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.

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Saturday, 24 February 2018

One of our largest chaplaincies, St Anthony Abbot, Padua

One of the misconceptions about the Diocese in Europe is that it consists of church for the "Brits abroad". Whilst there are many UK passport holders who count among our faithful in the 300+ congregations, we are a diocesan family of people from scores of nations. For example, one large sector of our people come originally from Nigeria. In Italy we have several congregations where the majority are of Nigerian background, in Turin, Macerata and Pesaro, for instance.

Fr Amos with the church mini-bus (note the logo!)
I recently paid a visit to one of our largest congregations in Italy, St Anthony Abbot Church in Padua. The members of St Anthony Abbot come almost entirely from Nigeria, apart from those who are Italian born, but of Nigerian parentage. It is a vibrant community led by its priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Amos Osaromkpe. We work in partnership with Archbishop Kattey of the Province of Niger Delta in Nigeria in supporting Fr Amos.

Young Ignatius 
The liturgy included the Baptism of Fr Amos and Blessing's son Ignatius, the Churching of Women (I hadn't done one of those for a while!), the admission of new members of the Mothers' Union, the honouring of the congregation's "Father of the Year" and confirmation of about a dozen young persons. A short 4 hour event!

After the mass there was a wonderful community lunch with a splendid variety of food from Italy and Africa. According to Fr Amos, the community fellowship meal is an important component of congregational life, as many travel great distances to come to church in Padua.

The electoral roll is currently being updated, but on my visit there were likely about 170 people present for the service. The activities of the parish are impressive, with a choir, a music group, the Men's Fellowship, Mothers' Union, and a "Children's Department" with about 40 children involved in education and catechesis.

Some new Mothers' Union members
Transportation is an issue on Sundays in Padua, and a church mini-bus provides a pick up service for many. There are other challenges facing the congregation as many parishioners are moving away, to the UK, Germany or other countries, which has greatly affected the finance of the congregation. I am working the Archdeacon to address this crisis.

It was a great blessing for me to be with this parish for the weekend, and there were many moments of great joy.

Some choir members

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