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.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Welcoming priests appointed to serve in this diocese from across the Anglican Communion and Churches in Communion

We are blessed in this diocese for many of the clergy who serve our churches come from other parts of the Anglican Communion or from Churches in Communion with the Church of England. They bring a great richness and breadth of experience to us. There are, however, so many peculiarities in this particular Province of the Anglican Communion - rules, measures, canons and guidelines, that are often bewildering to those whose ministry has previously been outside the Church of England. And just to complicate things, there are particular norms and procedures which pertain to the unique context of this diocese. Even common terminology like "Churchwarden" denotes very different functions in different parts of the Anglican Communion.

By coincidence, five priests recently appointed to positions in this Diocese in Europe come from outside the Church of England. I therefore proposed a meeting for some orientation together, to provide a chance to cover some basic matters that will be useful to know in their new appointment and to have some conversation about the norms and procedures of this particular Church.

We gathered from Sunday 26 to Monday 27 in St George's Málaga. The priests have come to this diocese (or will shortly be starting their ministry here) from the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church USA, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad. They were joined by another priest who has been serving here for close to two years now, originally from the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, but who is just taking up the responsibilities of Area Dean of Morocco and the Canary Islands, Canon Medhat Sabry. Besides myself, the resource persons for the seminar were the Diocesan Secretary, Canon Adrian Mumford and the Archdeacon of Gibraltar Geoff Johnston.

What did we cover? 
  • A range of topics pertaining to governance in the Church of England, synodical government, Church Representation Rules
  • Electoral rolls, Annual General Meetings,
  • Functions of Churchwardens, Church Council, Archdeaconry Representatives, treasurers and secretaries
  • Annual returns to the Diocese, Annual Stipend Review, Statistics for Mission, Standard Accounts and Common Fund
  • Safeguarding requirements
  • Vocations, ministry of Readers, ministry of clergy with Permission to Officiate, Congregational Worship Leaders, Communion Assistants
  • Provisions for Communion by Extension, admission of children to Holy Communion before Confirmation, 
  • Liturgical matters, authorised liturgies, Book of Common Prayer, Common Worship, non-English language liturgies
  • matters related to marriages, blessings of civil marriages, remarriage of divorced
  • Ministerial Development Review, Continuing Education
  • Use of our Church buildings by other groups
  • Who's who on the diocesan staff and where to seek answers to questions or support for particular matters
It was an intense 24 hours, but an enjoyable one, as we got to know each other better and shared some of the joys and challenges of ministry, and discussed some possible issues that may be faced in the local parishes to which they have been appointed.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A joyful celebration as 18 are confirmed in St John's Casablanca

The Cross was lifted high in procession as 18 members of St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca were confirmed on Sunday 19th October. This was during the second of two regular Sunday services held each week. This particular service has a strong African flavour with music accompanied by the warm beat of drums. One particular song, written by Thomas (below) accompanied the sprinkling of the people after the re-affirmation of Baptismal Faith. It was entitled It is Raining and is about God's grace showering the people.

The confirmation candidates came from Liberia, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. Moving testimonies were given from 3 candidates about their journey into deeper faith and commitment as disciples of Jesus Christ.

The celebration continued in the lovely grounds of St John's Church, with a feast of African dishes.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Canon Medhat Sabry is the new Area Dean of Morocco and the Canary Islands.

On Sunday 19 October, in St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca, I commissioned the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry as Area Dean of Morocco and the Canary Islands. In this position, Canon Sabry will work with Archdeacon Geoff Johnston and myself in the oversight and pastoral care of the 10 or so congregations in this area of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar, the most south-westerly corner of the Diocese.

Canon Sabry with his wife Amal
There are two other Area Deans in the Gibraltar Archdeaconry. One serves Catalunya, Andorra and the Balearic Islands and the other serves Portugal and Madeira. A network of active Area Deans is essential to the life of this extensive diocese. From time to time the Area Deans assist parishes which are in a vacancy process with advice and guidance as they prepare all that is required to recruit and appoint a new priest, working with the archdeacon and bishop.

The licensing was held at the first of two regular Sunday morning services. There is an active Sunday school at both.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Vacancy spotlight: Assistant priest for St Vincent's Algarve, Portugal

One of the Churches used by St Vincent's: Nossa Senhora da Luz, Praia da Luz
The Senior Chaplain of St Vincent's Anglican parish, in the beautiful Algarve region of southern Portugal, wishes to appoint an assistant priest. It is a part-time position and thus would ideally suit a recently retired priest.

Here are the essential qualities being sought in the appointee:
  • a priest in the catholic tradition with a heart for evangelical outreach who can work in cooperation with the Senior Chaplain to meet the needs of the English speaking community. 
  • a priest whose life and teaching are solidly founded in Christ and his Gospel
  • a priest skilled in liturgy and leading public worship and who can preach with imagination
  • a gifted teacher to give spiritual guidance to both young and old. 
  • a priest who enjoys pastoral work. 
  • organisational skills, computer literate. 
A Church used by St Vincent's: Nossa Senhora da Fatima, Pereiras
The package on offer:
  • an attractive part stipend (no pension benefits)
  • fully furnished accommodation
  • provision of a car
  • generous expense provision for car and accommodation
The priest will have the support and enthusiasm of a ministry team (both ordained and lay), committed volunteers and an active Church Council.

Resolutions A and B are passed for ecumenical reasons.

For information please contact: The Senior Chaplain, Fr. Lars Nowen
Phone +351 282 789 660

The parish website is here.

Informal enquiries are welcome!

St Luke’s Gorjões, a Church in St Vincent's Chaplaincy

Vacancy spotlight: Priest-in-charge for the Anglican Church of Freiburg, Germany

The building used by Freiburg Anglican Church
I am currently seeking to appoint an experienced priest for the Anglican Church in Freiburg. This is a unique opportunity to minister in a vibrant growing community, set in the heart of the beautiful Black Forest area of South Germany.

The parish needs a good shepherd, an inspiring and accomplished teacher with an open-heart, an open-mind and a bold vision for ministry.

The successful appointee will:
be a good and enthusiastic communicator who is able to draw together a diverse community
be a good spiritual and pastoral leader
encourage, motivate, engage easily with and nurture a multi-cultural community
foster, nurture and promote the parish vision to become a community of grace
help the Anglican church in Freiburg flourish and grow in spirit, in numbers and financially.

Housing and part-stipend offered but no pension contributions. The overall package to support the right candidate can be tailored to individual circumstances. 

Please note there is some flexibility which can be accommodated in the overall package. If you are at all interested, you are encouraged to apply.

Further details and application form can be obtained from the Diocesan Appointments’ Secretary, Catherine Jackson (email: 4 Tufton Street London SW1P 3QZ.

The parish website is here:

Closing date for applications: 30 October 2014
Short listing date: 31 October 2014
Interview date: 13 November 2014

A recent parish "Away Day" 

Vacancy Spotlight: Holy Spirit Costa Blanca, house-for-duty priest

One of the Churches used in the Chaplaincy of Costa Blanca
The Anglican parish of Costa Blanca in Spain seeks to appoint a house-for-duty priest. The appointment is to begin after Easter 2015. Here are some details:
  • The appointee will join a large team with a Senior Chaplain, another House for Duty priest, a licensed Reader, 5 other resident and non-resident clergy with Permission to Officiate, all with excellent lay support. 
  • This post would suit an energetic, perhaps recently retired priest aged 65+, or possibly younger, who wishes to continue in ministry. 
  • The parish will provide accommodation: (or a housing allowance for an appointee to seek accommodation independently); a fully-maintained car; an annual honorarium of €6,500. 

Resolutions A and B have been passed for ecumenical reasons

For further details, contact: 
The Revd Marcus Ronchetti: 

Closing date for applications: 17 November 2014
Short listing date: 24 November 2014

Costa Blanca parish website is here.  This vacancy is also advertised on the Diocesan Website here.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Casablanca Nuptials

It is not often that I have a chance to preside at weddings any more. However, my recent pastoral visit to St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca was going to coincide with the marriage of two parishioners. The priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, thus arranged that I should preside at the nuptial ceremony on Saturday 18th of October. It was a very happy occasion, and the first marriage celebrated in St John's for about 16 years!

St John's is a very international Church. The bride and groom, Helen and Rahim, are from Nigeria and Liberia respectively. The Churchwardens of the parish, John and Angie, who were on hand to help with the bride's and the groom's parties, are from the USA and the Philippines. Together with the priest-in-charge who is Egyptian and I as a Scottish-Burmese-Canadian, it was a global event.

Churchwarden John Peterson (2nd from right) greets the groom's men
Churchwarden Angie Bermudez (right) organises the bridal party
The service of Holy Matrimony followed a civil ceremony which is required by law in Morocco.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New work of outreach to foreign Christians in Rabat

A weekly service for Anglican and English-speaking foreigners is being developed in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The priest-in-charge of St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca, the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry is leading this new work. Filipino Christians are among the first members of this congregation.

On a recent visit to Morocco, I was able to visit this congregation, and also bless sets of burses and veils in the 4 liturgical colours to be used at the eucharist. The service is held presently on Saturday evening, in the chapel of a Roman Catholic religious order the Filles du Coeur Immaculé de Marie.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Revd John Barker at service of peace and reconciliation in Etchmiadzin

On Sunday 12 October, the Revd John Barker, our priest in Yerevan, Armenia, was privileged to be invited by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II to attend a service of prayers for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, and in particular in Syria. This initiative was agreed at a recent inter-faith conference that was held in Etchmiadzin.

Prayers at the service were led by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians and His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem
The cathedral at Etchmiadzin was full for the service, and the congregation included significant numbers of Ambassadors and representatives of the international community. As well as our Church of England presence, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Armenia were present.

His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II

St Andrew's Puerto Pollensa welcomes Fr Nigel Stimpson as their new priest

Fr Nigel Stimpson
On Thursday 9 October, the parish of St Andrew's, Puerto Pollensa, in Mallorca, welcomed formally their new priest, the Revd Nigel Stimpson. Fr Nigel joins his colleague, the Revd David Waller who is based in St Philip and St James Church in Palma, in serving the large English speaking community who live on or visit this island. (Fr David Waller also serves as Area Dean for the Balearics and Catalunya).

The Church was packed for the licensing service, which was supported by music from two choirs. The congregation uses a new leased facility which from appearances may end up being too small if the congregational numbers increase any more!. We were joined by the Venerable Geoff Johnston, the Interim Archdeacon of Gibraltar.

Unfortunately, I was not joined by my luggage, which Iberia had misplaced. (The second time that they have done this to me on a pastoral visit to Mallorca). People were very kind and managed to cobble together what I needed for the occasion, however.

The service had ecumenical significance as well. The ecumenical officer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Palma de Mallorca, Fr Lorenzo, attended the eucharist and read a warm message of welcome to Fr Nigel from Bishop Javier. (Bp Javier would have attended personally, but was indisposed due to a recent accidental fall).

Fr Nigel comes to Mallorca from Lisbon, where he was chaplain of St George's with St Paul's Estoril. We assure him of our prayers as he takes up this new challenge in a different part of the Archdeaconry.

L to R: Fr Lorenzo, Area Dean David Waller, Bp David, Fr Nigel, Archdeacon Geoff Johnston

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Holy Trinity Madeira welcomes their new priest

The people of Holy Trinity Madeira celebrated the appointment and licensing of their new Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Canon John Blair, on Thursday the 9th October. Fr John is a Canon of Derry Cathedral in the Church of Ireland, having served as a parish priest and Rural Dean in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. Prior to that John served as an Army Chaplain, serving in the UK, in Germany and Bosnia. Fr John and his wife Jean know Madeira well from past holiday times and more recently with John as a regular locum priest, and both are looking forward to bringing their particular skills and experience to their new posting.

The licensing was carried out by Fr Bob Bates, the Area Dean for Portugal with Madeira. The photograph above shows the gathering on the church steps after the service, with Fr John (extreme right) and Jean (front with blue dress) alongside the Churchwardens and friends including other church leaders on the island, and the Mayor of Funchal (right of the cross).

Holy Trinity is a lively place. Although the resident English-speaking population is quite small, the church almost always filled on Sunday mornings with the many visitors who come to the island.

We wish John and Jean and the people of Holy Trinity every blessing in their new partnership in this parish, and welcome them warmly to this Diocese in Europe.

Holy Trinity Madeira

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Wanted: a new Priest-in-Charge of St Nicholas, Ankara, Turkey

St Nicholas Church
I am presently recruiting a priest-in-charge for a very stimulating position in the diocese: St Nicholas, Ankara. The position becomes vacant in January 2015 and is open to priests in communion with the Church of England, both men and women. This is a post which is suitable for someone recently retired but still interested in an active and engaging ministry.

There is a small stipend of approximately £620 per month (about US $980). Medical cover and other expenses of office are provided. The accommodation is a light and airy, concierge-served, fully furnished three bedroom apartment, with a separate study, lounge and dining area.

The essential qualities that are needed in the next priest include:

Wide and deep parish experience
Ability to develop parish relationships in a mobile community
Ecumenical and inter-faith sensitivity
An international outlook

Saint Nicolas is the only Anglican Church in the city and one of only a small number in Turkey. (The others are located in Istanbul, Izmir and Didim). Turkey is officially a secular nation but the vast majority of the population of Ankara is, like the rest of Turkey, Moslem. The parish offers worship and pastoral care in the Anglican tradition to the international community in Ankara. The congregation is dynamic and mobile with about a 30% turnover each year. Most are working for one of the various diplomatic missions, NGOs and the like.

Visitors and regular parishioners
The capital of Turkey, Ankara is a modern city of more than four million people, good facilities for healthcare and cultural activities.  St Nicholas is a modern building is located on the British Embassy compound. Customarily, the priest-in-charge is also chaplain to the British Ambassador.

The liturgical tradition is “catholic” but open, welcoming and inclusive. The sacrament is reserved, vestments and incense are used. Readings are often in various languages of the home countries of the members of the congregation. There is a ministry team of an assistant priest and lay ministers. There is an active Sunday school.

Ankara is on a major migration route from the Middle East to the West. Many members of St Nicholas are Christian refugees from Middle Eastern countries. The parish is active in ecumenical outreach to refugees and migrants.

If you are interested, or know of someone who is, please contact the Diocese in Europe Appointments Secretary, Ms Catherine Jackson:

Prayer before the Sunday liturgy

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Reader Workshop: Preaching the Word in Anglicanism

From the 23 to the 25 September twelve Readers and Readers in Training gathered in St Columba's House, Woking, to learn about ‘Preaching the Word in Anglicanism’. They came from Spain, the Netherlands, France, Greece and Gibraltar. Reader Jan Watershoot, of Holy Trinity Eindhoven in the Netherlands has written about the event:

"Every aspect of preaching was brought to the table.
On the first day Ms Jules Melvin, actress and producer, showed us all the ins and outs of posture, how to breathe, articulation (“lips, tongue, teeth”), gesticulation, facial expression and how to control the sounds that we produce. A very instructive session, especially if you realise that about 75% of your message comes across non-verbally.
On day two, in three sessions, Bishop David gave us a discourse about "Preaching in the Anglican tradition". Impossible within the scheme of this little article to explain everything the Bishop taught us. Still some important points: How to use the Bible in preaching, taking into account that the Bible is a human rendition of God’s message. The Bishop showed how important it is to distinguish between the ‘Word of God’ as the Logos, the Incarnate Word, and the ‘Word of God’ in the sense of Sacred Scripture. Divine Revelation is not primarily ‘information about God’, but God revealing himself to mankind in the Word made Flesh. We studied the way that God revealed himself in Jesus, 2000 years ago, but also how we at present receive that Divine Revelation, through the power of the Holy Spirit in us and the authentic inspired witness of Scripture.
We want our preaching to be biblical. What does that mean?
It is not the same as ‘Bible exposition’, explaining the text word by word.
It is not a chance to ‘show off’ our theological skills.
It is supposed to be ‘scholarly’, but not a lecture.
It is not just about the Message, but it should lead the people to the Messenger, to an encounter with the living Christ.
We also discussed some practical matters such as the number of points to try to make in a sermon (one good one is best!), and that a sermon needs a good beginning and a good end, and both of these should be kept quite close together! 
We concluded that a sermon is an event with active participants: the congregation, a preacher, Scripture and of course the Holy Spirit. It is ‘The Word of the Lord’ applied to the pastoral needs of a given time and place. Preaching and pastoral care are connected. 
On the third day, led by the Revd Elaine Labourel, we ‘played’ BBC radio ‘Thought for the day’. We all had a page from a newspaper from which to pick an article. We had to write s short message about the subject from the article, combined with a biblical message and a thought to chew on for the listeners. We all ‘preached’ our little sermons and were given feedback by Elaine, Canon Ulla Monberg, our Director of Training and our fellow Readers. A wonderful practical exercise!
All in all a great workshop: a lot to learn, the pleasure of good worship together, a lot to share with fellow Readers, a moment to meet old friends and make new ones. During days like these St. Columba’s is a good place to be!"

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Two new Churches enter the Porvoo Communion

Archbishop Rozitis of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad, signs the Porvoo Agreement
On 19 September, at the close of the meeting of Porvoo Church Leaders, the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad (LELCA) and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain (LCiGB) signed the Porvoo Declaration. The signing was during a solemn celebration of the Eucharist in the chapel at Bishopthorpe Palace, York, at which the Most Revd Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, preached and the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, presided.

Archbishop Almars Ernsts Rozitis of the LELCA and Bishop Martin Lind of the LCiGB signed on behalf of their Churches.

This "extension" of the Porvoo Communion came after a period of observer status for these Churches and eventual approval by the Porvoo Primates and members of the Contact Group. The welcoming of these Churches into the Communion makes possible the interchangeability of their priests with those of the other Churches of the Porvoo Communion, including our own Church of England.

Bishop Martin Lind (LCiGB) and Archbishop Elmars Rozitis (LELCA) flanked by the Archbishops of Dublin and York and the Bishop of Copenhagen and Presiding Bishop of Norway

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Leaders of Porvoo Churches in York

From 17 - 19 September, the Archbishop of York hosted at his residence, Bishopthorpe Palace, a gathering of 45 church leaders from the Porvoo Communion of Churches. The theme of the gathering was "Towards Greater Unity and Closer Fellowship". The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, and the Bishop of Copenhagen, Peter Skov-Jakobsen. As Chairman of the Porvoo Panel of the Church of England, I was an invited consultant to the meeting.

The meeting set out a work plan for the next 4 years which would take into account these themes which emerged from the meeting:

  • The role of servanthood, leadership and discipleship in authentic Christian witness, with a special focus on the current situation in Europe.
  • The need to provide space and opportunities for prayer, spiritual expression and pilgrimage.
  • The need for a refreshed emphasis in mission as a way of life with and in the community.
  • The importance of including young people emphasising their visible and active role in the life of the Communion.
  • The important contribution of majority and minority churches in the Porvoo Communion of Churches

Participants attended Evensong at York Minster each day.

The Porvoo Communion includes Churches, Anglican and Lutheran, from the British Isles and Ireland and the Nordic and Baltic countries.