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.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

CEMES Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Six interns on the Diocese in Europe CEMES scheme, (a Church of England programme to encourage young vocations to the sacred ministry), 4 mentors and guests were led by Fr William Gulliford, the Director of Ordinands, on an 8 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 12 - 20 November. I was privileged to be part of the pilgrimage for a few days, along with the Revd Dr Matthias Grebe, (a former ordinand of this diocese and now on the staff at the Council for Christian Unity).

Director of Ordinands, Fr William Gulliford
The purpose of the Study Pilgrimage was to give a focus for the first term’s academic study for the interns and for to research one site of historic importance, about which a 4000 word essay is being written. On site, at each place, respectively each intern introduced the location to the group, and then fielded questions. For the many other sites, the group was most fortunate to have in support Dr Clare Amos, Director of Lay Discipleship in the Diocese, Hebrew Scholar and veteran of the Holy Land, having lived there for three years in the 70s and having visited multiple times since.

Director of Lay Discipleship, Dr Clare Amos
A strong focus, beyond exploring the Biblical significance of the Holy Land was getting exposure to Christian Orthodoxy, and a central part of the visit was a meeting with His Beatitude, Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. Considerable discussion of the foundational aspects of Orthodoxy in the Holy Land took place, and resonated in the actual meeting with the Patriarch. For all of the interns this encounter with the Eastern Church was new, and of a particular contextual relevance.

The Revd Dr Matthias Grebe
Visits to the Al Aqsa/Temple Mount, and a Reform Synagogue meant some engagement with questions of Islam and Judaism was possible. A wider encounter with people from a range of backgrounds meant that the reality of life either side of a large separation wall was possible to get some sense of, with all the tensions, paradoxes and fears. Meeting people trying to overcome the entrenched positions gave hope and inspiration; but no one came away underestimating the task before all concerned.

The Tomb of Christ
Fr William notes that "the friendship of fellow pilgrims helped give a sense of the Church’s prayerful accompaniment and support of discernment. And the inspirational teaching of Clare Amos will live with all who sat at her feet".

A booklet of the entire pilgrimage has been prepared. There are many more photos and an account of the journey written by participants. I have uploaded the journal to this blog on a separate tab called CEMES Holy Land Pilgrimage.

Erik Heemskirk - Utrecht; Mark Van Eker - Brussels; Ben O’Neill - Vienna;
Isle Swart - Leuven;  Sharon Ejinkonye - Tervuren; Jonty Brawn - Lyon

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Solidarity in prayer with the Coptic Church

St Samuel the Confessor Monastery, Egypt

I have sent a message of solidarity on behalf of the people of this Diocese in Europe to Archbishop Angaelos, the Coptic Archbishop of London, on learning the news of the killing of 7 pilgrims travelling to St Samuel Monastery yesterday. Dozens more have been injured.
Your Eminence, dear Brother in Christ: once again our beloved Coptic sisters and brothers are mourning the deaths of pilgrims killed by terrorists in Egypt. I assure you of my prayers and those of our own communities for those who have died and for those who now mourn. May the Lord grant strength and consolation to your people and deliver Egypt from these acts of violence. In fraternal love +David
Please remember the victims, their families and the Coptic Church in the intercessions on Sunday.
Eternal God, in whose perfect realm no sword is drawn but the sword of justice, and no strength known but the strength of love: guide and inspire all who seek your kingdom, that peoples and nations may find their security in the love which casts out fear; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. 
Archbishop Angaelos

Friday, 2 November 2018

St Philip and St James Church in Palma: a vibrant community church

The Anglican Church of St Philip and St James in Palma de Mallorca is one of three congregations on the island (the others being Puerto Pollensa and Cala d'Or). Last weekend on a brief parish visit to Palma, I was able to catch up with the priest, the Revd David Waller, the Churchwardens and the members of the Chaplaincy Council to hear of their life and activities.

The chaplaincy seeks to maintain a profile in the English speaking community in Palma through many of its own activities and through providing a venue and support for other groups. On any given week, one can find times for meditation, prayer, and mindfulness, as well as drama, music (choirs and jazz) and fund raising events. Of course at the heart of the community life is the Sunday sung eucharist. One senses that the spiritual and community life of the parish is in a healthy state, with much joyful and committed lay support. 

On 28 October at the Sunday mass, several persons were confirmed. Like so many of our Spanish chaplaincies the diversity of the congregation at St Philip and St James Church continues to grow, as Anglicans from all over the world (and English speaking Christians) find a warm welcome and spiritual nurture in our congregations.

Fr David Waller is also Area Dean for Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. In Palma he is assisted by two clergy from the Uniting Church in Australia, the Revds Viv and Ron Larkin, who have permission as ministers of the Word, under the provisions of the Ecumenical Canons of the Church of England.