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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Welcoming, active, inclusive .... and youthful. St Thomas Becket Hamburg

The Church of England parish in Hamburg has existed since 1612. However, St Thomas Becket Church is far from being an "old" community nor even a particularly ethnic English one today. It is, as its website proclaims, "a welcoming, active, inclusive Church". The electoral roll includes folk from many national backgrounds.

Indeed the international make-up is at the heart of its leadership. The Chaplain, the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel, is originally from India. His wife (who assists at St Thomas's when she is not at St Catherine's Stuttgart), the Revd Dr Julie Lippe-Nathaniel, is German. Many on the servers guild are from Ghana. The excellent choir and other musicians come from around the world and make the liturgy at St Thomas's rich with music.

Discussing details of the liturgy before the service

One of the exciting and growing dimensions of ministry in St Thomas's is the inclusion of children and young people. Already an integral part of church life through a flourishing Junior Church, it is clear to me that ministry by and with young people is on the cusp of taking off in an encouraging way.

On Easter Eve, at the Great Vigil, 15 persons were confirmed, among them 9 younger candidates. As part of their preparation for the sacrament Fr Leslie invited the young class to prepare theological questions to quiz the older candidates. The youth put forward about 70 questions all together. Fr Leslie had to select about a dozen only, so as not to completely overwhelm the adults! (I am glad the Chaplain did not ask the young confirmands to ask questions of the bishop!)

From amongst the junior confirmands it is anticipated that a youth group will form. Also on the parish's plans is the development of a youth choir.

The Revds Julie Lippe-Nathaniel and Leslie Nathaniel


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