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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.

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