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, 17 March 2014

Anglicans and Roman Catholics together on major faith initiative to combat human trafficking

For the first time in their history, people drawn from the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion have joined forces to combat modern slavery and human-trafficking. Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby have personally given their backing to the newly-formed Global Freedom Network.

The agreement to help eradicate an injustice affecting up to 29 million people was co-signed today, March 17th by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science, Bishop Sanchez Sorondo, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Egypt, Dr Mahmoud Azab and Mr Andrew Forrest, the founder of the large international philanthropic anti-slavery organisation from Perth, Western Australia “Walk Free”.  The network has the resources it needs to carry out a five year plan.

Archbishop Moxon has been closely involved in the negotiations which have brought about this landmark in church cooperation. He says –
“Human slavery is a plague on a vast scale in many countries across the world today. This situation is not improving but is probably deteriorating. To quote Pope Francis, ‘We must unite our efforts to free the victims and stop this increasingly aggressive crime which threatens not only individuals but the basic values of society.’ Today representatives from our Churches have made an agreement to act together: one Church, one world – God’s world – where everyone can walk free.”
Archbishop Moxon said that the Anglican Centre in Rome would support this new network in every way and would integrate its own time and energy into the cause as an example of practical mission-based ecumenism, where Anglicans and Roman Catholics working in good faith together with many others, will coordinate their efforts to challenge one of the world’s worst evils and greatest forms of suffering.

The Global Freedom Network has some of its earliest roots in the deep concerns about modern slavery shared when Archbishop Justin Welby visited Pope Francis in June 2013, followed by a conference held at the Vatican in early November on the initiative of Pope Francis, the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Science (PASS). The Network already has a Muslim representative partner on its Council and will seek to include other faiths over time, as there needs to be a multi-faith approach  to this multi-national tragedy.

It is estimated that between 12 and 27 million people worldwide are enslaved into forced labour and sexual exploitation. Each year, about 2 million people are victims of sexual trafficking, 60% of whom are girls. Human organ trafficking is rife: annually around 20,000 people are forced or deceived into giving up an organ (liver, kidney, pancreas, cornea, lung, even the heart).

For the full joint statement, click read more

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Please continue to pray for the Ukraine

This is a key weekend in Ukraine, with the controversial referendum in Crimea. I urge the faithful of the Diocese in Europe to continue to pray for the country and her peoples. On behalf of the diocesan family I sent the following message to the congregation of Christ Church Kiev today.

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Congregation of Christ Church, Kiev
I want to assure you of the continuing prayers of the people of the Diocese in Europe for the return to peace and stability in the Ukraine. We pray for all who are making efforts to bring a resolution to the divisions, through diplomatic means and dialogue, so that there can be an end to violence and threat.  We pray for all Church leaders who are making calls for peace and the building of a new spirit of  peace and harmony in the country. 
This weekend is going to be a significant one with the referendum in Crimea. We pray that the outcome will honour the democratic desires of the people of the region, and show the path towards reconciliation, away from confrontation, dangerous polarisation and division, and that the rights of all may be respected, whatever the outcome.  
In these tense, uncertain and difficult times, and we send you our fraternal love, and pray that God will strengthen your spirits and give you hope. 
In Christ Jesus

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Lenten prayer, in communion with all Christians

As we begin the journey of Lent towards the cross of Jesus, I share some images from a Turkish-language Taizé service recently held in the Church of the Resurrection, Istanbul. Young and old, gathered to pray at the foot of the cross, to hear the Word of God, and to join their voices in the gentle and ancient songs of Taizé.

The Revd Engin Yildirim, the priest-in-charge, has worked with a team to develop this ecumenical prayer service, bringing together Anglicans and many others from all the Christian traditions in Istanbul, to share what was described as "a very sweet spirit of prayer amongst people". Another comment about the service was that it fulfilled a dream shared for a long time "to help Christians to pray in communion".

May our Lenten journey as the people of this diocese be communion with Christians everywhere, knowing that God is leading us together as His people.
Living God, you bury our past in the heart of Christ and are going to take care of our future. (A prayer from Taizé)