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.

Friday, 30 June 2017

St Boniface Church Bonn celebrates 175 years

There has been Anglican worship in Bonn, Germany, for 175 years. On Saturday 24 June, this milestone was celebrated by St Boniface Anglican parish in the grand setting of the Schlosskirche in the heart of the city. Ecumenical guests were present from the Roman Catholic Church as well as a representative from our sister Old Catholic Church in Germany. The Deputy Mayor of the City was also present underlying civic recognition for these years of English church presence. An excellent choir, the Bonn English Singers, led the music.

The anniversary service began with a procession of thanksgiving around the Church with stations at the Baptismal Font, the Lectern and the Altar, the places where Christ's presence in his Church in the sacred liturgy is particularly symbolised. The Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Colin Williams, the locum priest Fr Richard Costin, the Assistant Curate Fr Richard Gardiner, and Area Dean-designate Canon John Newsome, were able to concelebrate the Eucharist with me. Fr Newsome had been the parish priest in Bonn at the time of the 150th anniversary!

Although established 175 years ago to serve the English community in the city, St Boniface church is now an international congregation, with members from around the world.

Following the mass, the congregation had a surprise gift for the curate: a beautiful white chasuble, to show their love for him and their deep appreciation for his ministry. Parishioners told me that was the first time they saw Fr Richard rendered speechless!

The Revd Richard Gardiner

Photos courtesy of Jenny Knudsen

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Sharon Grant now licensed as a Reader in Costa Brava

Reader Sharon Grant
On Sunday 18 June, Sharon Grant was licensed as a Reader (Licensed Lay Minister) to serve the Anglican Church in the Costa Brava. The service took place in the ancient, (probably 13th century), Church of St Stephen, in Madremanya, At the festive eucharist, 5 persons were also confirmed, and one received into the communion of the Church of England.

A wonderful lunch rounded off the day at the parish house in Corçà. Somehow, the parishioners found out it was my birthday, too!

The Anglican Church of Costa Brava was formally constituted in 2012 and its first priest, the Revd Anne Jenkins appointed. Sharon now joins the ministry team as a licensed lay minister serving this active parish which meets in 4 different locations in the beautiful part of Catalunya.

The entrance to the parish house patio

The parish puts great emphasis on the welcome offered to everyone. This welcome is summed up in this statement on their website:
"We are a very mixed group of people trying to follow the way of Jesus and respond to his call to love God, ourselves and others by exploring the meaning of God’s love for all people – women and men, young and old, gay or straight. We are from a variety of backgrounds, we are all different ages, we have very varied lifestyles and we delight in our God given diversity. Whoever you are, whether you live here all the time, come from time to time or are here on holiday, you would be welcome to come and join us on a Sunday or for one of our events during the year". 

An excellent video tells the history and vision of this chaplaincy with some moving testimonies of parishioners about why they have made this Church their home:

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Plan for new congregations in NW Germany

Plans continue for new congregations to be planted in Northwest Germany. The project has been spearheaded by the Area Dean of Germany, the Revd Canon Ken Dimmick.

Fr Dimmick reports on a recent meeting to further this development, held at the home of Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Colin Williams:
"Our big dream is for the development of quite a number of smaller worship communities, similar to house churches, ....perhaps focused on lay-led Bible Study.  From time to time we see these house groups gathering with other house groups for a more liturgical worship service, and when  priest is available, for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist."
Fr Ken intends that local worship leaders be trained to lead services of the word, between priestly visits. He appeals to the 10 or so Anglican priests in Germany to assist, perhaps coming once or twice a year to spend a couple of days, visiting and celebrating the Eucharist.

An "executive committee" for the area mission is made up of the Archdeacon, the Area Dean, Mr. John Batty, and Army Chaplain Richard Downes. A good core of the new congregations will be the number of persons attached to the British military community who will be staying on in Germany after the British Forces are fully withdrawn.
"The area is vast and the sheep may be scattered", says Fr Ken, "but we are hoping to develop groups in these towns and cities:  Bremen, Osnabrueck, Muenster, Dortmund, Bielefeld, Hameln, Paderborn, Hannover, Braunschweig/Wolfsburg, Detmold, Guetersloh, Luebbecke, Bergen-Belsen, Goettingen, and Kassel. We do not yet have contact people in each of these towns, but they all seem like possible places for the building up of an English language worship community.  Time and growth will show in the long run where congregations might be viable.  We, at this point, are only scattering the seeds.  May God give the growth."
Fr Ken wrote to the clergy in Germany whom he is inviting to assist in the years to come,
"You may want to think of yourselves as "Methodist Circuit riders" in the wild west, or like the itinerant Celtic missionaries of St. Columba.  May the examples of Boniface, Willibrord, Kilian, and all those who have done similar things in ages past, surround and encourage us."
Fr Ken leaves Germany shortly as he is taking his retirement, He intends to continue active connection to this mission project, however. We join with him and the executive committee in praying for the Holy Spirit's guidance, strength and direction.

Fr Ken Dimmick in his own parish of St Catherine's Stuttgart

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Holy Trinity Madeira launches bicentennial appeal

Canon Blair addressed the Madeira supporters
Lord Patrick Cormack hosted a dinner on Thursday 8 June in the House of Lords, to launch the bicentenary appeal and programme for Holy Trinity Church Madeira. The Church n this Portuguese Island off the coast of Morocco was first opened for worship in 1822. The appeal is for €200,000 for necessary repairs and refurbishment to secure the life of the Church into its third century!

Although the electoral roll in Holy Trinity is quite modest, the Church is almost always full due to the many visitors to the island, as well as the "swallows". The building is also used virtually every day of the week as a venue for concerts.

The Revd Canon John Blair is the present chaplain. At the dinner he shared with the guests something of the life of this extraordinary and vibrant parish.

It felt odd gathering in the House of Lords on election night in the UK. But the 70 or so who gathered for the dinner were not distracted by the politics outside, but were united in our commitment to Holy Trinity, Madeira! The bicentennial events continue up until the anniversary in 2022.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

English-looking Church but a family from around the world at St Alban's Copenhagen.

Passers-by and tourists on the way to visit the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, are often surprised when they come across what looks like a traditional English parish church, St Alban's. Although designed in the English Gothic Revival style by the great architect Sir Arthur Blomfield, visitors and tourists will, on closer inspection, see that this beautiful building is much more than an English Church, but the home to a wonderfully diverse and international Christian community. 225 persons are on the electoral roll, and they hail from more than 30 different countries around the world.

St Alban's ministry to tourists is impressive. About 50 volunteers who welcome huge numbers of visitors each day from spring to autumn, with guide-notes to the Church available in over a dozen languages. Literally thousands of persons each year, who might not otherwise enter a Church building, are given a warm and friendly word from one of the volunteers, and invited to enjoy a moment of peace in the tranquil beauty of the building.

On Trinity Sunday confirmations were celebrated, with the Church filled to capacity. The candidates each came from different backgrounds: Danish, Dutch, Ugandan, Californian, Australian, Nigerian and British (via several places in the Middle East!). Trinity Sunday was an excellent feast to celebrate our baptism into the Threefold Name. The candidates reminded themselves of their own baptism by signing themselves with the sign of the cross at the font, acknowledging that even with their diverse backgrounds, they are one in Christ.

The Christian life is lived not primarily in the church, but in the world, loving our neighbour, and seeking peace and justice. The newly confirmed carried candles through the Church out into the world to symbolise their commitment to building the Kingdom of God in Copenhagen and beyond.  

Following the Eucharist, the Church Council chaired by Chaplain, the Revd Darrin McCallilg, met with me to explore together some general features of parish life. We had a lively discussion about where the many Church activities were thought to be "adding value" to the kingdom of God, and where there was yet some untapped, latent resources to call upon from among the members to further extend St Alban's ministry and mission. Already St Alban's has the largest average Sunday attendance of any Church in the Danish capital.

We had just heard the news of Bishop Geoffrey's death that morning, and we said prayers for the repose of his soul at the meeting.

All photos are courtesy of Mia Enns

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell RIP

Our dear Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, third Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, died peacefully this morning. He had been struggling bravely with cancer, a struggle he kept very quiet as he did not want people to be alarmed or to make a fuss. We mourn the passing of a great and wise teacher of the Catholic faith, an extraordinary ecumenist, a warm pastor, one of the world's best networkers, and a beloved friend. May he rest in peace.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Archbishop Ntatohuri will move from being a Governor of the Anglican Centre in Rome to the Director in October

The Board of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome on which I serve recently had a meeting in Chicago, hosted by the Episcopal Bishop of Chicago, the Rt Revd Jeff Lee. It was the last meeting of the Board during the time of the current Director, the Most Revd Sir David Moxon, who will be stepping down at the end of June after almost 5 years in post. It was a chance for US friends and supporters of the Centre to express their gratitude to Archbishop David for his outstanding achievements in Anglican-RC relations during his time as Director.

(Incidentally, the Diocese in Europe Board of Finance makes a small annual grant to the Anglican Centre. Canon Ann Turner is our Diocesan Representative).

Evensong at St James's Cathedral, Chicago

Christ Church Winnetka Illinois
I had the privilege of preaching and presiding at one of the many flourishing parishes in the Diocese of Chicago, Christ Church, Winnetka, Illinois. There are over 50 in the choir at Christ Church, and 110 young people involved in activities during each week.

Archbishop Ntahoturi with Anglican Centre Governor Bp Cate Waynick
Archbishop David's successor as Director, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, who takes over in September, was present at the meeting, as he is currently a Governor. Archbishop Bernard has extensive ecumenical experience, having served as a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches since 1998, and co-moderator of the Permanent Committee on Collaboration and Consensus which brings together representatives of the Orthodox, Anglicans and Reformed Churches. He has also served on the Executive Committee of ACT (Action of Churches Together) International and participated in the creation of the new ACT Alliance which is the ecumenical branch of the WCC for Relief and Development. He has been active in seeking peace in war-torn native Burundi, where he is vice chair of the Burundi Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He also chairs the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO). Archbishop Bernard speaks French, English, Kirundi and Swahili and is looking forward to learning Italian! I have had the privilege of many years of friendship with Archbishop Bernard, having worked with him when I staffed the Primates' Meetings of the Communion.

Archbishop Bernard will be formally installed as the Director of the Anglican Centre in October, but he was recently informally introduced to the Pope by Archbishop Sir David Moxon.

Archbishop Moxon introduces Archbishop Ntahoturi to His Holiness

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lay Ministers in Europe commit to move to the frontier as part of Jesus's plan

The conference theme was taken from closing words in the Eucharist
On the frontier of Church and world. This sums up the ministry of our Licensed Lay Ministers (a.k.a Readers).

From 19 to 22 May in Cologne, Readers and those in training for this ministry from across the diocese gathered for a conference to consider the challenge of frontier ministry. Licensed Lay Ministers are in the position of having a listening ear in two camps: the Church and the world that the Church is called to serve. "Double listening" is how this was summed this up in one of our sessions. Listening to the Word and listening to the world: this is the ministry of the Reader and it is a key role in our diocese.

The conference was bracketed by two liturgical moments: We began as scattered individuals around the edges of St Edith Stein chapel at Kardinal Schulte House, symbolising our dispersal across the islands and continent we serve. We came together to form community around the Word and Sacrament. At the conclusion of the event we carried lit candles and scattered out to the edges of the chapel again, to mark our journey as disciples back to the world where we live and serve.

The Conference Design Team
During the meeting we sat at the feet of 4 resource persons who formed us into a learning and listening community.

Fr Nicholas King SJ
Fr Nicholas King SJ, led bible studies on Church and Politics in the Old Testament and New Testament. Fr Nicholas currently teaches at Heythrop College in the University of London, and has recently completed his own translation of the Greek Scriptures, Septuagint and New Testament.

Dr Kathy Galloway (l) is introduced by Victoria Wadsworth-Hansen
The Revd Kathy Galloway, a former Leader of the Iona Community and was until recently the Head of Christian Aid Scotland reflected with us on the demands of life in a community which serves those at the margins and those excluded.

Prof. David Wilkinson
The Revd Professor Dr David Wilkinson is the Principal of St John's College Durham. He holds PhDs in both theoretical astrophysics and systematic theology. He inspired the participants with his insights into the beauty and vastness of creation and helped us consider how we can let this awe and wonder point us and those with whom we engage, to the excessive, generous creative love of God.

Stefan McNally
Stefan McNally is responsible for growing the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity's work with churches across the UK, helping them to link the Christian faith to contemporary culture. He addressed the issue of whole-life discipleship and encouraged the participants to identify their "front-lines" for ministry.

The 4 resource persons for the conference
As is normal at such conferences, there were moments for fun together, building networks and new friendships. The enthusiasm of the participants was palpable. Together they affirmed that their vocation is to make sure that the Church is not to be like Lot's wife, looking back, frozen, but looking forward in hope, with a prophetic vision, an Easter people, led into the world by our Risen Lord.