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.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Clergy Chapter in Gibraltar Archdeaconry - almost 100% attendance

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.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

New Anglican Priest in Bergen


The Reverend Mpole Samuel Masemola has been licensed as the new assistant priest for the Bergen Congregation, part of the Anglican Chaplaincy of Norway.

Pictured left to right in the above photo: Rune Torsvik (Chair of Bergen Committee), Canon Stephen Hance (Canon Missioner, Southwark Diocese), Mrs Iris Evans-Bjørno (Reader), the Reverend Sammy Masemola (Assistant Chaplain, Bergen), Canon Janet Heil (Chaplain, Norway), Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd, Canon Jacob Frode Knudsen (Sub-Dean of Bergen Cathedral), the Reverend Mary Strømmen (Assistant Chaplain, Trondheim).

At a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday 27 January, Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd presided and preached, and Sammy was warmly welcomed by the clergy and congregation. Canon Stephen Hance brought greetings from the Cathedral and Diocese of Southwark in England, which is twinned with Bergen's Lutheran Domkirke.

Fr Sammy is South African, and was previously Assistant Curate in Oslo and has had a career in publishing. He will also serve as our Diocesan representative on the Council of USPG - Anglicans in World Mission (now known as Us.)





Monday, 28 January 2013

St Margaret's Budapest extends to include another venue in the city

The work of the Diocese is extending in Budapest.

The priest-in-charge of St Margaret’s parish in the Hungarian capital, the Revd Dr Frank Hegedus, has informed me that a new service on the first Sunday of the month has started in the area of the Buda hills called Svábhegy.The service is at 10.30 and is held in the Protestáns Szakkollégium at Eötvös út35, in the Twelfth District of the city. A Sunday school programme is also offered at this time. The first service was held there on 6 January. Thus coming Sunday, 3February, will be the second such service. The venue is actually a modern chapel in auniversity residence hall run jointly by the Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Hungary. It is pictured above.

On the remaining Sundays of the month, Saint Margaret’s main worship location is used at Almássy utca 6 in the Seventh District of Budapest.

Fr Hegedus writes in his parish magazine that Svábhegy in the Buda Hills is arguably one of the loveliest spots in Budapest. “A mere twelve minutes by bus from SzéllKálmán tér in the heart of bustling Buda, it is a place of magnificent vistas, peace and quiet, and fresh air. It is easy to understand why many diplomats andother professionals from lands near and far choose to live there and in nearbyneighbourhoods. Our new service brings worship and sacrament in the Anglican tradition to this important part of our city without major expense or inconvenience to ourselves.”

A facebook page for St Margaret's (named after St Margaret of Scotland, who was a Saxon princess, raised in Hungary) is here.


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Aquitaine bids farewell to the Revd Caroline Gordon-Walker

A week later than planned due to snow, on 25th January the Anglican parish of the Aquitaine gathered at Ste Catherines, Limeuil for a Service of Thanksgiving for the work and ministry of Revd Caroline Gordon-Walker, where she officiated at her last eucharist in the parish (pictured above), followed by a lunch punctuated by many who wanted to recall her time in the Dordogne.

Not long after coming to live in France in 1992, Caroline became a local Churchwarden. Aquitaine’s Chaplain, the Revd Paul Vrolijk said, ‘You have served in so many roles and have been active in so many ministries since then!   Caroline you have been part of so many groups.....and these last years as a member of the ministry team.  It was in times of personal tragedy that God awoke his calling on you to be ordained, and you went to train in Durham, you were ordained deacon by Bishop Geoffrey in 2002. Finally ordained a priest by Archbishop Rowan Williams in 2003 at Canterbury.’

The love that the people of Aquitaine have for Caroline was manifest in the work of two years of a wall hanging depicting the names of all who wish to be remembered by her, which was presented to her during the service (photo below).  The ‘bricks’ in the warm colours of flames depicting the Holy Spirit, were painted, stitched, embroidered, embellished and just plain written by members of the Aquitaine Chaplaincy (some 9 churches spread throughout the Dordogne and Lot et Garonne) and then finally assembled by two members of the design team.  The fabrics were donated by a member of the Bordeaux Church and came from the Amish Community in America.

Caroline’s ministry and work brought people together in love and humour to proclaim Christ’s love and the theme of the Thanksgiving Service was ‘living stones’.

As a bishop responsible for ecumenical relations in France, I have particularly appreciated Caroline's work in building and strengthening our good working relationships with the Roman Catholic clergy in the Aquitaine, whose buildings we use, thanks to the hospitality offered by the local bishops. Her ministry bears  testimony to the fact that women priests are not necessarily an impediment to fruitful ecumenical co-operation with the Roman Catholic Church. 

We all wish Caroline a long and happy retirement as she joins her daughter and family in the UK. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Kirkevandringen - Walking Together for Christian Unity in Copenhagen

Kirkevandringen is the name of the event which churches in Copenhagen have celebrated for 59 years, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  If you think this word looks like it might mean “wandering around Churches” you are correct. It actually means a Church walk or hike, or in religious terms, pilgrimage. 

By far the largest and most comprehensive gathering of Christians in the City each year, Kirkevandringen  takes the form of a service which is celebrated in 6 short liturgies in central Copenhagen Churches. Orthodox Metropolitan Kallistos Ware sent us on our way at the first service in St Paul’s Church of Denmark. The group then proceeded in pilgrimage, following a crucifer, to the Methodist Jerusalem Church, the Orthodox Church of St Alexander Nevsky, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Anskar, St Alban’s Church of England and ending up at the Swedish Gustaf Church. Brief liturgies were held in each place according to the tradition of that particular Church, providing a rich tapestry of Christian worship and prayer for the evening.

This year's  Kirkevandringen  held on Tuesday 22 January had four bishops, Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox and dozens of clergy from the major denominations in the city taking part, along with about 700 people who walked the route on a sub-zero Copenhagen evening.

Anglicans play a key role in the Kirkevandringen.  Members of the choir of St Alban’s joined the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg in leading a shortened form of Evening Prayer. (Canon Monberg is a key organiser of the annual event with her ecumenical colleagues). Nigel Rowley a member of St Alban’s Parish and a member of our Diocesan Synod was one of the crucifers for the evening. At the final service in the Swedish Church I had the privilege of preached the homily on the theme for this year's Week of Prayer. 

St Paul's (Church of Denmark), Copenhagen

Friday, 25 January 2013

January 2013 Book Reviews

Another year of reading is before us. Here are 9 new theological works on a wide range of subjects that will certainly be of interest to clergy and laity of the diocese. 

The works include new books on missiology, spirituality, WWII, Science and Religion, relations with Islam, even near death experiences, and much more. As always the reviews are based on the work of Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Consultant to the Bishops of the Church of England. 

Felix lectio!

For the reviews, click the read more button

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A thankyou from HM the Queen

Many of the people of the diocese will remember that last year we collected signatures from the members of our churches to send a message of congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her diamond jubilee.

One of the Churchwardens of All Saints Rome, Sandra Annovazzi, arranged for the collected signatures to be bound into a handsome volume (held by Deacon Frances Hiller in the photo) which sent on to Her Majesty.

Buckingham Palace has sent a warm thank you to us for this gesture. I attach a copy of the correspondence.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Love Life Live Lent - Be the Change!

If parishes in Europe are looking for a Lent resource, the Church of England has produced a booklet that is worth looking at. It is entitled Love Life Live Lent - Be the Change! written by the lay theologian Dr Paula Gooder and her husband the Revd Peter Babington. It is designed to lead people through simple daily activities to make small but revolutionary changes to the world around them during Lent 2013. There are two versions of the booklets, one for adults and one for children, each with daily biblical reflections and suggestions for the observance of Lent, such as:

Adults' Version:
• Keep in touch more: Phone someone you love but haven't seen for a while
• Slow down: Take longer over breakfast and really taste your cornflakes (or whatever else you have!)
• Do something different: Outside of work, have a screen-free day and do something different

Kids' Version:
• Be aware of others: Make a list of up to five people you have met today, and then pray for them.
• Be more giving: Get a jar and put your small change into it each day. At the end of Lent give it to a charity.
• Say sorry: Think about something you have done wrong and say sorry for it

The inspiration for Love Life Live Lent - Be the Change! comes from the experience of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, at which 70,000 volunteers gave of themselves and their time to make the games a success, showing what can be achieved in communities when people work and serve together.

Love Life Live Lent - Be the Change! is available from Church House Publishing here.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Bonn and Cologne, a parish with a heart

Parish life in St Boniface, Bonn and All Saints Cologne continues to flourish. The Revd Andrew Sillis, chaplain, (above left)  has now completed his first year in post which will all new appointments is normally a time to listen, learn and get to know the parish. He is now looking forward to working with the lay leadership leadership in framing a vision for the parish's mission in the future. Confirmations (and a reception from the Roman Catholic Church) were celebrated last Sunday in a joint service for the two congregations held in All Saints, Cologne, so new and committed disciples being actively recruited! The Reader, Mr Richard Gardiner, (above right) is in the final stages of preparation for ordination, so there some exciting days ahead for the parish in 2013.

I learned of one very moving outreach project of the parish while I was there: the Herzkissen or heart cushion project. Two local hospitals which treat women with breast cancer are being supplied by the Anglican Churches in Bonn and Cologne with heart-shaped, soft pillows, made by members of the parish. These are designed to give support under the arm and thus much needed comfort to women following breast-surgery. The heart shape also signifies the love and prayers of the Christian family as these women recover from what is often very painful and worrying procedures. Many moving expressions of gratitude are received by the parish for these gifts. About 50 are distributed by the hospitals each month.

Friday, 11 January 2013

An Ecumenical Epiphany

The Epiphany of Our Lord was celebrated by the Church of the Resurrection, Istanbul with baptisms, confirmations and a reception into the Church of England in a packed service in the historic chapel of St Helena. St Helena's Church is one of the three Anglican Church buildings in Istanbul.

Pastor Ulla August reads the Epiphany Gospel in German
It was a joyous event for this Turkish-speaking congregation of the diocese in Europe. The ecumenical participation in the service was significant. Fr Claudio Monge OP, a Dominican priest in Istanbul assisted me as chaplain for the service. The Revd Ulla August, the pastor of the EKD (Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland) brought members of her congregation to St Helena's, read the Gospel in German and assisted with the chalice. Many participants in the Taizé pilgrimage to Istanbul also attended the service. I was able to greet young people from Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Netherlands and France. 

Fr Claudio Monge OP (left) and Fr Engin Yildirim (right) assisting in the service

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Holy Baptism in Istanbul

The Revd Engin Yildirim gives some instruction to the candidate for Holy Baptism
Many people are surprised to learn that in the Church of England the method of baptising is either by immersion ("dipping") in water or pouring of water as the three-fold baptismal formula is recited by the priest.     The Book of Common Prayer stipulates either of these two methods but clearly with a preference for immersion. Even for infants, the Prayer Book rubrics state:

"Then the priest shall take the child into his hands ... and he shall dip it in the water. But if ... the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it".

The basic point is that in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism there should be a generous and abundant use of water. Baptism changes the life of the Christian for ever and this should be shown forth in a bold sacramental sign.

In the Turkish-speaking parish of the Resurrection in Istanbul, one recent candidate for baptism expressed a wish to be baptised in the way the Prayer Book stipulates, and a suitable font was found in a small Church for this Sacrament to be celebrated. The candidate was confirmed the next day, along with others baptised and confirmed at the parish Epiphany celebration.

After the candidate decides to turn to Christ, she is signed with the cross using the oil of catechumens. The sponsor then joins in signing the candidate. 

The New Life in Christ begins!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Anglican support for the Taizé pilgrimage to Istanbul

At the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch members of the Community of Taizé, led by Frère Alois, gathered in Istanbul from 3 to 6 January. The Churches in the city hosted the young people who came from 25 countries around the world. Members of the (Turkish speaking) Anglican parish of the Resurrection  hosted several visitors and had a key role to play at the major ecumenical prayer service in the city, on 4 January. Fr Engin Yildirim, the priest-in-charge of the Church of the Resurrection read one of the lessons. Mrs Mine Yildirim was the official translator for Frère Alois who addressed the packed Armenian Catholic Cathedral of St John Chrysostom.

In his message to the young people, Frère Alois emphasised the importance of the ecumenical spirit of Taizé which was experienced during this pilgrimage, with Christians from a wide range of backgrounds praying together around the cross. In this way, he said, our differences are less important than our communion in Christ, and such unity was a sign of hope. He also underlined that the Church needs the witness of Christians in Istanbul, where the faith is lived in a minority situation and in dialogue with the majority Muslim neighbours.