

There are four congregations in the Anglican parish of St Laurence Lanzarote. Earlier this year the parishioners welcomed their new priest-in-charge, the Revd Tom Barnfather. Already the fruit of Fr Tom's ministry is being experienced as confirmations were celebrated on Sunday 11 November.

A significant part of the confirmation rite is when the candidates gather at the baptismal font to renew, along with the members of the congregation, their vows of baptism. The candidates then cross themselves with the baptismal water to remind themselves of that moment they were joined to Christ in baptism. The Reader in Lanzarote, David Dowdell (blue scarf) assists me at the font in the Church of Our Lady of Carmen, in Puerto del Carmen, one of the local Roman Catholic Churches in Lanzarote which we use for our services.

At the Sunday morning service, I also admitted Fr Tom Barnfather as a member of the Mothers' Union (yes, men can join!) and welcomed his wife Rosie who transferred her membership from the branch of St Saviour's Westgate-on-Sea in Canterbury Diocese. St Laurence's parish in Lanzarote was one of the first in our diocese to begin an active Mothers' Union branch.
There is an attractive website of St Laurence's Lanzarote here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Anglican Parish in Costa Brava receives encouragement from Bishop of Girona

Bishop David, Bishop Francesc, the Revd Anne Jenkins, Mr John Copestake

The Diocese of Girona in which our new Anglican Parish of Costa Brava is situated takes its ecumenical vocation most seriously. The Bishop of Girona, Mons. Francesc Pardo i Artigas, has an active ecumenical officer, Father Joan Busquets, who states clearly that the divisions among Christians must be overcome as they are 1) contrary to the will of the Lord, 2) a scandal to the world, and 3) cause of difficulty in our work of evangelization in these secular times.

In this ecumenical spirit, on 27 October Bishop Francesc hosted a fruitful meeting with our new priest-in-charge of Costa Brava, the Revd Anne Jenkins, the parish Reader Mr John Copestake, Fr Joan and myself,  at his Episcopal Residence. John has built very fruitful ecumenical inks in Costa Brava and the Bishop was keen to meet our priest Anne who is the first resident Anglican priest in the area.

It was a very warm and engaging meeting. Bishop Francesc drew our attention to the fact that Catalunya is the most secular region of Spain, and Girona is the most secular area in Catalunya. “We need to support each other in our work and witness,” he said.

At present we have one congregation within the Anglican parish which uses the ancient Church of St Stephen in the village of Madremanya. The visit with Bishop Francesc gave me a chance to thank him for the continued use of the Church. He turned to Anne and said we can count on the hospitality of the Roman Catholic diocese as our work grows and extends in Costa Brava. 

St Stephen's Church in Madremanya

Friday, 9 November 2012

Bishop Justin Welby to be 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Today Downing Street announced formally what the press had already been proclaiming for a couple of days, that the Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Revd Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

I am very pleased to hear of this appointment. It is excellent news for this Diocese in Europe as Bishop Justin already knows us rather well. Before his ordination he lived and worked in Paris and was an active member of the Council of St Michael's Church there. He retains a keen interest in French culture and life.

Archbishop Elect Justin Welby at Gibraltar Synod 2011
More recently, in 2011 while he was still Dean of Liverpool, he was a keynote speaker at the Synod of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar and led reflections on "Growing Together: Conflict and Growth" which were very well received, and showed a deep wisdom in matters to do with congregational life and conflict in communities. Many delegates to the synod spoke to me of how warmly he engaged with them during the meetings. 

We pray for Bishop Justin, his wife Caroline, and their children, as they make preparations to move from Durham to Lambeth, and especially for Bishop Justin as he takes up the enormous responsibilities of his new office in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion. 

Eternal Father  look with love upon your people. Guide Bishop Justin who has been called to the office and ministry of Archbishop of Canterbury, and all the shepherd you have chosen to lead us.  Give them the grace and guidance of your Spirit so that they may bring us to you in the footsteps of Jesus our Lord. Amen.  

For  the official press release, click read more

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Canon Ulla Monberg at ACC-15

The 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) has been in session in Auckland New Zealand from 27 October until 7 November. Each member Province/Church of the Communion has from 1 to 3 members on the ACC, depending on the population of the Church. In addition to the 3 members representing the Church of England, the Diocese in Europe has, for the first time, a co-opted member to represent the Europe region. That member is the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, our Director of Training.

The Anglican Communion Office points out that Anglicans are present in over 165 countries of the world. But 45 of those countries are in our own Diocese in Europe, where our over 300 congregations serve Anglicans and other Christians from Iceland to Russia. So it is very good news for the Diocese that we have our own representation, thus giving a profile to our life and ministry in this international instrument of the Anglican Communion.

Canon Monberg has been busy at the meeting, which has a packed agenda dealing with the business of the Communion at the international level, including matters pertaining to mission, theological education, refugees, youth, ecumenical relations and much more. Ulla was the convenor of a group which dealt with the report and recommendations related to Anglican-Old Catholic relations.

It is a time for networking as well, and for sharing experiences and ideas related to the mission and life of the Church, and of course expressing thanks to Archbishop Rowan, on his last ACC as President.

More information on ACC-15 can be found on the Anglican Communion website here.

Photos: ACC

Monday, 5 November 2012

Professor Robin Gill installed as Canon Theologian

On Sunday 4 November the Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Dr John Paddock installed the Reverend Canon Professor Robin Gill as Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, in the Stall of John Keble in Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Canon Gill (photo above, signing the declaration to accompany his installation) was the Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology at the University of Kent for 20 years. In 2011 he assumed the position of Professor of Applied Theology at the University. He has served on advisory groups on both theology and medical ethics for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I first had the privilege of meeting Canon Gill when he was theological consultant to the bishops at the Lambeth Conference 1998. I was on the staff of the Anglican Communion at that time.

There are now two Canon Theologians of the Diocese. Canon Gill joins the Revd Canon Dr Jack McDonald, the Priest-in-Charge of Saints Mary and Martha, Leuven, Belgium.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

First Confirmation Service in St Stephen's Madremanya

Last week I presided at the first confirmation service in St Stephen's Madremanya, the centre of the Costa Brava Anglican parish. This relatively new parish in the diocese also hosted some candidates from St George's Barcelona. who came with their priest, the Revd Andrew Tweedy. The priest-in-charge of Costa Brava, the Revd Anne Jenkins, was only licensed a month ago, and is hoping for a "normal" Sunday soon!

Among the candidates from Barcelona was Lydia Lau whose parents, the Revd Drs Timothy and Theresa Lau, are both priests from the Diocese of Melbourne Australia, and both teachers at the International Chinese Biblical Seminary in Europe, which is located in Barcelona. Dr Timothy Lau is in fact the Principal of the Seminary. Many of the Chinese Christian community came to support Lydia. 

Its hard to get more international than that: an Australian priest from a Chinese seminary at a Church of England confirmation service in an ancient parish Church in a village in Catalunya! 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Anglican priest in Riga headed up team which produced new Latvian Bible

The Revd Dr Juris Calitis (above left), our priest at St Saviour's Anglican Church, Riga, has completed a long, special and historic task. As a theologian at the University of Latvia he coordinated an academic team of 22 theologians and translators over the last 17 years to prepare a new translation of The Holy Bible in the Latvian language. Working from the original Greek and Aramaic, the scholars have produced the first such translation in modern Latvian.  The last Latvian Bible was translated over 300 years ago. The new translation was launched at an ecumenical service on 13 October at Riga Cathedral, and all 3000 copies sold on the first day of publication.

Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd (above right) was at St Saviour's Church Riga last month to congratulate Dr Calitis on behalf of The Diocese. The Archdeacon said, "This is an incredible task and Dr Calitis and his colleagues are to be warmly congratulated on such a major achievement. The new Bible in modern Latvian will have a major impact on the life of the Church of all denominations across Latvia, and indeed, for Latvians across the world."
There are 35,000 members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Latvia. The Latvian Lutheran Church participated in the theological discussions which led to the Porvoo Agreement but has not yet signed the common declaration. There are a further 25,000 members of the Latvian Church Abroad (which has observer status within The Porvoo Communion). The Latvian Church Abroad has 70 priests and 10 deacons  - half of which are women.

More news about this historic event can be found at the Latvian Bible Society website here.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Parish life continues to thrive in Menorca, thanks to locum priest Michael Higgins

When a church or congregation in the Diocese in Europe is without a resident priest at the time of a vacancy, a locum priest is appointed to ensure the continuity of worship, the availability of the sacraments and the pastoral care of all who need it. Scores of clergy, most resident in the UK, but some in other countries, have Permission to Officiate in order to provide such essential ministry. Such Permission to Officiate is only granted after a priest has completed the extensive safeguarding procedures required by the Church of England and after I have received the necessary references and assurances that they are in good standing.

The length of time a locum priest may serve during a vacancy is negotiable but very often a period of at least 2 months is desirable  We are very grateful for the dedication of these locum priests who often respond to requests at very short notice and who travel sometimes thousands of miles to take up their assignments.  

Their responsibility is to maintain the usual pattern of services, provide routine pastoral care, attend to the round of hospital and sick visits and preside at any weddings or funerals that occur in the parish during their time, observing the local norms, customs and laws, as advised by the archdeacon. A vacancy in a parish can be an anxious time for parishioners so it is a role that calls for experienced and loving pastors with excellent diplomatic, listening, and sometimes conflict-resolution skills! 

Recently I visited the parish of Santa Margarita in Menorca. The parish is in vacancy but thanks to excellent work of the locum priest, the Very Revd Michael Higgins (above), the life of the community continues to thrive, as can be seen by the preparations for the parish Harvest Festival service and festive lunch following! 

More information on locum ministry in the Diocese in Europe can be found here.

Church growth and development in St Pargoire, France

New congregations continue to be organised and welcomed into the diocese in Europe. An example is the congregation which worships in St Pargoire in the Departement of Hérault, in the south of France.

Mr Adrian Mumford, the Diocesan Secretary, and I visited this congregation recently, to encourage them in the next steps towards congregational status in the Diocese. I presided at a Eucharist which was attended by about 50 people, which was followed by a time of discussion and then a splendid supper provided by parishioners, including some excellent wine from the local wine producer!

The emerging congregation’s care has been under the oversight of the Revd Jenny Deverill, priest-in-charge of St Michael’s in the Gard. Although St Michael’s is the nearest congregation, it is about 2 hours journey away. Jenny attended the service which gave parishioners a chance to express their very warm appreciation to her for her pastoral oversight. Two priests with Permission to Officiate, the Revd Roger Smith and the Revd Richard Acworth have been providing services for the congregation to date.

Revd Roger Smith and Revd Richard Acworth
Already there are about 45 people on the electoral roll and a Constitution is in the final stages of drafting. An inaugural Annual General Meeting for the parish will be held in January, with elections of a Church Council, Churchwardens, and 2 representatives to the Archdeaconry Synod. The new Church Council will then set about the formal task of appointing their own Priest-in-Charge (there is a candidate already in the frame) who can be licensed early next year.

The congregation has already forged excellent relations with the Eglise Reformée (whose Church we use in St Pargoire), and with the Roman Catholic Church. Outreach work is already begun, supporting the efforts of a local Roman Catholic charity, Restos du Coeur.

The congregation is reflecting on a name for the parish – bearing in mind that the ministry and church life may grow beyond the borders of the small town of St Pargoire in the future.

The church's website is here