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 October 2013

Porvoo Communion to include Latvian Church Abroad and the Lutheran Church in GB

The Communion of Porvoo Churches in on the way to further expansion.

The Venerable Jonathan LLoyd, Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, represents the Diocese in Europe at Porvoo meetings, and he recently returned from the meeting of the Porvoo Primates which was hosted by the Church of Iceland in Reykjaviik. He reported to our Bishop's Council on 24 October that a decision was made at that meeting to enable the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain become full members of the Porvoo Communion of Churches. The Church of England and other member Churches will now undertake all necessary measures to implement the decision.

At a service in the Lutheran Cathedral at which the Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M Sigurdardottir, presided, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the member Churches to work for justice and common mission: "If [our] family is to become what it should, then we need each other more than ever, not for comfort in the cold, receding tides of Christian faith, but to stretch and challenge each other to an ever closer walk with God and evermore passionate fulfilling of his mission.”

The communiqué from the Porvoo Primates can be read here. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Gibraltar Day in London

The Archdeacons of the Diocese joined Bishop Geoffrey and me for the annual Gibraltar Day celebrations at the Guildhall in London on Monday 21 October. The Senior Staff were gathering for our usual meetings, but it was an occasion not to be missed, as this diocese is, in fact, the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. 

The Chief Minister and Minister of Finance of Gibraltar, the Honorable Fabian Picardo, gave the keynote address at the event in the City. He made many intriguing references to Gibraltar as the world's foremost centre for the delivery of "online gaming services" with over 60% of bets placed online globally being handled by Gibraltar companies! I am not sure we all felt entirely at ease with this fact.

We were all reminded that this year marks the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, which had among its provisions that Spain would cede Gibraltar to Great Britain. One of the loudest refrains heard at the Gibraltar day celebrations was, indeed, “Gibraltar has been British for 300 years. Let’s keep it that way!" 

The next day of meetings was a little quieter in tone, and included evensong at Southwark Cathedral, nearby where we were meeting.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visits St Alban's Copenhagen

On Sunday 20 October the completion of restoration work in St Alban's Church, Copenhagen, was celebrated with a royal visit. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attended the festal evensong, at which the Chaplain, Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd presided. Bishop Geoffrey was the preacher.

In the picture above, Archdeacon LLoyd invites the Queen to sign the guest book in which one of her own past relatives, Princess Alexandra, was among the first signatories. Princess (later Queen) Alexandra visited the Church with her husband, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), for its consecration in 1887. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

L'Anglicanisme en Bruxelles

Songs in French, English, and Kenyarwanda filled Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral in Brussels last Sunday, when baptisms and confirmations were celebrated at the 2 pm service. This particular service, one of 4 each Sunday at the Pro-Cathedral, is attended by many Francophone Anglicans, including a large contingent from Rwanda.
The Church of England's Common Worship services of Christian Initiation are now available in official French translation, which is enables this bilingual congregation to celebrate these important rites with even greater joy.
2 persons were baptised and along with 15 others then confirmed in the 2 hour service. The backgrounds of the candidates was, as is usual in our diocese, very multinational: from American to Rwandan.
The website of Holy Trinity Brussels is here.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Diocesan Environment Officer draws attention to important Climate Change report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its report at the end of last month. This report which is the most comprehensive, authoritative report on this subject runs to over 1,000,000 words, was compiled by over 600 scientists and peer-reviewed by over 9,000 researchers. The report has a devastatingly clear and urgent message:

Climate change is real, caused by human activity and requires immediate action.

The facts are now before the people of this planet:
  • It’s likely that the world will exceed two degrees global temperature rise by the end of this century. Two degrees is the internationally recognised danger limit - even this level will cause much suffering. 
  • Sea levels will probably rise by between 40cm and 63cm by the end of the century. They have already risen by 20cm since 1971.
  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850 and in the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.

Our own Diocesan Environmental Officer, Madeleine Holmes, (pictured above with Chairman of our Diocesan Mission and Public Affairs Unite, Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd) has written about this important new report in her latest newsletter. Writing to the clergy and people of the diocese, Madeleine says, "I hope we will all  consider speaking and writing about climate change in the light of the report. This is an area where society is looking for leaders, and the Church can give that lead". There is no time to waste, as Madeleine underlines in her newsletter, "We really do need to take action and be responsible in the light of this Report, as time passes all too quickly.  We must think of future generations and how they will view our attitudes if they are left with a neglected and damaged world".

I encourage members of the diocese to read and distribute Madeleine's newsletter in your churches. It can be found below (click on read more): 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Norwegian angels?

Trondheim, or Nidaros, on the west coast of Norway, is an ancient pilgrimage destination, being the final resting place of St Olav who was killed in battle in the Trondheim fjord in 1030. The Synod of the Nordic and Baltic Deanery met at Michaelmastide in Trondheim, and besides the usual business transacted at a synod, there was a pilgrimage walk around the city, led by a Church of Norway priest whose full time job it is to welcome pilgrims and visitors to this place. 

On Sunday 29 September, the deanery representatives joined with their brothers and sisters of the Church of Norway for the Sunday Høymesse (High Mass) for the Feast of St Michael and All Angels in the ancient Cathedral, which is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world. Some of the same architects worked on Nidaros and Lincoln Cathedrals.

The Dean graciously invited me to preach that day, to a congregation that filled the nave. The Presiding Bishop of Norway was the celebrant for the Eucharist, and our own Anglican priest and Reader in Trondheim assisted. It was a warm sign of the relationship of communion between the Church of Norway and the Church of England which has been brought about by the Porvoo Agreement.

The Very Revd Ragnhild Jepsen (Dean of Trondheim), the Rt Revd David Hamid, The Most Revd Dr Helga Haugland Byfuglien (Presiding Bishop of Norway), The Revd Mary Strømmen (Anglican priest in Trondheim),  Mrs Priscilla Beck (Reader in Trondheim)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

From Uganda to Trondheim!

Joy Kibogo is a student of linguistics at the University of Trondheim and hails from Uganda. Her confirmation was celebrated on the Eve of the Feast of St Michael and All Angels in the great Cathedral of Trondheim, in the presence of delegates to the Nordic and Baltic Deanery Synod, as well as her sisters and brothers from the Trondheim Anglican congregation.

Joy suits her name, as she is a joyful member of this very multimational and youthful congregation, led by the Anglican priest in Trondheim, the Revd Mary Strommen.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Canon Ulla Monberg attends the College of Bishops

Last month's meeting of the Church of England's College of Bishops was extended by a day to go into conference mode. One woman priest of senior standing was appointed by each Diocesan Bishop to attend this conference which was entitled “Women’s Ordained Ministry and the Transformation Agenda” which was held on 19 September. Bishop Geoffrey invited the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg to be the woman representative of this diocese.

The conference on 19 September, almost 20 years since the first women’s ordination to the priesthood in the C of E, explored what enables and what hinders the development of women’s ordained ministry.The bishops and women clergy worked in small groups and in plenary and panel sessions addressing and discussing these two questions:
                            What enables women’s ordained ministry to flourish?   
                            What are the barriers to the flourishing of women’s ordained

The conference was also brought up to date on the work of General Synod towards proposals for Women in the Episcopate. 

The day ended with a Eucharist celebrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a hall in St Hugh's College, Oxford where we were surrounded by portraits of distinguished women alumni of St. Hugh’s, a college founded specially to educate women, including the striking portrait situated just above the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Burmese leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pilgrim: a course for the Christian journey

I commend to the clergy and people of the Diocese in Europe a new programme which can help us in our work of teaching the Christian faith and equipping disciples in our congregations: Pilgrim. It is a specifically Anglican course which aims to cater for every tradition in the Church of England. It was commissioned by the bishops of the Church to support the presentation of the basics of the Christian faith. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have endorsed the programme saying "The Pilgrim course is a journey to the heart of God and to a living, personal relationship with Jesus Christ".

There are two stages on the Pilgrim course.

The first is the "Follow" stage, designed for those who are enquirers or very new to Christianity. It can be used by those seeking baptism or confirmation, for example, and is designed to be led by someone who is further on in their Christian faith and who is a skilled teacher. It is in four sections, based around the great texts that have been used to teach the faith since the earliest days of the Church, which open up reflection on four essential dimensions to that faith:
  • The Creeds (What do Christians believe?)
  • The Lord's Prayer (How do Christians know and worship God?)
  • The Commandments (How do Christians behave?)
  • The Beatitudes (What is the Christian vision for the world?)
The second is the "Grow" stage, designed for those who want to go further into exploration of the Christian faith to which they are already committed. It is designed so that the group can lead and guide themselves with some external help and support and is also structured around four themes of the Christian life:
  • The Creeds
  • The Sacraments
  • the Scriptures
  • Living in God's Church and in God's world
Each of the four sections in both the "Follow" and "Grow" stages consists of 6 sessions. There is a website with additional optional short video clips to introduce each session and conclude with reflection. The website also has details about how to order the materials.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Brits Abroad?

Clergy born in (left to right): Canada, Iceland, Cyprus, Burundi, South Africa, Finland, Sudan and (yours truly - Scotland)
One of the myths about this Diocese in Europe that is very frustrating to put to rest is that we are a basically a religious club for English people living abroad.

While many of our over 300 congregations have many, or even in some cases mostly English members, particularly in areas of the Diocese where a number of British people have retired, it is simply not accurate to describe our Diocese as the "Brits Abroad". We are a home for all who wish to worship with us, and that includes not just the English (and certainly not just Church of England folk) but English-speakers from a host of countries around the world. There are also some of our congregations which worship in languages other than English.

By way of illustration of our diverse and international make-up, at the recent synod of the Nordic / Baltic deanery, I looked around the room at the clergy and noted that 7 out of the 12 who were present were not born in England, and with one exception had not even lived in England at all. They hailed originally from Cyprus, Iceland, Burundi, Finland, South Africa, Sudan and Canada. (And one bishop from Scotland).

This was also true of the laity, adding in addition those born in the USA, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Nigeria and Denmark!

We are proud of being an international and multi-cultural jurisdiction of the Church of England, and have much to offer the rest of the Church from our rich experience in cross-cultural ministry. You can be a Church of England jurisdiction without being English.

The Revd Sammy Masemola from Bergen leads Bible Study for the Clergy Chapter
The Revd Deacon Christophe Ndikuriyo reports on work with migrant communities in Jelling, Denmark