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, 30 June 2018

Revd Torbjørn Holt, London's Norwegian Chaplain, celebrates 25 years as a priest

The Revd Torbjørn Holt, the Norwegian priest in London, and a good friend of this Diocese in Europe, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a priest in the Church of Norway last Monday 25 June at the Sjømannskirken in London.

The special mass was celebrated by Fr Torbjørn according to the rite of the Scottish Episcopal Church, to recall that part of the UK where he first ministered. In his homily, Torbjørn remembered with affection and gratitude Bishop Per Lønning who ordained him in Fana Church in Bergen. Colleagues and friends (incluing three Anglican Bishops - Southwark, Croydon and myself) joined Fr Torbjørn for the service, and for a splendid Norwegian summer supper in the newly renovated front garden of the church in Bermondsey. The Revd Canon Jonathan Boardman, who is just finishing his ministry as Chaplain of All Saints Rome, and a close friend of Fr Torbjørn, was the assistant priest at the mass.

Gratulerer, Torbjørn!

Friday, 29 June 2018

St Edmund's Oslo - an inclusive and richly diverse community

St Edmund's Church in Oslo describes itself as a community of "tremendous diversity, with people from all ages, many races and nations, and social backgrounds....include single people, families, refugees, ex-pats, and long-established citizens of our host country". The Chaplain is the Revd Darren McCallig, who began his ministry here in October last year (having been previously in St Alban's Copenhagen).

A recent parish visit included a celebration of the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, with candidates from English, Sri Lankan/Norwegian and Ugandan backgrounds. Perfect to include a priest who is Irish and a bishop who is Scottish/Burmese!

Following the mass there was a splendid parish barbecue, unfortunately, in the rain! But spirits were far from dampened, and the international nature of the chaplaincy family was celebrated boldly with flags decorating the garden where the gathering was held.

I was able to catch up with a couple recently moved to Oslo from Brasilia, where their former bishop there, Dom Mauricio Andrade, had pointed them towards our Chaplaincy in Oslo. The network of the Anglican Communion is a wonderful thing!

Pray for the ordinands of the Diocese in Europe

Guy Diakiese, Jean-Bosco Turahirwa, Giampaolo Pancetti
It is the time of ordinations across the Church, once again, and in the Diocese in Europe the following persons are being ordained this weekend:

The Revd Guy Diakiese (to continue to serve as assistant curate, St John and St Philip, the  Hague) to be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priest by Bishop Robert on Saturday 30 June at 11.00 in St John and St Philip Church in the Hague. Sacred Order of Priest

Mr Jean-Bosco Turahirwa  (to serve as assistant curate, Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Brussels) to be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon by Bishop Robert on Sunday 1 July at 1030 in Holy Trinity Brussels.

Mr Giampaolo Pancetti (to serve as assistant curate in St Mark’s, Florence) to be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon by Bishop David on Sunday 1 July at 1630 in St Mark's Church Florence.

All are warmly invited to attend these celebrations. Clergy and Readers are invited to robe and join in procession. The liturgical colour will be white. Priests of the Church of England or of a Church in communion are invited to join in the laying on of hands at the ordination of Deacon Guy to the priesthood. Members of the Diocese are encouraged to remember these three candidates in their prayers this weekend.

Once again the diversity of this Church of England diocese is evident in these ordinations, with candidates who are Congolese, Rwandan and Italian.

For a glimpse of these candidates here is a video taken during their pre-ordination retreat:

Post Ordination Training continues for a diverse and exciting group of ordinands

The recently ordained clergy of the Diocese continue in their Post Ordination Training programme, under the supervision of the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Director of Ministerial Development. (The current short-hand for Post Ordination Training in the Church of England is "IME Phase 2).

The topics covered in the last residential sessions held at St Columba's House in Woking, were "Conflict Resolution" led by Liz Griffiths from Bridge Builders,  and "Making Effective Use of Media and Communication" with our Diocesan Communications Officer, Liz Hudson.

The present curates come from Athens, Bordeaux, the Hague, Paris, Kortrijk, Trondheim and Vienna. After this weekend's ordinations, they will be joined by new curates from Brussels and Florence.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

London and Southwark Company of Servers Festival

The London and Southwark Diocesan Chapters of the Company of Servers gathered recently at St Saviour's Pimlico for their Summer Festival meeting. It was a service of Choral Evensong and Benediction, at which I had the joy of being the preacher. Fr Matthew Catterick, the Vicar of St Saviour's, hosted the event.

The ministry of server is an important lay ministry in the Church. As I said in my sermon, I understand that just as servers have the privilege of honouring Christ present in the sacraments and the sacred assembly in the liturgy, through bearing lights, censing the gifts and the people, in dignified processions, in preparing the altar for the sacred meal etc., so they can be first among the laity in the world, serving Christ who is present in everyone we meet, and honouring his beloved children. The "Liturgy after the Liturgy" the Orthodox call this.

We do not have a chapter of the Company of Servers in the Diocese in Europe. As the organisation describes itself as "A community for all who serve God at the altar within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion" perhaps we should have one. The Diocese in Europe includes 40 of the 160 countries of the Anglican Communion, after all. I found those gathered at St Saviour's Pimlico to be committed to their ministry, serious about dignified and worthy liturgy, and good fun!

Is any server in this diocese interested in exploring the formation of a chapter?   

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Fr Joe Ponic RIP

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of the Revd Joseph James Ponic. Known to everyone as Fr Joe, he died on 20 June in Saskatoon, Canada, after a brief illness. Fr Joe was a past Chaplain of St Andrew’s Tangier, and a priest who had served on our Diocesan Locum List for a number of years. He considered this diocese to be part of his family.

Joe was a citizen of the USA by birth and of Canada by adoption. He had a long ministry as a priest, first in the Roman Catholic Church, then in the Anglican Church of Canada where he rejoiced in its blend of tradition and openness.  In his own words, Fr Joe described the Anglican Church as “a wide gate that led to a nurturing environment”.  In his ministerial life he had specialised in what we now call “interim ministry”, using his gifts in helping parishes through times of change and transition. He also had a distinguished career as a teacher.

Fr Joe’s term in Tangier was at the time of a marked increase in the migrant and refugee population. Joe was profoundly moved by their plight and encouraged St Andrew’s to be alongside them and open their doors to those who needed pastoral care. He was deeply grieved when those seeking a better life in Europe died when their flimsy boats capsized off shore.

Former Churchwarden of St Andrew’s, Christopher Gibb, described Fr Joe as “Gentle Joe, a priest of many gifts, and one of the most precious was his capacity for healing local problems and misunderstandings. His wide reading and historical interests enlivened his sermons, sometimes leaving the congregation wide-eyed with wonder! He had a beautiful modesty, how rare and attractive is this!”

Joe was cremated on Thursday 21st and a memorial service will be held on Saturday 23rd June. May he may now find eternal rest and happiness in the company of the saints in light.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Fr Gordon Reid's Golden Jubilee of Priesthood

On 11 June, the Feast of St Barnabas, the Revd Canon Gordon Reid celebrated 50 years as a priest in God's Church. The occasion was marked by a High Mass in St Mark's Philadelphia, at which I was privileged to be the preacher. The church was full for the celebration, at which the Bishop of Pennsylvania, the Rt Revd Daniel Gutierrez, presided "from the throne".

Fr Gordon was ordained in Edinburgh and has served there and in Salisbury and Inverness. In the Diocese in Europe he has served in Ankara, Izmir, Stockholm, Gibraltar (as Dean), Milan (as Archdeacon of Italy and Malta) and London (as Vicar General). From Europe he moved to Philadelphia where he was Rector of St Clement's Church for many years.

Fr Gordon has retired from stipendiary ministry but is still very active. Bishop Gutierrez has made him Dean of Southwark (a deanery in the Philadelphia, pronounced "South-Wark") and presently Fr Gordon is providing priestly cover for St Mary's Church, which is also the centre of campus ministry for Penn State University, while the Rector is on maternity leave. He also continues to be an active priest on our diocesan locum list.

Following the service there was a warm reception for Fr Gordon, then a small dinner party hosted by the Rector of St Mark's, the Revd Fr Sean Mullen. The Associate Rector of the parish, the Revd Mother Erika Takacs was the Deacon of the mass.

In my sermon I was able to assure Fr Gordon of the good wishes, love and prayers from his many friends in the Diocese in Europe. His has been a distinguished ministry, so far!

Fr Sean, Bp Daniel, Fr Gordon
Photos courtesy of Marc Coleman

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Congregation with largest Sunday attendance in Copenhagen is St Alban's Anglican Church

St Alban's Anglican Church in Copenhagen describes itself as a growing, diverse and inclusive Christian community. I can certainly attest to this being the case from my many years of episcopal oversight of this parish. Children and adults from every part of the world form the congregation, united by Eucharistic worship in English, according to the rites of the Church of England. The diversity contributes to making St Alban's a parish rich with varied gifts. 

The ministry team itself is very diverse. A new chaplain has just arrived, the Revd Smitha Prasadam. Smitha comes originally from Bangalore India. On my parish visit last weekend, which had been arranged about a year ago for confirmations, Smitha had not yet even been licenced. (That will happen this coming Saturday at a service at which Archdeacon Colin Williams will preside). Smitha has two priests who assist her in an auxiliary capacity, one is a Dane but a priest of the Church of England, none other than our own Director of Ministerial Development, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg. The other is also a Dane but a priest of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, the Revd Palle Thordal. Also part of the ministry team is a Deacon, Christophe Ndikuriyo who is from Burundi. Three licensed Readers, two who are UK nationals and one a Norwegian, are joined by another two studying for this Licensed Lay Ministry. A children's, youth and student worker is also part of the team, Joakim Steiner-Johnsen. 

Auxiliary priests Palle and Ulla (left and right) with new Chaplain Smitha Prasadam
My visit was also an occasion for me to introduce Smitha to the Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, who is a good friend of the parish. Bishop Peter is also the “first among equals” of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark, which is of course in communion with the Church of England thanks to the Porvoo Agreement. Bishop Peter has told me that St Alban’s is the best attended church of any tradition in the Danish capital. 

Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen, 2nd from left
The candidates led the congregation assembled on Sunday in the reaffirmation of baptismal faith at the font, an integral part of the confirmation mass. At the end of the service as I led them out with their lit candles into the sunshine in Churchillparken in front of the church, hordes of tourists descended upon them to take pictures. St Alban’s is very close to one of the “must see” sights in the city - the Little Mermaid, so there is always a lot of visiting tourist traffic. Volunteer members of the congregation are on hand every day to welcome visitors into the church for a look around, to enjoy some silence, say a prayer or light a candle. Our confirmation candidates will have the pleasure of knowing that they are part of the holiday snaps of scores of casual visitors to Copenhagen from around the world! 

Making the sign of the cross with baptismal water after the reaffirmation of baptismal promises
Youth Worker Joakim (left) and Reader Victoria, who prepared the candidates
The confirmation preparation was undertaken by Reader Victoria Wadsworth-Hansen and Youth Worker Joakim.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Tapio Luoma becomes the new Archbishop of Turku, Finland

Bishops lining up for the procession
The Most Revd Tapio Luoma was installed as Archbishop of Turku, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF), in the 13th century cathedral in Turku on 3 June. The new Archbishop succeeds Archbishop Kari Mäkinen, a good friend, whom Colleen and I ran into, looking understandably relaxed, as he was enjoying his first day of retirement!

Archbishop Tapio Luoma

Archbishop Kari Mäkinen and Mrs Mäkinen 
The senior bishop in the Church of Finland, Bishop Samuel Salmi of Oulu presided at the installation mass for Archbishop Tapio, and blessed and commissioned him through a ceremony of laying on of hands, assisted by Archbishop Emeritus Anders Wejryd from the Church of Sweden, Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien from the Church of Norway, Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Bishop Agnes Sigurdardottir from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, Archbishop Urmas Viilma from the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Archbishop Michael Jackson from the Church of Ireland.

Photo courtesy of LWF
The Cathedral was filled for the mass, and I was privileged, as the representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion.

The ELCF is a member of the Porvoo Communion of Churches, and is thus in communion with the Church of England. According to ancient tradition the Church of Finland was founded by St Henry,  an English missionary bishop and martyr in the 12th century.

The occasion was also a chance to catch up with the clergy serving our own congregations in Finland, including, Fr Tuomas Mäkipäa, the Chaplain of St Nicholas Helsinki, second from left below.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Ecumenical colleagues in Rome bid fond farewell to Canon Jonathan Boardman

On 30 June the Revd Canon Jonathan Boardman takes leave of his post as Chaplain of All Saints Anglican Church in Rome to assume a new position as Vicar of St Paul’s Clapham. Fr Jonathan has been serving in Rome for 19 years. In addition to his parochial responsibilities, he has been a key player in the rich ecumenical environment in the Italian capital. He has also served as Archdeacon of Italy and Malta for 9 years and guided Anglican life in the Archdeaconry through some major developments, including the legal recognition in Italy of the Church of England. He has also in the past as senior tutor for courses at the Anglican Centre in Rome, for 10 years. It has indeed been a rich ministry in Rome. 

On 6 June Fr Jonathan’s colleagues from many churches hosted a service of evensong to thank him for his ecumenical leadership in Rome. The service was in the Roman Catholic Church of St Francesco Saverio (St Francis Xavier) del Caravitaa 17th-century baroque oratory in Rome, home to an English language Roman Catholic community, and itself place of significant Anglican-RC encounter. The director of the community of Caravita is the Revd Professor Keith Pecklers SJ, a professor of Liturgy in Rome, a close friend of Anglicans and a valued ecumenical partner. 

Oratorio del Caravita
I was privileged to preside at the ecumenical vespers. Along with other ecumenical colleagues, Fr Tony Currer from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Revd Tim Macquiban, Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome, representing the Churches Together in Rome, I give a word of thanks to Fr Jonathan for his work, parochial, archidiaconal and ecumenical. Fr Jonathan preached the homily, which on the feast of Blessed Ini Kopuria, the Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, was particularly apt as Ini Kopuria’s community has produced martyrs who are honoured, uniquely as Anglicans, in the Roman Catholic Basilica of St Bartholomew on Tiber Island, along with other modern martyrs of the Church. Fittingly, on the morning of 6 June, Fr Jonathan was greeted at the  General Audience by Pope Francis. Fr Jonathan asked for the Pope's prayers as he takes up his new post. In turn the Pope as Fr Jonathan for his prayers. 

Canon Boardman will remain an honorary canon of the Diocese in Europe, and we pray his rich ecumenical and cross-cultural experience will now enhance his ministry in Clapham.

Fr Jonathan, Fr Tony Currer (Pontifical Council for Christian Unity), Prof. Fr Keith Peckers SJ, the Revd Tim Macquiban (Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome), the Revd Prof. Prof. Eric Noffke (Waldensian Theological Faculty) 

Saturday, 2 June 2018

An inspiring Anglican-RC initiative in Malawi, carrying forward the vision of IARCCUM

The article below is not directly connected to the work of the Diocese in Europe, but is a project to which I am indirectly linked through my co-chairmanship of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, IARCCUM, which has endorsed this ground-breaking work. But furthermore  this programme could not have happened without the active leadership of Anglicans in Rome, Fawn and Ken White, and long-time friends of our Diocese, namely Archbishop Sir David Moxon (former Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome), and Fr Keith Peckers SJ, (Director of the Caravita Community in Rome). 

The project is an outstanding witness to fruitful Anglican-Roman Catholic cooperation, jointly serving the poor. I hope will be an encouragement to other projects and programmes, whether great or small, which demonstrate Anglican and RC commitment to working and witnessing together throughout the world. 


Joint Anglican-Roman Catholic Delegation Visits Malawi
to Celebrate Ecumenical Scholarship Programme

4 of the "St Timothy" Scholars
A joint Anglican-Roman Catholic delegation visited southern Malawi last week to celebrate the success of an ecumenical scholarship programme started last year by the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi.

The delegation of eight included Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Anglican Co-Chairman of ARCIC, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission; Father Keith Pecklers SJ, Director of the Caravita Community in Rome, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute; and Mathilde Nkwirikiye, the internationally recognised human rights lawyer, whose husband Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

The St. Timothy Scholarship Programme was launched in September 2017 as a direct response to the Common Declaration of His Holiness Pope Francis and His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, issued at San Gregorio al Celio in Rome on 5 October 2016, wherein they and 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic Bishops commissioned by them pledged to work together in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth” to give voice to their common faith in Jesus Christ. The programme has been warmly endorsed by IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

Mathilde Nkwirikiye (R) with the grandmother of one of the scholarship winners

The programme, which is funded by offshore donors and managed jointly by the two Dioceses, provides scholarships to enable children from the poorest families to attend residential secondary schools run by the Dioceses on an all expenses paid basis. The scholarships, valued at c. €600, cover tuition fees, room and board, school uniforms, school shoes, athletic wear, stationery, toiletries, bedding, school bag, scientific instruments and a travel allowance funding the student’s cost of travelling from home to school and return by public transport at the beginning and end of each school term.

For the academic year commencing September 2017, a total of 558 applications were received for the 40 scholarships offered. The scholarship winners, 20 girls and 20 boys, are each attending one of four residential secondary schools run by the two Dioceses.

On the initiative of delegation members Kenneth and Fawn White, a new charity called the “Walking Together Foundation” has been formed to raise funds on a tax-deductible basis for the Malawi scholarship programme and for future ecumenical projects that may be initiated by other bishop pairs anywhere in the world.

The delegation was welcomed by Bishop Brighton Vitta Malasa of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and Bishop Montfort Stima of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi, whose ecumenical partnership gave rise to the scholarship programme. The delegation visited the schools, presented medals to the scholarship winners and visited some of the scholarship winners’ homes. At the end of the four day visit, an ecumenical prayer service was held at the chapel of the Chilema Ecumenical Centre at which stoles were presented to the Bishops in recognition of their strong commitment to ecumenism and the success the scholarship programme has achieved since its introduction last year.

L to R: Fr Keith Pecklers, Bp Montfort Stima, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Bp Brighton Malasa

 Photos courtesy of Cristiano Barbarossa