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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Mallorca is a busy place as far as the Church of England is concerned.

Parishioners and visitors at Port de Pollença 
Mallorca, that picturesque Mediterranean island, where many people from more northern climes go for rest and relaxation, is actually a very busy and active parish of the Church of England. There are three congregations which form this pastoral charge: St Philip and St James in Palma, St Andrew in Port de Pollença and a small community on Cala d'Or.

On a recent parish visit, I was able to learn from members of the Council of St Philip and St James about how they are working with their new priest, the Revd David Waller, on some points of mission strategy, including their work to attract younger families to Church, and to enhance communication across the island about activities of the parish. In St Andrew's Port de Pollença I was able to see, first hand, how their ministry of hospitality helps to welcome "swallows" (seasonal residents), short-term holiday visitors and even people simply sailing around the Mediterranean on their yachts, into the life of the parish. Eating, drinking and socialising together seems to be a main ingredient in their successful strategy.

Fr David hopes to be joined by another full-time priest in the not-too-distant future. There are also two licensed Readers and two other individuals exploring vocation to this lay ministry.

A young family in Palma
There was also time for inter-church and ecumenical encounters. There is a tiny group of members of the Iglesia Evangélica Reformada Episcopal, (IERE) led by a Reader, originally from Cuba, wonderfully named Arquimedes. Arquimedes and his faithful few attend the services of St Philip and St James, despite having quite limited English.

Arquimedes, Doña Beatriz of IERE with Fr David Waller
It was also good to have a meeting with the new Roman Catholic Bishop of Mallorca, Don Xavier Salinas i Viñals, whom I had previously met when he was Bishop of Tortosa. Don Xavier lives in an ancient palace that was originally the home of a Moorish prince. But he is a very forward looking bishop; and we exchanged some ideas about the outreach of the Church to youth and young adults. He very generously permits the use of his Church buildings for Anglican worship.

The Sunday celebration included the confirmation of candidates from Palma and Port de Pollença

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