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Friday, 28 November 2014

A resident priest for the English Church in Heidelberg: a new chapter

The Reverend Dr Elizabeth Koepping, formerly the Assistant Priest at Christ Church Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland has been appointed to be the Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church in Heidelberg, Germany with effect from 14th September 2014. She was licensed as priest-in-charge on 19 October by the Area Dean of Germany, the Revd Canon Ken Dimmick.

Elizabeth comes to this diocese from having taught social anthropology and education at various universities in Australia and Germany and most recently lecturing in World Christianity and Religious Studies in the School of Divinity in Edinburgh. Her research has taken her to many countries including Tonga, Burma, Korea, Ghana, Germany, India, and Trinidad.

The English Church in Heidelberg has a long history. In 1613, Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, took up residence in the Castle after her marriage to the German Elector Friedrich V.  She had a priest with her, the Revd Dr Alexander Chapman. who led Church of England services in the castle chapel. (In 1619 the poet and priest John Donne preached there while on a diplomatic mission to Germany).

The English community negotiated a church of their own in the 19th century, a former chapel of a Dominican convent. It became known as "the English Church". In WWI the church was closed. In 1936 the building was then given to the Old Catholic parish, which is based there to this day. In 1971 Anglican services restarted in the (now Old Catholic) Church.

This is a new chapter in the life of the Anglican church in Heidelberg. For many years, the congregation was served by visiting locum priests. In recent years, the Church Council worked with me and the then Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe to explore a new phase of ministry, with a resident priest-in-charge, who could bring continuity to parish life allowing the possibility for development, growth and outreach. There are many English-speaking students and residents in this historic university city.

Dr Koepping will be assisted by the licensed Reader, Dr Rosemary Selle, who, in the absence of a resident priest, has given outstanding lay leadership in the congregation for many years.

Dr Rosemary Selle

1 comment:

  1. Gute Entscheidung!
    Macht Sinn, die anglikanische Präsenz in der Region durch eine weitere, kompetente Priesterin zu verstärken. Aber eben nicht nur für Englisch Sprechende, sondern auch die zahlreichen Deutschen, die in unsere Gemeinden kommen. Die Einordnung der Gemeinde in Heidelberg zeigt, dass da nach wie vor eine angemessene Analyse der Situation vor Ort aussteht.

    Ebenso überfällig wäre eine bessere Vernetzung der anglikanischen Priesterinnen und Priester (der CofE und anderer Kirchen). Dazu hat die Diözese leider in den letzten 4 Jahren viel zu wenig Engagement gezeigt und das, was vor Ort geschieht oder noch weiter geschehen kann, zu wenig unterstützt.