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.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Caring for God's Creation - the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar

A very happy Synod Standing Committee. Archdeacon David Waller 2nd from left
"Caring for God's Creation" was the theme that united the clergy and lay delegates to the Gibraltar Archdeaconry Synod last week. The synod is one of the largest in the Diocese, which brings together our congregations in Gibraltar, Spain (including the Balearic and Canary Islands), Andorra, Portugal (including Madeira) and Morocco.

The Revd Prof. Adrian Low, a scientist as well as the Chaplain of Costa del Sol West, set the pace for the clergy at their prior chapter meeting by exploring many themes tha ttouch upon the interface of science and religion, from quantum entanglement to the statistical questions of whether we are alone as sentient beings in the universe. The clergy also considered in more depth the Diocesan Rule of Life and the Revd John Chapman from St George's Barcelona shared his experience of a Rule of Life in his ministry and in parish life. Dr Clare Amos, the Diocesan Director of Discipleship, who supports the Diocesan Rule of Life project was the bible study leader for the synod.

Professor Low explaining how light is both wave and particle!
The Revd John Chapman

The Revd Dave Bookless of A Rocha was the keynote speaker, and motived and inspired the gathering with rich and challenging theology. The Diocesan Environmental Officer, the Revd Elizabeth Bussman reminded delegates of the ECO Church initiative which the Diocese has embraced.

The RevdDavid Bookless

Just to wake people up in an afternoon "graveyard" slot, I led the synod in exploring the theme "Sex! Why is this so complicated?" It was an introduction to the many layers of theology, biblical interpretation, sociology, biology, missiology, and human rights that need to be considered as the Church seeks pastoral teaching and practice in the complicated area of human sexuality.

Fr Bob Bates gave an update on the growth and development of the Santiago Camino Chaplaincy, a relatively new and flourishing ministry, now in its 4th year. The former Archdeacon Geoff Johnston returned to recieve a formal thanks from the synod for his leadership and support in past years. There appeared to be an almost seamless hand-over to the new Archdeacon David Waller who is already well known to the synod, having been an Area Dean before.

Archdeacon David Waller thanks Archdeacon Geoff Johnston on behalf of the synod
The synod was also a time to celebrate new ministries and reaffirm current ones. Alwyn Carter was admitted to the office of Reader, to serve in the parish of Costa Almería and Costa Cálida. Fr Alan Bennett was re-licensed as assistant chaplain in the same parish, and Fr Nigel Stimpson, of Costa del Sol East, was commissioned as Area Dean of southern Spain.

Alwyn Carter is admitted to the office of Reader. Area Dean Fr Nigel Stimpson looks on
Fr Alan Bennett
Fr Luis Vizcarra from the Diocese of  Peru, which is linked with the Gibraltar Archdeaconry presented the work of his own diocese high in the Andes. He also led us in prayer in his mother tongue, Quechua.

Fr Luis 
The Gibraltar Archdeaconry delegates work incredibly hard. They also have fun together; the synod ended with a quiz night, highly competetive, of course, with one very triumphant team.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Donna Derrick: new Reader in Christ Church Coutances

Area Dean Canon Debbie Flach admits Donna to the office of Reader
The Chaplaincy of Christ Church Coutances has a new licensed Reader. On 11 January the Revd Canon Debbie Flach, Area Dean, admitted Donna Derrick to the office of Reader and licensed her for ministry in Coutances. The Church in Gratot was full for the occasion, with clergy from the ecumenical fraternity present, signifying the warmth and esteem with which our new Lay Minister is held.

Debie receives her blue scarf, symbol of her licensed lay ministry
As there is no chaplain licensed to the parish at present, Donna will have a full ministry as a Reader, working alongside PtO priest, the Revd Chris Probert. There are two centres of worship in the Chaplaincy, Gratot Hommel and Vivey. Among Donna's first duties was to host the RC Bishop of Coutances and Avranches for the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity celebrations which was held in our church in Gratot. Donna has written in the Countance parish magazine, "Our coming together in worship shows us a glimpse of the future God wants for us. That we live together in unity, respectful of each other’s differences".

Thursday, 30 January 2020

A testimony from Hamburg: "it means love, grace, forgiveness, peace and promise"

Candidates remind themselves of their baptism
In the rite of confirmation there is a moment when testimonies can be shared by the candidates, as to why they have decided to receive this sacrament. It is always a moving time. At a recent confirmation in the Church of St Thomas à Becket in Hamburg, one testimony from a young candidate was particularly inspiring. I share her words here:
"When I decided to get confirmed, I was thinking of confirmation as a way of continuing in faith. But it’s so much more than that. During our confirmation lessons we learned about what it all really means; it means dedicating ourselves to the Christian belief and to the Lord. It means not only acknowledging the faith within ourselves, but with all of the Church. It means love, grace and forgiveness. It means peace, it means promise, and true and meaningful trust in the Lord our God".
The parish has existed since 1612. It describes itself as "a welcoming, active and inclusive church, growing in our relationship with God and with the community". That was certainly my experience at the confirmation mass.

Monday, 27 January 2020

23 from across Europe, from Russia to Malta, gather to explore vocation to Holy Orders

Canon William Gulliford reported on our recent Enquirers' Weekend which is held annualy for those at an early stage of exploring Holy Orders in the Church of England. This year there were 24 enquirers, equal numbers of men and women, from across the diocese. The breakdown of nationalities speaks of the international reach of this Church of England diocese in Europe:

Italian 1
French 1
Dutch 1
Belgian 3
Maltese 1
UK 4
German 2
Norwegian 1
Finnish 1
Kenyan 1
Russian 2
Latvian 1

Together the enquirers explored what would be ahead of them as they journey along the discernment path, whether to distinctive diaconate, priesthood or even the religious life. Former candidates from the diocese now serving elsewhere in the Church of England, Frs Ian Gallagher and Alaric Lewis were on hand to speak of their experience. Vocations Advisors, Fr Douglas Emmott and Ms Sonia Taylor spoke on ministry and spiritual direction respectively. Some individuals currently in training for the ministry gave input as well as a member of the staff of ERMC, one of the theological training centres used by the diocese. 

Fr William Gulliford noted that in the week which ended the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and just one week before the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the presence of this group of European postulants in London was significant, not least for the parishes the groups visited on Sunday 26 January.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Fr David Waller begins his ministry as Archdeacon

The Archdeaconry of Gibraltar (which comprises Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Morocco and the Balearic and Canary Islands) and the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta have a new archdeacon. The Venerable David Waller took up office officially on Wednesday 15 January. He has a long experience in this diocese, as Chaplain of Palma de Mallorca and Area Dean of Catalunya and the Balearics.

It is an exciting new chapter for these two archdeaconries, and we welcome Archdeacon David to this post and pledge our support for him in his new responsibilities. There are about 75 congregations to look after!

Archdeacon David will preside over the synod of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar which begins this Tuesday.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

If you are looking for a Lent Course this year, check this one out!

Opening the Scriptures: Setting our hearts on fire. This is the title of this year's Lent Course sponsored by the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). 

I know that members of the Diocese in Europe might wonder why I point towards a CTBI resource, but we are part of the Church of England which is a member of CTBI, along with the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, Free Churches and Pentecostal/New Churches, among others. In fact, I am a trustee of this ecumenical body, in the last year of my 5 year term representing the Church of England.

But most important to note is that this year's Lenten study is written by our very own Dr Clare Amos, the Director of Lay Discipleship of this diocese! 

Dr Clare Amos
Clare, as the readers of this blog may know, is a world-class lay theologian, specialising in biblical studies (as well as interfaith relations, among other things). She studied at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem, one of the foremost centres for scriptural studies in the Roman Catholic Church. Before she joined the staff of this diocese, her last position was as Director of the Intereligious Department at the World Council of Churches. Her many responsibilities in the Diocesan Ministry Team include the work on the Rule of Life, the lectionary blog, and directing the MES (Ministry Experience Scheme) for interns in the diocese. She is a member of Holy Trinity, Geneva.

Opening the Scriptures: Setting our hearts on fire, as the title suggests is a study which explores ways to discover the Bible with our hearts as well as our minds. I commend it most warmly to groups in this diocese as well as individuals. I know that it will be found to be a stimulating course for this upcoming Lent.

It can be downloaded from the CTBI website here: