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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Pan Africa Day in St George's Madrid

Pan African Sunday, 30 September, at St George's Madrid included a service of confirmation, a Nigerian choir and an African feast after the mass. It was a day of exuberant joy. It felt like St George's was truly an place of international encounter for the many Christians in Madrid who speak English or who are from an Anglican background.

However, there was sad news for the chaplaincy that day. I had to announce that their beloved Chaplain, the Revd Canon Paul Ormrod, would be leaving. Fr Paul has been appointed to St John's Montreux and he and his wife Jill will be saying farewell to St George's at the end of December.

Book Sale at St George's
It has been such a fruitful time for the Ormrods in Madrid. He will leave behind a thriving multicultural community as was in evidence that Sunday. There is a vibrant Sunday School and three services each Sunday. The Church Council includes a good cross section of the parish, including some young adults. (I think possibly the youngest Churchwarden in the diocese serves St George's). There are numerous events which serve both the wider community in Madrid as well as bringing people to the Church and helping them make contact with this historic Anglican parish. Fr Paul has also been a key link to ecumenical partners in the city, especially the Roman Catholics. My pastoral visit coincided with one of the important outreach events in St George's, the Book Sale. Fr Paul also took me to visit the Misioneras de la Unidad, a Roman Catholic order in the city who run an ecumenical centre. There we met a young woman, Syrian Orthodox, who is a refugee from her home Syria, and heard her moving story.

The Archdeacon of Gibraltar will soon be beginning the to work with the parish in preparing the search for a new priest to build on the outstanding work of Fr Paul

Syrian refugee (left) at the Ecumenical Centre in Madrid

St George's ministry team includes Reader Celia Paterson, who is also an international leader in ministry with young people through her work on Godly Play. Celia serves on the board of Godly Play EspaƱa and on the Godly Play International Council. Solomon Ike, originally from Nigeria, is a member of St George's now preparing for the Sacred Ministry.

Fr Paul, Solomon Ike, Celia Paterson in back row

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