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.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Growth, faith, and good wine in St Pargoire

I have been to Church Council meetings in many different places, but none quite so unusual as this one during my recent visit to the English Church at St Pargoire, in France. The meeting was in a warehouse belonging to a parishioner, Simon Caulshaw, who happens also to be a vintner, producing excellent vins du terroir, in this part of deepest Languedoc (Domaine des Trinités, if you're interested!)

The meeting ended with a little sampling of Simon's excellent range.

The highlight of the parish visit was the confirmation of Alice, Simon and Monica's daughter. It was a joyful gathering of parishioners and friends. The Revd Roger Smith has nurtured this congregation for the past three years from a small group to a parish with close to 70 on the electoral roll.

Alice was supported by her close friends for the ceremony, who accompanied her through the rite, including gathering with her at the baptismal font for the renewal of vows.

The morning concluded with the customary sumptuous French lunch, accompanied by. .. some local wines provided by Alice's family, of course.


Friday, 28 October 2016

An unusual "concelebration"

The blessing of pets and animals is often celebrated on October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, or on a Sunday near that date. This coincides with the end of "Creationtide", originally an Eastern Orthodox initiative, which has spread to other Churches.

Our Director of Ordinands, the Revd Canon William Gulliford, is also the vicar of St Mark's Regent's Park in London. The London Zoo happens to be in his parish so obviously St Francis Day has to be celebrated in style.

On 2 October, he gathered with one of our diocesan curates, the Revd Doreen Cage, and about 100 parishioners at the Zoo, for a service before the penguin pool. Mother Doreen is a great animal lover, and in addition to her priestly duties runs a home for dogs in the hills above Malaga city, where is an assistant curate in St George's.

There are two remarkable things about the photo above. One is to observe Fr William engaging in an action song! The other is the penguin in the bottom left, dressed not too differently from the priests, apparently concelebrating the feast!

Fr William and Mother Doreen

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Fr Amos's refugee ministry is back on the road again!

Fr Amos in his new (second-hand, that is) vehicle
Fr Amos is mobile again! Thanks to a generous grant from USPG, matched by funds from the Diocesan Board of Finance, the Revd Amos Manga is back on the road ministering to refugees in Finland.

Fr  Amos is himself a refugee from South Sudan. He is the priest-in-charge of what we call the White Nile congregations in Finland. This is a remarkable ministry among the many refugees who have been resettled in Finland, from Sudan and South Sudan. This pastoral work requires extensive travel across this vast country to where the refugees have been resettled. A vehicle is an absolutely essential tool for this work. A while back, his former, very old car, simply died. Since then, Fr Amos has been limited in the scope of his work which requires him to travel to very scattered communities in this vast country.

According to Fr Amos, in recent months, several hundred new families have arrived and are now settled around mainly Northern Finnish cities: Kokkola, Kotka, Närpiö, Vaasa, Oulu, Lahti, with a small number in Helsinki and environs itself.

South Sudanese refugee youth at a confirmation in Vaasa
Fr Amos holds services (in Juba Arabic!) in many centres and also has camps for refugee youth, to assist with their cultural integration. Many adults in the White Nile congregations are also engaged in English-language classes, preparing for the day when they might be able to return to South Sudan, where English is now an official working language.

Here is a short interview with Fr Amos, recorded at the Nordic/Baltic synod meeting in Riga in September:

Many thanks to USPG (and the Diocesan Board of Finance) for their generous support to make this vital ministry possible.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Diocese in Europe, accompanied by our Anglican Communion and Ecumenical partners, consult on refugee issues in Europe

The Revd Dr Rachel Carnegie of the Anglican Alliance leads discussions on the Church's engagement
Representatives from our Diocese in  Europe, together with representatives from the congregations of the Episcopal Church in Europe came together for a 24 hour consultation in Cologne, Germany this week, to consider the matter of refugees and migrants in Europe. The consultation was sponsored by the Anglican Alliance, USPG, and the Weidenfeld Foundation,  We were joined by representatives from the Church in Wales, the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East’s Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, and the Diocese of Canterbury. Ecumenical partners included the Roman Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Lutheran World Federation, the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, the UNHCR, and the Church Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME).

There was a rich sharing of experiences and a realisation that there is a wealth of good practice, models, partnerships, and wisdom among our Christian communities on the continent of Europe, Morocco and Turkey. The challenges are great - even global, but the Church is able to provide a flexible, local, human response. A summary of the many ways and potential ways for engagement will be produced by the Anglican Alliance for our use. There was fruitful discussion around four varieties of ways of engagement as Christians:

  • Hands - practical help and skills
  • Hearts - spiritual gifts, prayer, wisdom
  • Heads - legal, linguistic, communications, project management skills and expertise
  • Human - networking, relationship building, providing space for discussion, linking to local NGOs and governmetn services. 

Gavin Drake from the Anglican Communion Office Communications department reported on the event for the Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS, He summarised a reflection I gave at the end of the event: 

Bishop Hamid said "that Europe was suffering from “an epidemic of amnesia” in which the Church had a role to be the “bearer of memory . . . to remind the community of who we are, where we have been, and where we have come from.”

He said: “The collapse of our moral leadership in the EU states, in the face of the current movements of peoples that we experienced in the past couple of years, is incredible in light of what this very continent has experienced during and in the aftermath of World Wars. . .

“We know, living in Europe, that there is growing conservatism, nationalism and in some places a right-wing ascendency. It is all feeding and growing fear and xenophobia. In all of this the church’s role is to make sure the truth is told.”

He challenged churches to “gently to correct the narrative” and to challenge in preaching and teaching, “the growing toxic narrative around the world.”

But it wasn’t all bad news. He said that the diocese was in a unique position to develop the practice of “migrants helping migrants.”

He said: “I know there is some dispute about the use of that term, but we as Anglicans in Europe are largely – not exclusively, but largely – a migrant church. We are a diaspora. We are not in our homeland, most of us. We are not in the land of our birth.

“So we should have a natural set of gifts to be able to share with other Christians in these lands – charisms that go with being a migrant church.”

He recognised that the consultation was addressing the needs of people who “are not voluntary migrants” but said that the experience of church members who “had to find in the land they moved to” local knowledge, local values, language skills, networks of support, and ways that families could flourish were “gifts that we know and can share . . . migrant to migrant.”

He asked: “Can it be that God has planted us here as Anglicans on this western fringe of the Eurasian continent to, at this day, take up this particular missionary challenge?”  

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Gift to St Nicolas Ankara from Iranian parishioners

In our parish of St Nicolas, Ankara, there are a number of members from Iran. These members have often faced great hardship because of their religion. The priests and people of St Nicholas offer pastoral care, counsel, and fellowship in a warm Christian community in this parish situated at the crossroads between East and West.

Three Iranian women parishioners recently painted a mural for St Nicolas, as a gift to the community which has welcomed them and supported them. The mural which depicts the Resurrection in Eastern style is pictured above.

The women have written this comment about their work:
We are three Iranian sisters who live in Cankiri, a city in Turkey.
We are interested in art and painting. We used to paint portraits and landscapes, but were always searching for our own style. On the day we were born again and received Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we knew that we were to paint the word of God . We believe that people can turn to God through painting, just as well as through sermons. We therefore call our work a "visual sermon". By the help of God and the support and assistance from the Church, we were able to do a small service to St Nicolas' Church in Ankara.
The subject of this painting is the resurrection of Christ. We hope that our picture conveys the message of God's endless love for all mankind. We wish that with each brush stroke that we can bring hope to those who have lost it.
Our desire is this work is appreciated and we believe that with grace the of God we will be able to do this type of service more in the future. We sincerely thank all whom helped us in this service.
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

IARCCUM summit concludes and a new chapter in Anglican-Roman Catholic official relations begins

IARCCUM Bishops exchange the peace with the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury

The IARCCUM summit meeting of 36 bishops chosen as official representatives by their Churches from around the world for a momentous pilgrimage together to both Canterbury and Rome, has now drawn to an end. The summit marks the beginning of a new chapter of the official relations between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church.

IARCCUM stands for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. I have the great privilege of being the Anglican co-chairman of the commission; my Roman Catholic counterpart is Archbishop-designate of Regina, Canada, the Most Revd Donald Bolen.

Dr Anna Rowlands accompanies the bishops on their (theological) journey

It was a packed week with significant times for prayer and worship in such places as Canterbury Cathedral, St Peter's Basilica and St Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome. Much hard work was done in plenary and small group work and drafting sessions. There were very important meetings and encounters with the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pietro Parolin (the Vatican's Secretary of State), Cardinal Kurt Koch (President of the Pontifical Council for the Promoting Christian Unity) and other officials. We received major theological input from Dr Anna Rowlands of Durham University on the Social Teaching of Anglicans and Roman Catholics. We made and heard presentations at a major academic symposium held in the Gregorian University.  And deep and committed friendships were formed.

Archbishop Don Bolen (rt) co-chairs IARCCUM session with Archbishop Welby

It is impossible to summarise the many fruitful outcomes of the summit. In the days and weeks ahead these will appear on our official IARCCUM website, which is linked to from this blog. Nevertheless here are some very brief highlights which point to the historic nature of this meeting:

We affirmed our common faith

  • We recognise each other as brothers and sisters in Christ through baptism. 
  • We have found significant agreement about Eucharistic doctrine, ministry and salvation. 
  • We have reached important convergence on authority, the Church as communion, moral principles, Mary and the saints, and episcopacy (including the role of the bishop as the symbol and promoter of unity). 
  • We share common traditions in liturgy, spirituality, and forms of consecrated and monastic life.
  • We have noted the complementarity of our social teaching and of our pastoral efforts to live the Gospel of mercy and love. 

IARCCUM bishops at Mass in St Peter's, Rome

We discovered deep dimensions to the "certain but imperfect communion" we share: 
  • "An ecumenism of the cross" uniting us as we bear together the plight of our people who face the challenges of our troubled world, as we stand with the poor, and reaching out together to reveal Christ’s presence among those at the margins of our world. 
  • “An ecumenism of humiliation” as we share the brokenness of our church communities, our failure to protect children and vulnerable people from abuse, women from violence, and indigenous people from exploitation.
  • "An ecumenism of hope" as we commit to working in the power of Holy Spirit, walking alongside each other in healing the world’s wounds, "dispelling the gloom of this world with the light of the Gospel, with the non-violent power of a love that conquers sin and overcomes death.” 
Anglican Co-Secretary Canon Dr John Gibaut (left) and RC Co-Secretary, Fr Tony Currer (right)

A commission from Pope and Archbishop 

At a service they jointly led at the Church of San Gregorio al Celio, while referring to obstacles to our full unity, Pope Frances and Archbishop Justin Welby nevertheless stated that despite these differences "we are undeterred". The Pope and Archbishop commissioned the IARCCUM bishops

  • to engage in an "ecumenical mission to those on the margins of society" 
  • to "work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ", 
  • to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon. 
  • to be "artisans of healing and reconciliation in the power of the Gospel", and 
  • to "go forth as pairs of pilgrims, returning to our home nations and regions to encourage common prayer, mission and witness".

IARCCUM bishops

So much more can be said, and our IARCCUM work in a new and vigorous phase now begins.

Dr Anna Rowlands with Bishop Alwin Samuel from Sialkot, Pakistan 

Below is the official communiqué from the IARCCUM summit.


Commnuniqué from IARCCUM Summit
"New steps on an ancient pilgrimage: Together from Canterbury to Rome"

30 September – 7 October 2016

IARCCUM 2016 has been an extraordinary, historic summit, rich in symbolism and significance for the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church.

It brought together 36 bishops from around the world for a week in Canterbury and Rome to celebrate the deepening relationship between the two traditions over the past 50 years – and to find practical ways to work together to demonstrate that unity to the world and address its social and pastoral issues.

The highlight was the mandating of the bishops by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a service they jointly led at the church of San Gregorio al Celio. The service also saw the Pope and Archbishop exchange gifts as a sign of friendship – echoing the moment in 1966 when Pope Paul VI presented his papal ring to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey – a moment that ushered in a new era of dialogue.

The days in Rome also saw the formal presentation of a document detailing 20 years of work on reconciling the two traditions by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. And the bishops attended a symposium on current relations between the churches and the possibilities of future co-operation and dialogue.

The time in Canterbury was also rich in symbolism. The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, David Hamid, gave the homily at a Catholic Vigil Mass in the undercroft of the Cathedral. The following day, the Archbishop-elect of Regina, Donald Bolen, preached the sermon at the Sung Eucharist.

Bishop David – who co-chairs IARCCUM with Archbishop Don – said the summit had been an historic time in the history of our official dialogue, and deeply valuable.

“This has been an immensely rich occasion, full of significance for our two traditions. It has been a source of deep joy to all the bishops gathered from all over the world, who have shared their experiences, their challenges and their wisdom. It was a profound time of collegiality and communion, and they are inspired now to go out into the world and work together for unity and common mission.”

Archbishop Don said it had been an incredible time and he was excited about the future.

“The bishops engaged in everything in a way that was beautiful to see. Strong friendships have formed. In our discussions, we did not shy away from the difficulties we sometimes face. But the possibilities for our two traditions working together in a needy world are abundant and promising.”

One of the bishops, Archbishop Paul Nabil El Sayah from Beirut said the summit had been a joyful occasion that would yield practical results.

“The atmosphere has been very positive,” he said. “You can feel there is deep, sincere fellowship and a willingness to bring new things forward. I am completely sold on practical ecumenism. I see lots of potential. This is not about looking inwards but about coming to the outside world together. The more we come together, the more our message has credibility.”

Bishop Alwin Samuel, from Sialkot in Pakistan, has been working alongside Archbishop Sebastian Shaw from Lahore during the summit. Bishop Alwin said he was looking forward to collaborating more with the Catholics at home.

“We have been looking at how we can take concrete steps towards unity. One example is where we have existing projects of our own. We looked at how we could begin to work together on them. For example, in areas such as health, especially women’s health, where one church might provide the resources and the other would deliver them.”

Presenting the work of IARCCUM at a symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University

Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Welby with IARCCUM bishops at the Anglican Centre in Rome

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

IARCCUM bishops have begun their work in Canterbury

The Bishops process into Canterbury Cathedral

After more than a year in planning, the summit of IARCCUM bishops is now underway. IARCCUM stands for the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. Since 2012 I have been the Anglican Co-chairman of this Commission. The Roman Catholic Co-chairman is Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon, Canada. (Bishop Bolen is soon to be the Archbishop of Regina).

The summit has together pairs of bishops, Anglican and Roman Catholic, from 19 regions of the world, for prayer, study, and preparation for joint witness and action. The summit is called "New Steps on an Ancient Pilgrimage: Walking Together from Canterbury to Rome".

IARCCUM was established by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church as an official component of our international dialogue, working in parallel with the theological commission known as ARCIC. IARCCUM’s purpose is:

  1. to facilitate the development of strategies for translating the degree of spiritual communion that has been achieved into visible and practical outcomes;
  2. to promote and monitor the formal response and reception of the agreed statements of ARCIC;
  3. to strengthen relations between ARCIC and national Anglican-Roman Catholic Commissions (ARCs), and between different national ARCs, providing support and resources in order to foster an exchange of information and practice;
  4. to encourage Anglican Provinces and Roman Catholic Episcopal Conferences to establish ARC dialogues where they do not exist;
  5. to encourage Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops to develop projects and programmes of joint witness and mission in the world.
The bishops pray at the site of St Thomas Beckett's martyrdom

This weeks "pilgrimage" provides an opportunity for the pairs of bishops to receive spiritual sustenance for their task as they join in prayer and liturgy. We have been inspired by the witness of the saints of Canterbury, particular St Thomas Beckett. Now in Rome, where our journey continues, we will receive a commission for our work from the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury. We recognise that in these days, greater witness to our common faith is necessary, and greater collaboration in mission and service in the world is an imperative.

Preaching at the Roman Catholic Vigil Mass

The bishops began their work in Canterbury with energy and dedication, sharing the challenges they face in their regions, their present joint work and future hopes for such work. In Canterbury we were graciously hosted by Dean Robert Willis and the Cathedral community. Now in Rome, the work of formulating new paths on the journey to full communion continues, drawing from the rich tradition of social teaching imbedded in the life of both Communions.