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.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Grill-a-bishop at Nordic/Baltic synod

The Most Revd Helga Byfuglien, Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway
Area Dean Barbara Moss has a creative approach to deanery synod programme design. At the recent Nordic/Baltic synod she invited the clergy and lay representatives to a grill-a-bishop session. It was actually grill two bishops, as the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway, the Most Revd Helga Byfuglien, and I were invited jointly to answer questions posed to us.

They were questions which enabled us to compare and contrast approaches in the Church of Norway and the Church of England with regard to such matters as evangelism, secularisation in Europe, Confirmation, women in the episcopate, Church-State relations, and the role and ministry of bishops in general.

The Church of Norway and the Church of England are in communion, thanks to the Porvoo Agreement. That does not mean that the Churches are alike in all aspects of our life and there is much to learn from each other.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Nordic and Baltic Synod gets underway

The Nordic and Baltic Deanery Synod has been meeting in Trondheim, Norway, from 27 to 29 September. Clergy and lay representatives from the Anglican congregations in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Latvia gathered in the Pilgrim Centre in this ancient city. Trondheim is the burial place of St Olav, and is one of the ancient European pilgrimage destinations. Delegates from Estonia sent their regrets to the meeting.
Just behind the Pilgrim Centre is the massive Cathedral, the largest and most northerly building of its kind in Scandinavia, whose construction began in the 11th century following the death of St Olav. The Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Revd Ragnhild Jepsen, welcomed the synod members at the start of the meeting.
Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd and Dean Ragnhild Jepsen
The Revd Canon Barbara Moss, the Area Dean, is responsible for the organisation and programme of the synod which this year is focussing on the theme "Leadership in the Church: Prophets and Pastors for a Pilgrim People".
Area Dean Barbara Moss

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Revd Paul Ormrod is licensed as Chaplain in St George's Madrid

Fr Nigel Thomas, Fr Paul Ormrod, Fr Martin Thomas, the Very Revd Alan Woods
On Saturday 7 September, the Very Revd Alan Woods, former Dean and Archdeacon of Gibraltar, acting as Bishop's Commissary, licensed the Revd Paul Ormrod as Chaplain of St George's Madrid. Fr Ormrod and his wife Jill come to this diocese from the diocese of Liverpool. 

St George's Madrid is a lively multicultural parish, with three Sunday services. The Reader is Celia Patterson and the Assistant Curate is the Revd Nigel Thomas. The Revd Martin Thomas, who has been living in Madrid, has also been assisting, particularly during the interregnum. The parish website is here.

We welcome Fr Paul and Jill to this diocese. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A new Church Army evangelist for the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar and a new parish priest in Mojácar

Captain Edwin Bates CA
The Area Dean of Gibraltar, the Revd Geoff Johnston, had a busy week earlier this month when on Monday 9 September he licensed Captain Edwin Bates CA as an evangelist and Church Army Officer to serve in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar. Captain Bates previously worked with the homeless in Birmingham and in Wormwood Scrubs prison in London. He has also done placements with the Army on the Rhine. We welcome Edwin to this diocese and look forward to his lay ministry among us. 

Captain Bates lives in the Anglican parish of Costa Almería and Costa Cálida, where, three days after his own licensing, the Area Dean licensed a new priest-in-charge, the Revd Pauline Williams. The parish of Costa Almería and Costa Cálida has 4 worshipping centres, but the principal one is in Mojácar, in an ancient hilltop Church which the Roman Catholic diocese has permitted us to use. As a sign of the warm fraternal relations with the Roman Catholic Church, the local priest came to the service of licensing for Pauline.

Pauline joins us from the Church in Wales and brings many gifts in children's ministry and in rural ministry. We welcome her to the Archdeaconry and Diocese.
Asst Priest Alan Bennett, Reader Duncan Burr, Revd Pauline Williams, Area Dean Geoff Johnston and Roman Catholic Colleague
The link to the parish website is here.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Archbishop Kattey is released

Good news. After nine days in captivity, the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger Delta in the Church of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Ignatius Kattey, was released by his captors last Saturday evening. Sources said Archbishop Kattey walked home alone after he regained his freedom from the unknown gunmen who abducted him on Friday 6 September.

We give thanks for his freedom and return to his wife, family and Church community.   

Friday, 13 September 2013

Bible in the Life of the Church

At a recent meeting of the Ministry Team of the Diocese, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, Director of Training, introduced us to a new resource entitled Bible in life of the ChurchThis is a study and a collection of resources prepared by the Churches of the Anglican Communion around the world which was presented to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) at its meeting in Auckland New Zealand in November last year. Canon Monberg is the representative of this diocese on the ACC.

As Canon Monberg explained, "the project, commissioned in 2009, is an attempt to let the Churches of the Communion reflect on the ways in which they actually use the Bible - how they read it, whom they read it with, what they bring to the reading, what their experience is of transformation. It is geared towards 'ordinary Anglicans' in the pews. There is no agenda in the project, no liberal or traditional preference. The title of the project is important. This is about the Bible in its true place - not in a library, not even on an individual's bookshelf, but in the life of the fellowship of believers".  

As this was a global project (Anglicans from 8 different regions in the world contributed to its preparation), and as we in this diocese are, in our multinational and multicultural identity, the 'Anglican Communion in miniature', the Ministry Team had a sense of excitement about how the Bible in the life of the Church project could be engaging for us and help us to foster a deeper love and understanding of the Bible among our people.

As a result, the Ministry Team is now actively considering ways that the project can be introduced at the Diocesan level. One way will be to hold a training event for Readers, the lay theologians of our diocese, to equip them to be confident facilitators of the way we engage with and interpret the Bible. But there is so much more to be drawn out of this project, from specific bible studies on particular topics, to theological reflections on what Anglicans over the years have taught about biblical interpretation. We look forward to sharing our plans with the people of the Diocese. 

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote in the preface to the report: "To be a biblical Church is surely to be a community that lives out this great story day by day and commends it to people everywhere as the most comprehensive truth possible about the nature of God and God's world. May God use this work to further that end, in our Communion and in all communities of his people."

More about the Bible in the life of the Church project can be found here.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

New members on the Communications Committee of the Diocese

Nick Wraight, the Revd Paul Needle (Communications Officer), the Revd Mike Smith
The Communications Committee of the Diocese held a meeting last Thursday 5 September in the Diocesan Office on Tufton Street. It was the first meeting for two new members elected to the committee at the last Diocesan Synod, the Revd Mike Smith of All Saints Tenerife North, and Ms Dani Carew of St Paul's Monaco. Conveniently, the Diocesan Finance Officer, Mr Nick Wraight had a (belated) birthday celebration which meant he was on duty to pour a glass of wine for the Committee at lunchtime.

Dani Carew
The Communications Committee oversees the production of diocesan publications, print and web-based, the prayer diary, and consults on media strategy and publicity. The Revd Paul Needle is the Diocesan Communications Officer.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Together for the Common Good

Over 170 persons gathered in Liverpool from Friday 6 to Sunday 10 of September for an event called "Together for the Common Good". It was a conference for Christians and people of other faiths to explore how we can work together for social justice. It was moving to be part of an event with so many committed activists and workers for justice, all stemming from their firm foundation of faith.

The inspiration behind the conference was the work of (Roman Catholic) Archbishop Derek Worlock and (Anglican) Bishop David Sheppard of Liverpool who, together with their Free Church colleagues, spearheaded grassroots social action for justice in the city from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s. Through addressing social issues together, these Church leaders built a relevant and visible role for the Church in wider society. In a city known for sectarian strife they remained faithful to their distinctive beliefs, but in working side by side demonstrated that there was more to unite Christians than to divide them. The venue for the conference itself was significant - Liverpool Hope University - the only Anglican-Roman Catholic joint university in Europe.

Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock
Towards the end of the conference I gave an address on how the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission  for Unity and Mission, (IARCCUM) is seeking to promote joint action and witness between the two Communions, led by their bishops. In many ways the Worlock-Sheppard partnership prefigured the IARCCUM model of joint action.  

Some of the themes and questions explored during the weekend were:

  • identifying the differences and similarities between the current Church and the Church as it was in the context of the Sheppard and Worlock collaboration
  • recognising the role of the Church as an advocate for the most vulnerable people, asking how we can look outwards and focus on community action, moving beyond denominational differences to focus on being a servant Church
  • key elements that help to build effective working relationships of trust between people of different faiths

RC Archbishop Bernard Longley and Anglican Archbishop David Moxon give a joint blessing
Other keynote speakers during the packed weekend were: Rt Hon John Battle KCSG, Phillip Blond, Claire Dove MBE DL, Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Dr Eliza Filby, John Flamson DL, Revd Ruth Gee, Lord Maurice Glasman, The Rt Revd Dr Rupert Hoare, Neil Jameson, Pat Jones CBE, Revd Phil Jump, Clifford Longley, The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Revd Dr Peter McGrail, Robin Millar, The Most Revd David Moxon, Roger Phillips DL, Professor Gerald Pillay DL, Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Dr Anna Rowlands, Max Steinberg CBE FRSA, Dame Mary Tanner DBE.

Further information on the event can be found here.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Nigerian Archbishop with links to our Diocese has been kidnapped

A Nigerian Anglican Archbishop, one of two who visited our diocese earlier this year, has been kidnapped by armed men on Friday 6 September. The Most Revd Ignatius Kattey and his wife Beatrice were kidnapped near their residence at Eleme, Port Harcourt, last Friday 6 September.

Archbishop Ignatius is the Dean of the Nigerian Church, and Archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, and the second most senior Anglican bishop in the country. According to reports, the kidnappers abandoned the Archbishop's car containing Mrs Kattey after a police chase. The Archbishop is still missing.

Archbishop Ignatius accompanied Archdeacon of Italy and Malta Jonathan Boardman on visits to Turin and Padua last April, and along with his colleague Archbishop Joseph Akinfenwa came to my office afterwards to report on their visit and explore with me how our partnership and cooperation might be deepened.

Apparently, no group has claimed responsibility and no ransom demand has been made.

Please pray for the safe release of the Archbishop.

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