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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

St Andrew's Tangier welcomes a resident priest-in-charge

The Revd Joe Ponic (centre) with Parish Reps Irwin Timms (left) and Leyton Williams. Canon Medhat Sabry of Casablanca is on the right
St Andrew's Church in Tangier is about to enter a new phase of its life. This historic Church, built in 1894 on land donated to the British Community by King Hassan I of Morocco, is home to an international community of English-speaking Christians. For decades the parish has been served by a rota of faithful locum priests who spend a brief time in the city ministering to what was at one time a largely British expatriate population.

In recent years the parish has grown and the profile of the foreign community has changed significantly. Now St Andrew's serves many people from sub-saharan African countries, as well British, US, Australian and other expat communities. There are new opportunities for ministry with foreign students who are attending some international university programmes based in Tangier.

After a period of consultation with the Churchwardens about the future, we agreed to move ahead to appoint a long-term resident priest-in-charge. The Revd Joseph Ponic was interviewed for the post on 8 September, and appointed. He begins his ministry almost immediately. Fr Joe comes from the Diocese of Saskatoon in Canada, about as contrasting a place as is possible from Morocco! He has a long experience in interim ministry and in parishes in Canada. He has also taught for a while in Egypt.

St Andrew's is one of several churches in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar which are showing remarkable signs of growth and potential and it is good that the parish now has a resident priest-in-charge to accompany the congregation in these next important steps. We welcome Fr Joe to this diocese.

St Andrew's is an architectural gem. The interior is designed with Moorish elements. A historic cemetery adjoins the Church. The property is looked after by Yaseem, a Muslim who lives on the site. His father Mustafa was the caretaker for many years before him.

The French artist Henri Matisse has painted St Andrew's. The original hangs in a museum in Moscow.

Yaseem the Caretaker


  1. I was thinking its nit St Andrews any more its St Christopher Gibbs

  2. Christopher Gibbs R.I.P sadly passed away