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, 25 December 2013

From the Bishops' Staff and the Diocesan Staff ....

The staff from the offices in London and Worth gathered last week for their annual Christmas lunch. We were able to raise a toast to the people and friends of the Diocese in Europe, which we are privileged to serve.

From all of us, we wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas! 
Or in some of the languages of our diocese... 

Arabic                    عيد ميلاد مجيد
Armenian               Շնորհավոր Ամանոր և Սուրբ Ծնունդ
Bulgarian                Честита Коледа
Castilian                 Feliz Navidad
Catalan                   Bon Nadal
Czech                     Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce
Danish                    Glædelig Jul
Dutch                     Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Estonian                  Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
Finnish                    Hyvää Joulua
French                    Joyeux Noël
German                  Frohe Weihnachten
Greek                     Καλά Χριστούγεννα
Hungarian               Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket
Icelandic                 Gleðileg jól
Italian                     Buon Natale
Latvian                   Priecïgus Ziemassvºtkus
Lithuanian               Linksmų Kalėdų
Luxembourgish       Schéi Krëschtdeeg
Maltese                   Il-Milied it-Tajjeb
Norwegian              God Jul
Polish                     Wesołych Świąt
Portuguese              Feliz Natal
Romanian               Crặciun Fericit
Russian                   С Рождеством Христовым
Serbian                   Христос се роди
Slovenian               Vesel Božič
Swedish                  God Jul
Turkish                   Mutlu Noeller
Ukrainian               Веселого Різдва

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

For Syria and South Sudan

At the Midnight Mass around the world tonight the story of the birth of Jesus will be proclaimed in the words from the second chapter of the Gospel according to St Luke. We may stop to pause at verse 2 which refers to the census that Emperor Augustus decreed, that brought the Holy Family to Bethlehem:
"This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria". 
We in the Diocese in Europe remember that Syria borders with our diocese and lift up a special prayer for all caught up in the conflict there.

We also remember South Sudan which seems to be entering yet another period of civil strife. Many of the faithful of our diocese, members of the White Nile congregations in Finland, come from that country. We join our prayers with the White Nile congregation for all who are affected by the outbreak of violent conflict. Fr Amos Manga their priest is presently in the region and we pray for his own safety.

In the words of the Christmas from Common Worship Daily Prayer
Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness.  
O lover of justice and peace, ruler of all the ages: be born in us today.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Curates continue their training - and are joined by their training incumbents

Two training events were held recently for the assistant curates in the Diocese in Europe. 

The first was one of the semi-annual Post Ordination Training residentials. In the Church of England, training for priesthood and distinctive diaconate is a 7 year process. Normally 3 of these 7 years is before ordination. After ordination the compulsory training continues; this is called IME 4 - 7.

Sessions of IME 4 - 7 and a supervised curacy are also required for those clergy who seek to serve in the Church of England but who come from other Provinces of the Communion, if their own training and ordained ministerial experience has not included elements of the pre- and post-ordination requirements laid down by our Church.  

The focus of the recent IME 4 - 7 session was on issues on "Issues in Public and Personal Ministry". The entire IME 4 - 7 process is overseen by the Director of Training, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg. 

A highlight of the residential sessions is when one of the curates is invited by Canon Monberg to preside at a eucharist for their colleagues. The Revd Jennifer Elliott de Riverol presided at one of the eucharists at the recent sessions, with the Revd Nigel Thomas assisting as liturgical deacon. 

The second was a training session for the curates and their training incumbents together. This was focussed on the use of music in worship. It was led by the Revd Canon John Wilkinson, who explored the use of the wide range of music in Anglican services, and also gave instruction in the actual singing of the liturgy. As presiders at the eucharistic assembly, it is important that newly ordained priests are comfortable in singing the traditional parts of the service. A sung liturgy is the norm in the Church's life. A said service was largely an innovation in the Western, Roman Church! 

Canon Wilkinson leads sessions on music in worship

Some curates and their training incumbents 

Friday, 20 December 2013

St Mark's Florence launches new website

Although Church of England worship has been held in Florence for almost 200 years, the present day St Mark's Church, on the Via Maggio, opened its doors for worship in 1881. Now this Florentine Church is the centre of a  vibrant parish which includes the congregations of the Holy Cross in Bologna and St Peter's in Siena. Besides offering offering a rich liturgical life, St Mark's is also a centre for the arts and music. There are even flats available for rental for visitors to this beautiful city. 

The parish mission statement reads:
Walking in the light of Christ, the Chaplaincy of St Mark’s Florence with St Peter’s Siena, and Holy Cross, Bologna, works constructively and inclusively together, as three places of Christian excellence and witness, in common with other Ministries of the Universal Church, for and with any people who find themselves in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.
The Chaplain, the Revd William Lister, who is also the Area Dean of Italy and Malta, has just announced a brand new website for St Mark's which brings this venerable Church firmly into the 21st century. The site is very attractive and informative and worth a look. It can be found here

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Revd Amos Manga visiting South Sudan

The Revd Amos Manga, who serves the White Nile Congregation in Northern Finland, has recently been on a trip back to his homeland, the world's newest country, South Sudan. He has been in the country for about two weeks now. The purpose of his trip is to meet with members of his family and the officials and clergy of the Episcopal Church in Sudan. The Sudanese community which comprises the White Nile Congregation in Finland has been very active in assisting the young country to build up its infrastructure and governmental bodies; though many have stayed in Finland some have returned back to their home country.

Unfortunately, as we know, just a couple of days ago, there was an attempted coup against the President Salva Kiir. Fr Amos has reported hearing gunfire continuously in the capital, Juba, where he is at present. He is safe, but apparently about 500 people have been killed in violent clashes in the past 48 hours. He adds that Church leaders in South Sudan are calling for calm and are seeking to offer help to the Government to restore peace in the country. He hopes to get to the countryside in next two or three days, when the security situation improves.

Pray for Fr Amos, that he may be kept safe, and for all the people of his land who are caught up in this recent violence, and for those who work to bring peace and order.   

Fr Amos's colleague, the Revd Tuomas Mäkipää, the Chaplain of St Nicholas's, Helsinki, has been in touch with Fr Amos. He writes:  

As we prepare for celebrating a peaceful Christmas, let us remember those our brothers and sisters who live in uncertainty and pray for those who have lost their lives and those who mourn for them; and let us pray especially for the people and leaders of South Sudan that they - and all people - may be governed in peace with justice and mercy. Christ was incarnated into this world to meet us in our weakness as the Angels sung to the shepherds ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

Almighty God,
from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed:
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth
that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
(Collect for the Peace of the World)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

10th anniversary of restoration of regular services in Berlin Mitte

On Sunday 1 December, St George's Anglican Church in Berlin celebrated the 10th anniversary of the restoration of regular services in central Berlin (Mitte).

The first St George’s in the city was built in 1885 under the patronage of the Crown Princess of Germany, Victoria (eldest daughter of Queen Victoria) who was married to the future Kaiser Friedrich III. It was the only Anglican Church in Germany to remain open during World War I, as the Kaiser was the Church’s Patron. It was closed in the Second World War and hit by allied bombing 24 Nov 1943 and the remains were pulled down by the East Berlin authorities. After World War II, new St George's, a garrison Church, was built in the British sector. In 1994 the new St George’s became a civilian congregation of the Diocese.

In 2003 in a reunified Berlin, the Chaplain of St George's, the Revd Canon Christopher Jage-Bowler, with his Assistant Chaplain, the Revd Dr Irene Ahrens, decided to restart a weekly evening service back in Mitte, in addition to the regular morning Eucharist in the new St George's, The Marienkirche, the oldest still functioning Church in Berlin, has been the host venue for the Mitte service since 2007. The Marienkirche is only a couple of hundred metres from where the original St George's once stood.

About 150 people attended the anniversary service, which included the confirmation of 10 members. Clergy from the Marienkirche robed for the service as did visiting Anglican clergy and ordinands who have had some association with the services in Mitte during the past 10 years

St George's Berlin website is here.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Every parish should have one of these!

All Saints Church in St Pargoire, France, one of the newer congregations in the Diocese in Europe, is blessed by having a vintner and his family as active members of the congregation. Simon Coulshaw and his wife Monica run a vineyard, Domaine des Trinités, and using traditional artisanal methods are producing fine vins du terroir.  

The parish social events, of course, feature wines from Domaine des Trinités, and there is no shortage of wine for the eucharist! But Simon and Monica also use their skill also to encourage and promote the outreach work of the parish. From time to time they host "Wine into Water" events, which are well attended by parishioners. These events include guided walk through the vines, followed by a talk and tasting in the winery accompanied by Monica’s famous tapas. (Monica is from Catalunya). Funds are raised for the international development charity Water Aid. As a result, several dozen villages in Africa have already benefited from this initiative by the Coulshaws, and now have clean water available to them, for the first time.

Domaine des Trinités has a website here

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Linda Brooke admitted as a Reader to serve in the Manche

On 13 November the Area Dean of France, the Revd Canon Trevor Whitfield, admitted Linda Brooke to the ministry of Reader and licensed her to exercise that lay ministry in the parish of Christ Church in the Manche, in Normandy. This was among Canon Whitfield's last actions as Area Dean, before his retirement on 30 November

Following her three year theological training for this ministry, Linda now joins her husband Mike Brooke, also a Reader, in working with the priest-in-charge of Christ Church, the Revd Peter Hales. 

Although the canons of the Church of England refer to Readers, in the Diocese in Europe we are coming to terms with the fact that a Reader is perhaps better described as a Licensed Lay Minister. This is a term that means much more to our ecumenical partners and avoids the misunderstanding that Readers simply read in Church! 

Christ Church in the Manche is a busy parish with services every Sunday in two centres: in Gratot Homeel, near Coutances, and in Virey, towards the south. 

Area Dean Trevor Whitfield and Reader Linda Brooke

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

First confirmations in All Saints, Hérault


All Saints Anglican Church in St Pargoire, in the department of Hérault in France, is one of the newest congregations in the diocese in Europe. It became formally part of the Church of England in January 2013. Since then, their priest-in-charge, the Revd Roger Smith, assisted by the Revd Richard Acworth, has led the congregation forward in their life and mission.


Already, the parish has produced candidates for confirmation. Six young women were presented to me on 27 October to receive this sacrament.


In our French parishes, church lunches tend to be quite splendid affairs, and this was certainly true of the reception and parish lunch following the Confirmation service.




All Saints has an active collaboration with Roman Catholic and Reformed Church partners in several outreach programmes. The Church's website is here.

Fr Richard Acworth, Fr Roger Smith and Confirmands

Monday, 2 December 2013

Now there's a familiar face ...

At the main Eucharist at the November sessions of General Synod, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was ably assisted by none other than Deacon Frances Hiller, my chaplain.

Deacon Frances is quite used to telling a bishop what to do in the liturgy. After all, that's one of the main jobs of deacons! I wonder if she was as directive with the Archbishop? At any rate it was very good to see one of our clergy assisting His Grace in this way.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Workshop for Readers on Funeral Ministry is oversubscribed

A workshop on funeral ministry for Readers and Readers in Training was held at St Columba's House, Working on 25-27 October. Completion of such a training workshop is a requirement if Readers (licensed lay ministers) are to be authorised to conduct funerals. This weekend particular course was fully subscribed, with 20 participants from across the diocese, and people on a waiting list!

The Director of Training, Canon Ulla Monberg, and the Senior Tutor and Advisor for Reader Ministry, the Revd Elaine Labourel, were the course leaders for this workshop. Sessions were held on aspects of pastoral care and bereavement. Practical work was done on putting together a funeral using the rich resources of Common Worship, and guidance was given on officiating at a funeral rite itself.

It was one of Bishop Geoffrey Rowell's last appearances at a diocesan event. He gave a lecture on the changing context of funerals and presided at a requiem mass at the event.


There's a first time for everything

It had to happen one day, I suppose. Over 11 years of almost weekly travel to parishes in the diocese and never a single scheduled service missed - until this weekend, that is.

An accident closed a section of the westbound M4 heading to London's Heathrow airport and I was trapped for 2 hours, missing my flight to Berlin. Rebooking was not a problem, except it was the last flight of the day. So I am transferred to the first flight in the morning which arrives in Berlin at 1130, exactly one hour after the start of the service at St George's at which I was to preside, preach, baptise and confirm.

Canon Christopher Jage-Bowler and the Revd Dr Irene Ahrens, the clergy at St George's, having received a panicked call from a frazzled bishop, calmly improvised with some liturgical ingenuity. They would hold the normal sung eucharist, and baptise those to be baptised in the morning, and the confirmation candidates will come to the evening service in central Berlin at which I am also presiding. So with a little shuffle, and some liturgical flexibiity (just ignore the rubric about the full initiation rite of baptism, confirmation and holy communion being celebrated as a unity), and we are back on track. My thanks to the clergy for their swift and flexible response.

Now to address those frazzled episcopal nerves.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Istanbul bombings

St Helena's Chapel, Istanbul
The parish of Christ Church with St Helena's in Istanbul yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the bombings at the British Consulate General which killed dozens of people including the Consul General, Roger Short. The Chaplain of Christ Church, the Revd Canon Ian Sherwood, informed me that the UK Foreign Minister, William Hague, read the lesson at Morning Prayer and that the Consulate staff hosted an excellent gathering where the Turkish Foreign Minister and Mr Hague spoke. Many family members of those who died attended the events. Fr Ian also attended the mosque with some consular staff members who are Muslim.

The terrorist attack on 20 November 2003 was the worst ever experienced against a British diplomatic mission. St Helena's Chapel is one of the historic consular buildings. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Learning to walk together

Today I think I witnessed the Church's decision-making at its best. 

The General Synod (which I am attending during the episcopal interregnum) overwhelmingly gave welcome to a package of proposals which charts the way forward to permit the consecration of women as bishops. This is the first stage towards a process. Final approval will be at a later stage.  

The remarkable thing was to witness members of the Synod from every theological stripe in the Church of England give support to the package of proposals. There were 33 speeches, and all but two were largely positive towards the package. Yes, there were wise words of caution, and a reminder that we should not be complacent as we move forward as there will be hard work involved in the next stages. In particular there was a warning not to tinker with the careful and delicate balance that has been sought in the proposals.   

5 guiding principles, which must be held together as they create the balance needed, under-gird the proposals:
  1. The Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
  2. Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
  3. Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God; 
  4. Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and 
  5. Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England. 
The spirit in the Synod chamber was one of graceful listening, mutual respect for differing theological views, and a strong desire for unity, so that the Church can move forward in mission. The motion to welcome the package of proposals was carried with 378 votes in favour, 8 against and 25 abstentions.

Perhaps we are learning to walk together on the way, as syn-hodos means.

Monday, 18 November 2013

New Reader to serve St Michael's in the Gard

Brenda Juntunen receives her licence as a reader
On 26 October, a new Reader was admitted and licensed in the diocese, to serve in the parish of St Michael's in the Gard, France. Brenda Juntunen was presented by her parish priest, the Revd Stafford Low. A large congregation gathered to support her, following the three years of extensive theological study and preparation which is required for this ministry. 

The Revd Jenny Deverill, the former priest-in-charge, who founded this congregation back in 2006, was also present, along with the Revd Prebendary, David Paton, a retired priest who is linked to St Michael's, and the Revd Roger Smithm, the priest-in-charge of the neighbouring parish of St Pargoire (about 120 km away!). 

At the same celebration, a member of the parish, John Smith, was confirmed. 

St Michael's meets in an ancient building of the Reformed Church, in the village of Boisset-et-Gaujacm, in the Languedoc Roussillon region. The congregation's website is here.

Left to right: the Revd Jenny Deverill, the Revd Stafford Low, John Smith, Preb. David Paton, Brenda Juntunen, the Revd Roger Smith

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Triple Celebration at the Church of the Ascension, Cadenabbia

Director of Music Janet Anderson together with guest Organist Ennio Cominetti at the Organ Console
One of the lesser known gems of the Diocese in Europe is the Church of the Ascension in Cadenabbia, on Lake Como, Italy. This is a church that was founded in the late 19th century, which is now connected to the Milan parish, but which continues to be served by a series of visiting locum priests. It is a beautiful building in a most exquisite location.

Recently, one of the locum clergy, the Revd Stephen Anderson, reported on a significant event in the Church of the Ascension when on the 29th September there was a "triple celebration": the feast of Michaelmas  the 122th anniversary of the dedication of the building, and a service of thanksgiving for the restoration of the organ.  
The Music Director, Janet Anderson, spearheaded an organ appeal which raised €30,000 in less than 2 years. Several benefactors and a large congregation were able to enjoy voluntaries on the restored organ played by Maestro Ennio Cominetti, a well known local recitalist, who showed off the power and range of the organ to good effect, before and after the Sung Eucharist. 

During the service, Fr Stephen dedicated the restored organ, saying that “it should not merely produce a pleasing combination of sounds and tunes, but lead to an expansion of the heart and the soul”.

The Church of the Ascension exists to serve local English speaking residents and provides a source of spiritual refreshment for the many holidaymakers who visit picturesque Lake Como and the surrounding area during the summer season. 

The website is here.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Fr Ian Naylor - no longer "acting", but now fully Archdeacon of France

The Revd Ian Naylor, who has been the Acting Archdeacon of France, was collated as Archdeacon (the real thing!) at a service at Bishop's Council on 25 October. He also was named a canon of the Cathedral Chapter, with the stall of St Bernard of Clairvaux.

We congratulate Archdeacon Naylor on this appointment, and assure him of our prayers. It is good to welcome him, now fully, into the Bishop's Senior Staff Team. He continues to be the priest-in-charge of St Andrew's Pau.

The Archdeaconry of France is one of the largest in the diocese comprising over 80 congregations and worship centres in France and in the Principality of Monaco. At Bishop's Council the two delegates from the Archdeaconry of France, the Revd Hazel Door and Mrs Sarah Hardenberg, were able to be alongside Fr Ian to offer the prayerful support of the Archdeaconry.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Porvoo Communion to include Latvian Church Abroad and the Lutheran Church in GB

The Communion of Porvoo Churches in on the way to further expansion.

The Venerable Jonathan LLoyd, Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, represents the Diocese in Europe at Porvoo meetings, and he recently returned from the meeting of the Porvoo Primates which was hosted by the Church of Iceland in Reykjaviik. He reported to our Bishop's Council on 24 October that a decision was made at that meeting to enable the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain become full members of the Porvoo Communion of Churches. The Church of England and other member Churches will now undertake all necessary measures to implement the decision.

At a service in the Lutheran Cathedral at which the Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M Sigurdardottir, presided, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the member Churches to work for justice and common mission: "If [our] family is to become what it should, then we need each other more than ever, not for comfort in the cold, receding tides of Christian faith, but to stretch and challenge each other to an ever closer walk with God and evermore passionate fulfilling of his mission.”

The communiqué from the Porvoo Primates can be read here. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Gibraltar Day in London

The Archdeacons of the Diocese joined Bishop Geoffrey and me for the annual Gibraltar Day celebrations at the Guildhall in London on Monday 21 October. The Senior Staff were gathering for our usual meetings, but it was an occasion not to be missed, as this diocese is, in fact, the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. 

The Chief Minister and Minister of Finance of Gibraltar, the Honorable Fabian Picardo, gave the keynote address at the event in the City. He made many intriguing references to Gibraltar as the world's foremost centre for the delivery of "online gaming services" with over 60% of bets placed online globally being handled by Gibraltar companies! I am not sure we all felt entirely at ease with this fact.

We were all reminded that this year marks the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, which had among its provisions that Spain would cede Gibraltar to Great Britain. One of the loudest refrains heard at the Gibraltar day celebrations was, indeed, “Gibraltar has been British for 300 years. Let’s keep it that way!" 

The next day of meetings was a little quieter in tone, and included evensong at Southwark Cathedral, nearby where we were meeting.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visits St Alban's Copenhagen

On Sunday 20 October the completion of restoration work in St Alban's Church, Copenhagen, was celebrated with a royal visit. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attended the festal evensong, at which the Chaplain, Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd presided. Bishop Geoffrey was the preacher.

In the picture above, Archdeacon LLoyd invites the Queen to sign the guest book in which one of her own past relatives, Princess Alexandra, was among the first signatories. Princess (later Queen) Alexandra visited the Church with her husband, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), for its consecration in 1887. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

L'Anglicanisme en Bruxelles

Songs in French, English, and Kenyarwanda filled Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral in Brussels last Sunday, when baptisms and confirmations were celebrated at the 2 pm service. This particular service, one of 4 each Sunday at the Pro-Cathedral, is attended by many Francophone Anglicans, including a large contingent from Rwanda.
The Church of England's Common Worship services of Christian Initiation are now available in official French translation, which is enables this bilingual congregation to celebrate these important rites with even greater joy.
2 persons were baptised and along with 15 others then confirmed in the 2 hour service. The backgrounds of the candidates was, as is usual in our diocese, very multinational: from American to Rwandan.
The website of Holy Trinity Brussels is here.