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.

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Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Revd Vickie Sims licensed in All Saints, Milan

The Revd Vickie Sims formally began her ministry as Chaplain of All Saints Milan in a festive eucharistic service on Ascension Day 29 May. Vickie also has oversight of the Church of the Holy Ghost, Genoa and the Church of the Ascension, Cadenabbia. All Saints dates from the end of the 19th century. It plays an important role ecumenically in this the second city of Italy, the see of St Ambrose of Milan.

Archdeacon Jonathan Boardman chats to parishioners of All Saints
The Church was full and ecumenical guests were present from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the German Evangelical Church and the Salvation Army. Archdeacon Jonathan Boardman was present formally to seat Vickie in her stall, following the receipt of her licence. Clergy and Readers from the Archdeaconry of Italy and many of Vickie's former colleagues and friends from the UK came to support her new ministry.

The Revd Vickie Sims (left) with former fellow student from Cuddesdon
A warm and congenial reception was held for the congregation in the courtyard after the service, at which members and visitors to All Saints from around the world mingled and wished the new priest well. The parish motto is, fittingly: A Place to Become. A Place to Belong 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Curates from across the diocese come together for training in liturgy and worship

Training for the priesthood or the diaconate in the Church of England takes about 7 years. 3 of those years of study and formation are normally completed before ordination. 3 - 4 years of training and formation continue after ordination, in what was once called "post-ordination training". Today this is called IME 4 - 7. Such post-ordination training is compulsory in the Church of England. In the Diocese in Europe IME 4 - 7 is delivered in residential sessions held twice a year.

A recent IME 4-7 session focussing on aspects of liturgy and worship took place at St. Columba's House, Woking, from May 13-16. Ten curates gathered from across the Diocese in Europe, from Armenia, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and Spain. They spent an inspiring couple of days exploring our rich liturgical tradition, from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer to the many possibilities offered in Common Worship. The residential sessions also provide an opportunity for the Director of Training to have conversations with each curate about their progress in the early years of ministry.

The Revd Canon Ulla Monberg thanks the Revd Lindsay Yates for her facilitation of the IME 4 - 7 sessions
The sessions on liturgy and worship were facilitated by the Revd Lindsay Yates, until recently Chaplain of Westcott House Cambridge, Canon William Gulliford, the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, and Canon Ulla Monberg, the Diocesan Director of Training.

Canon Monberg reports that the evaluation forms completed by the participants indicate that the sessions were a valuable, enriching and enjoyable time for the curates.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bishop John Satterthwaite, RIP

It is with great sadness that I announce to the people of the diocese that Bishop John Satterthwaite died peacefully this morning, 23 May. He was 88.

Bishop John Satterthwaite has a permanent place in the history of this Diocese in Europe. He came into his episcopal ministry from a background outstanding ecumenical work, especially from his time as the General Secretary of the Church of England's Council in Foreign Relations. In that ecumenical work he forged so many significant friendships with Heads of Churches and other Church leaders in Europe which set the course for this diocese playing a role in nurturing those ecumenical links to this day.

He served the congregations in Europe first as Bishop of Fulham, then as Bishop of Gibraltar, and finally as the first diocesan bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. Indeed the foundation of this diocese in its present form as a diocese of the Church of England in 1980 is part of his legacy to the Church.

He is warmly remembered for his gifts as a diplomat, ecumenist, pastor and congenial host.

The clergy and people of the diocese now commend him into the loving arms if his Heavenly Father. May he rest in peace.

O God, who called your servant John to serve as a bishop in your Church; enfold him into the arms of your mercy, and grant him the blessed rest of everlasting peace in the glorious company of the apostles and saints.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

A joyful celebration of faith in Vienna

Archdeacon Patrick Curran looks on as Gospel affirms his faith
Is this your faith? This is my faith.

With this bold response to the question posed by the bishop a wonderfully named candidate for Holy Baptism - Gospel - declared his readiness to become a member of the Body of Christ through this Sacrament. Gospel was then joined by other members of the parish of Christ Church, Vienna, and one candidate from St Margaret's in Budapest, in receiving the Apostolic Rite of Confirmation.

Although it is a long service, the Common Worship liturgy of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion can be a powerful and dramatic witness to the redemption in Christ which is at the heart of our Christian faith. It also reminds all the faithful of our mission to "shine as a light in the world to the glory of God the Father", as the new disciples lead us out into the world bearing their lit candles.

Christ Church, Vienna was full for a joyous celebration on Sunday 18 May, and the parishioners provided a warm welcome to the candidates, their family and friends, in the nearby church hall.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

It's about Europe, it's about you!

27 of the 44 countries covered by the Diocese in Europe are member states of the European Union. Tomorrow, 22 May, EU citizens go to the polls to elect members to the European Parliament. 

From my discussions around the diocese, I have been heartened to learn how seriously the many EU citizens who are members of our congregations and resident in those countries will be taking their democratic responsibility. 

Europe faces many problems. Yet the elections present a chance for EU citizens to make contributions to overcoming extremism, renewal of solidarity, respect of differences and sharing responsibility.

To encourage Christians who are EU citizens to cast their vote tomorrow, the General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the Revd Dr Guy Liagre, has issued a statement about the elections, entitled: It’s about Europe, it’s about you!  I have posted the statement below.

The elections to the European Parliament are an opportunity for each citizen of the European Union to make their voices heard and to shape our common future. It belongs to the Christian understanding of the role of each person in society not to hide individual responsibility for the development of the community.

Every day the European Union pervades our life in many different ways. At this particular time, when the daily existence of millions of people in Europe is affected by the continuing impacts of the economic and financial crisis, when peace and reconciliation neither in society, nor within the continent as such are any longer as obvious as it used to be just a couple of years ago, and when the future of Europe more than ever raises questions and concerns, the Conference of European Churches (CEC) urges Christians all over the European Union, members of our  member churches, to seize the opportunity of the upcoming elections to cast their votes for candidates promoting peace, reconciliation, societal justice and cooperation instead of extremism and separation.

As was expressed in an earlier statement on the topic by CEC Governing Board, our vision is ‘Europe as a place of peace, solidarity and cooperation.’ For this particular reason: “CEC invites its member churches to stand up actively against extremist positions that are contrary to basic standards of humanity and that deny values on which the European tradition has been built and that stand against basic principles of Christian ethics and faith.”

We wish to express our support for those candidates standing in elections who value human life and the dignity of each individual without distinction. Christians all over Europe have a long-standing tradition in working towards justice and fairness in interpersonal relations, in cooperation among nations, as well as in our relation to the world. This should drive us to make our position clear also in the upcoming elections.

For more information about themes related to the elections important for CEC, its member churches and our partners you are invited to read the CEC leaflet and the website A voice for a Europe of peace, solidarity and cooperation is crucial at this particular moment!
Rev Dr Guy Liagre
CEC General Secretary
CEC General Secretary, Guy Liagre

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Gala Concert organised by Christ Church Vienna

Musicians from the Christ Church Vienna Gala Concert
Most of our Churches in the Diocese in Europe must raise funds from stewardship and from special events to pay their expenses - including clergy stipends, housing and pension. (Only in Belgium and Luxembourg is support available from the state). This means that our Church Councils and dedicated volunteers spend many hours each year in fund-raising activities. Some imaginative lay members of Christ Church Vienna staged a very successful event on Friday 16 May: a Gala Concert, held in the residence of the British Ambassador. Well over 120 tickets were sold for a concert featuring outstanding musicians followed by a buffet supper.

The musicians performing were Margit Urbanetz Vig (violin and Viola d'Amore), Jack Ridley (piano), Johanna Cabili-Reuss (soprano, accompanied by Rié Capek-Suzuki) and Stephen Chaundy (tenor, accompanied by Antoinette Van Zabner). Jack is also Christ Church's director of music and Johanna sings in the choir.

Archdeacon Patrick Curran with ordinand from Christ Church, Mr Mike Waltner
It is hard to conceive of a more international congregation than Christ Church, Vienna. The Chaplain, the Venerable Patrick Curran, (who is also the Archdeacon of the East), informed me that there are people on the electoral roll from 34 different countries.

In recent years the parish has produced two ordinands who will be ordained in English dioceses this Petertide. Another, Mike Waltner, is presently studying at the Eastern Regional Ministry Course while he continues to work at the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, an international organisation based in Vienna.

The newly elected Church Council is working on the results of a congregation-wide survey related to the life of the parish and its mission. Several priority areas are emerging related to ministry and leadership resources, financial planning, addressing the needs of the younger generation, enhancing the inclusive life of the congregation, worship, increasing social opportunities for members and improving communications.

In the area of outreach, in 2013 - 2014, the Church supported an impressive number of charities such as the Austrian Bible Society, various Child Protections Centres in Austria, the Committee for Christian-Jewish Cooperation in Austria, Churches in India and emergency relief in the Philippines. This year, a new project is being added: support a feeding programme in the city for recently released prisoners.

Members of the Vienna Church Council considering a report on one of the parish priorities

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Pray for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

People across the diocese and across the world have been appalled by the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Boko Haram insurgency several weeks ago. In this diocese we have a large community of Nigerians who are a central part of our Church life in every country that we serve. It is appropriate that this Sunday we join with them in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls.

In the intercessions at services on Sunday, petitions can be included for:

  • the safety of the kidnapped schoolchildren,  that they may God’s love and care in this time of fear, and that God may comfort their families and friends and grant repose to all who may have been killed in violence perpetrated by this insurgency group.
  • the Nigerian Government and the international community, that they may find effective strategies to resolve this present crisis and to address the on-going incessant killing and abduction activities of the Boko Haram group.
  • leaders in Nigeria to find ways to address the religious dimension of the insurgency through dialogue with Islamic clerics to encourage faithfulness to the teaching of their faith which abhors all violence and coercion in the name of religion.

O God, we cry out to you for the lives and the freedom of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria.In their time of danger and fear, pour out your strong Spirit for them. Make a way home for them in safety. Make a way back for them to the education that will lift them up. Hold them in the knowledge that they are not captive slaves, they are not purchased brides,but they are your beloved daughters,and precious in your sight. Change the hearts and minds of their kidnappers and of all who choose violence against women and girls. Cast down the mighty from their seat, and lift up the humble and meek,through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

St Andrew's Zurich, a welcoming international congregation

St Andrew's Zurich, true to form as an international congregation, presented 9 candidates for confirmation on Sunday 11th May, from at least a half dozen different national backgrounds. One candidate, Sergio (originally from the Dominican Republic) was also baptised at the service and received particularly warm support and congratulations from his fellow confirmands.

The parish is embarking on a consultation among parishioners to agree some "core values" for the life of the church. This will be helpful background to the work that the Church Council will soon need to engage in as it begins to work with the diocese in the recruitment of a new Chaplain. The Revd Canon John Newsome is due to retire on 31 October. Fr John is presently the longest-serving priest in this diocese, having completed 28 years serving in Hamburg, Bonn/Cologne and Zurich.

Fr John is assisted by Assistant Chaplain the Revd Sara MacVane and Readers Brother Marcel Benedict and Carolyn Jay. The team also serve daughter congregations in St Gallen and Zug.

The Revd Canon John Newsome

Monday, 5 May 2014

French Synod explores the theme "Equipping for Mission"

The Synod of the Archdeaconry of France met from Wednesday 30 April until Saturday 3 May at St Jacut de la Mer in Brittany. Clergy and laity representing the over 60 congregations in France and Monaco gathered with their Archdeacon Ian Naylor to do the routine business of synod but also to spend some time reflecting on the theme "Equipping for Mission".

Dr Clare Amos
Several key resource persons provided input on the synod theme. Dr Clare Amos, the World Council of Churches' Programme Executive for Inter-Religious Dialogue and Cooperation gave two inspiring Bible studies on the ending of each of the four Gospels, lifting up the mission mandate for the infant Church which is embedded in their concluding chapters.

The Revd Canon Philip Mounstephen, CMS
The Revd Canon Philip Mounstephen, formerly of St Michael's Paris and now Executive Leader of the Church Mission Society, spoke on the local and global dimensions to the Church's mission. The Revd Keith Lamdin, Principal of Sarum College, Salisbury, gave two papers looking at spirituality and leadership for mission.  Mr Paul Simmonds introduced the Foundations21 resource which will be available to the diocese for deepening Christian learning and discipleship.

Fr Franck Lemaître (Rt) with  French ARC member the Revd John Murray 
Fr Franck Lemaître, the ecumenical officer of the French RC Bishops' conference also attended the synod, a sign of the close collaboration between the French RC Church and the Church of England in France. The Anglican-Roman Catholic (ARC) dialogue in France has been working most recently on a study of the Daily Office as a shared gift of Anglican and Roman Catholic communities, and has prepared material to be used in ecumenical gatherings. This Daily Office project was inspired by its study of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission's text, Growing Together in Unity and Mission.

During Evening Prayer on Thursday, the Feast of SS Philip and St James, I commissioned two Area Deans to work with the Archdeacon of France, the Revd Canon Debbie Flach (Lille) and the Revd Canon Andrew Hawken (Midi Pyrénées and Aude).

L to R: Bp David, (St Jacut), Canons Flach and Hawken, Archdeacon Naylor, Reader John Errey

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Women priests of the Diocese at the national 20th anniversary service in St Paul's

L to R: Debbie Flach, Adèle Kelham, June Hutchinson, Jill Strachan, Hazel Door, Ulla Monberg, a male interloper, Anne Jenkins and Mary Strommen
The Diocese in Europe was well represented at the national service to mark the 20th anniversary of the priesting of women in the Church of England on Saturday 3 May. There were 8 women clergy who joined the thousands from other parts of the Church of England and overseas for the celebration: Jill Strachan (Aquitaine), June Hutchinson (Midi-Pyrénées), Debbie Flach (Lille), Hazel Door (Poitou-Charentes), Mary Strømmen (Trondheim), Adèle Kelham (Lausanne) and Anne Jenkins (Costa Brava) and Ulla Monberg (Diocesan Staff).

The celebration began as hundreds gathered in Dean's Yard, Westminster for a "walk of witness" to St Paul's Cathedral for the service. Many bemused tourists stopped us along the 2 mile route to ask what we were about. I had a couple of interesting conversations with visitors from Spain who had clearly never see a single woman priest before, let alone a procession of hundreds!

The service at St Paul's, at which the Archbishop of Canterbury preached, was filled to overflow, with many outside in Paternoster Square watching on a large screen. A prolonged applause of over 15 minutes accompanied the procession of 700 women who had been among the first to be ordained priest in 1994. Among these special guests were our own Canon Ulla Monberg and the Revd Anne Jenkins, pictured below.

From the collect at the anniversary eucharist:

Let your priests be clothed with righteousness and your faithful ones sing for joy as we celebrate our common humanity, our shared ministry, and our joint service, in proclaiming the mighty acts of the one who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.