The Clergy Chapter of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar gathered in Torrevieja, Spain, for 24 hours prior to the sessions of the Archdeaconry Synod. There was almost 100% attendance by the priests who serve this part of the Diocese which covers, Andorra, Morocco, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands and Madeira. This is an indication of their strong commitment to be together for mutual support and encouragement. I am sure the splendid venue, La Zenia Hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean, is also a good incentive to attend!
There has been a large turnover in clergy in the Archdeaconry since last year, with new appointments to the parishes in Porto, Lisbon and Estoril, Algarve, Mallorca, Casablanca, and Tenerife South. Further new appointments are expected in Madrid, Ibiza, Menorca and Gran Canaria in the coming months. We were also reminded of the sad death last year of Fr Keith Gordon from Tenerife South and Deacon Verna Veritie originally from Lisbon, but who had been newly posted to Athens.
The clergy of the Archdeaconry are in good heart and enthusiastically engaged in reflecting on the theme for the week's meetings: new beginnings. It was an opportunity for me to touch upon some changes that are expected in our Church of England (with the appointment of Archbishop Justin Welby), in our Diocese and in our Archdeaconry life.
Some discussion was held on matters to do with Post Ordination Training, specifically further training in liturgy and music, and loneliness and isolation among our scattered clergy. To address the latter issue, the Archdeacon and Area Dean are encouraging the formation of mini-chapters for the clergy, in clusters in regions of the Archdeaconry, such as the Canaries and Morocco, Portugal, and the Balearics, for example.