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.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Prayer for Syria

Mine Yildirim
It could be easy to forget that this diocese in Europe of the Church of England borders with Syria, but our congregations in Turkey keep us updated on the ways that the civil war across the border is having its effect in that country. Conservative UN estimates put the number of refugees in Turkey who have fled the civil war in Syria at about 450,000 - 500,000. Many of them are in refugee camps in SE Turkey close to the border with Syria. But many refugees and displaced people from the war are also finding their way to the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The Revd Engin Yildirim, the priest-in-charge of the Turkish-speaking parish of the Resurrection in Istanbul, reported to me recently that an influx of displaced people is visibly noticeable now in the streets of that city. The Church of the Resurrection cooperates, particularly with Roman Catholic agencies, in providing support to refugees in Istanbul.

Fr Engin's wife, Mine, (who is a PhD candidate from the University of Turku in the field of human rights), is keeping the congregation alert to the possibility of needing to increase its response as the refugee numbers, including those from many minority groups in Syria, continue to grow. 

Here is a prayer that can be used in the congregations of this diocese:  

God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria
Comfort those who suffer violence
Console those who mourn the dead
Give strength to Syria’s neighbouring countries to welcome the refugees
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms
And protect those who are committed to peace.
God of hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with their enemies
Inflame the Universal Church with compassion for the people of Syria
And give us hope for a future built on justice for all
We ask this through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and Light of the world.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Not gone for long!

Each year we raise up more vocations to the sacred ministry than we have places for in this diocese. In the Church of England, people are ordained to serve a curacy - a "title" it is called - a period of 3 to 4 years in post-ordination training. So each year our Director of Ordinands, Canon William Gulliford, negotiates with other dioceses to seek title posts for some of our ordinands. Thus we are a net exporter of fine talent to the rest of the Church of England. However, as this is the best diocese in the Church of England (or even in the Anglican Communion?) we should not be surprised that people, whose vocation was discerned here but who left and were ordained in other dioceses, find their way back. 
This summer, two priests who were originally our ordinands but whom we exported to other dioceses have recently returned to take up positions, both co-incidentally in the Netherlands. 
The Reverend James Hill (pictured above) began his work as Assistant Chaplain of Christ Church, Amsterdam, on 30 June. He comes back to us from the Diocese of Coventry where he served his title curacy. James is accompanied by his wife Anna and their two children, Jonathan and Lucy. 

The Reverend Ruan Crew began his work as Chaplain of the Anglican Church of St James, Voorschoten, on 1 July. He returns to us from the Diocese of Bristol where he served his title curacy, and is joined by his wife Lisette and children Emily, Hanna and Tim. Ruan is pictured above, left, as he is licensed by the Acting Archdeacon of NW Europe, Meurig Williams.

Welcome home, James and Ruan!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

St Thomas Becket Hamburg renovations proceeding according to plan

The Revd Matthew Jones, Chaplain of St Thomas Becket Church in Hamburg, has sent me a quick update on the external renovations to this historic building. The transformation is astonishing and the new lettering above the main portal states who we are, in a clear and dignified way. 

Completion of the work is due by the end of August, and is on track and on budget!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Alice Christofi reports on World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro

Alice Christofi, a young adult from St Mark's Florence, represented the Diocese in Europe at the recent World Youth Day encounter in Rio de Janeiro. Although a Roman Catholic event our Anglican diocese of  Rio de Janeiro hosted a gathering of young Anglicans from around the world at that time, as an ecumenical presence. The priest at Cristo Rei parish in the Cidade de Deus neighbourhood in Rio, Fr Nicholas Wheeler, (seen in these pictures) was a key local organiser.

Alice has written to me with initial impressions of her experience and to thank the Diocese for supporting her presence in Rio. She is already planning to gather folk for the next World Youth Day encounter in Krakow in 2016!

Here is an extract from Alice's letter to me:

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Iftar Reception hosted by the Moroccan Embassy - a moment of interfaith encounter

I feel honoured each year during the month of Ramadan to receive an invitation to an Iftar reception hosted by the the Royal Moroccan Embassy in London. (Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims break their fast, at sunset). The reception is attended mostly by diplomats and people with business interests in Morocco. But this officially Muslim nation always invites leaders of other faiths represented in the country. My invitation is a way of acknowledging the place of the Anglican Church in the Kingdom, one of the four Churches (the others being the Roman Catholic, the Orthodox and the French Protestant) which are officially recognised by the King.

There is also an historic Jewish community in Morocco. This year's Iftar reception was a chance for a mini interfaith encounter when my good friend Archbishop Gregorios and I were able to greet Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy OBE, the Emeritus Spiritual Head of the Spanish and Portuguese (Sephardi) congregation in London. Rabbi Levy is a Gibraltarian from a prominent family on the Rock. His brother, Momy Levy, was a former Mayor of Gibraltar.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Canon Jonathan Goodall appointed Suffragan Bishop of Ebbsfleet

It was announced today that the new bishop of the Suffragan See of Ebbsfleet will be the Revd Canon Jonathan Goodall. Fr Jonathan is well known to this diocese having served as Chaplain to Bishop John Hind and then to Bishop Geoffrey Rowell. Since 2005 he has been Chaplain and Ecumenical Secretary, first to Archbishop Rowan Williams and then to Archbishop Justin Welby.

In line with the 1993 Act of Synod, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet is one of the two Provincial Episcopal Visitors for the Province of Canterbury, who give extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry, on the Archbishop’s behalf, to those parishes, clergy and people who are not able to accept the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Canon Goodall is married to Sarah. They have two children, Thomas (24) and AnnaMary (19).

He will be consecrated on 25 September in Westminster Abbey. We rejoice with him on this appointment and pray for him as he prepares for this his ministry.