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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, 27 November 2020

Journey into Advent with Mark

 

St Mark, traditionally held to be the founder of the Church in Alexandria


Advent begins this Sunday. Our Director of Lay Discipleship, Dr Clare Amos, has been busy preparing some resources to help the faithful of the diocese to enter into the spirituality of this season. 

This Monday 30 November, 18.00 Central European Time (17.00 GMT), Clare will lead a reflection on the Gospel of Mark. This brief overview of the emphasis that Mark lays out in his Gospel, will be helpful for us as Mark is the Gospel we will be mostly be reading from on Sundays during this "Year B" of the Common Lectionary. 

Clare's reflections will be in the context of a brief liturgy called "A Service of Meditations for the Beginning of Advent". Clare is a Biblical scholar (among many other things) and a very engaging teacher. Do join us for this "Journey into Advent with Mark". The livestream is on the Diocesan YouTube channel:  

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGJClP-qZ1YGN_4CUhIqi4g


Clare also runs for us a blog with weekly lectionary reflections from a European perspective. The blog is entitled "Exploring Faith in Europe". It can be found here: https://faithineurope.net/. Take a look at this site. In her current post Clare tells us why she is excited about Mark's Gospel quoting theologian Chris Burdon: ‘In the end, there are two ways of dealing with the Gospel according to Mark: either we throw the book away and opt for a gentler religion, or we act on it and attempt to follow this man (Jesus) through glory and through terror.’ 

Tune in and join the excitement, and learn about the glory and terror, on 30 November!






Thursday, 26 November 2020

Happy Thanksgiving to the clergy and people of the Diocese who come from the USA

 

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

Today we wish a very happy Thanksgiving to the many folk across the diocese in Europe who come from the USA. In that country it is a national holiday and a day of thanks, which may have its origin back to 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and members of the Wampanoag nation shared an autumn harvest feast, together enjoying the fruits of the earth. 

In our multinational/multicultural Diocese in Europe, we rejoice in the ministry, witness, generosity and support that so many from the United States bring to our common life. We also recognise that for many of our US friends and colleagues this year's holiday will be a difficult time. Some have endured months or more of separation from loved ones. Some have lost family or friends, or are worried about those close to them who are sick. Some are concerned for values of truth and justice in their homeland. So we pray with you, the prayer for this day in the Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church, USA:

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

We mourn the passing of two pioneering leaders of our diocese

This has been a sad week in the Diocese in Europe. Two great pioneers of our work, one in Finland, and the other in Poland died in the last couple of days. 

Mr Geoffrey Phillips receiving the Maundy Money in Westminster Abbey

Mr Geoffrey Phillips died on 16 November after a long struggle with cancer. He served the Anglican Church in Finland for many years as a Reader (Licensed Lay Minister) in particular supporting the work of the English speaking congregation in Turku where he lived. He was an enthusiastic promotor of the Porvoo Agreement, and our good relations in Turku are due, in no small measure, to the respect with which he was held by our Church in Finland partners over the 25 years of the Agreement. 

He was generous in every way to the Anglican work in Finland, and we thank God for his faithful and loving ministry, and for his kind consideration of the future of our work there. The Chaplain of St Nicholas Helsinki and Area Dean for Finland, the Revd Tuomas Mäkipää writes: 

"It is with great sadness that I must share the news of Geoffrey’s death. He died yesterday after fighting cancer for two years. Geoffrey will be remembered for his welcoming smile, friendship and patience; for his services to the Diocese in Europe and Anglican Chaplaincy in Finland as Licensed Reader and benefactor. He received the Royal Maundy from the Queen in 2011.

Geoffrey was an active member of the Turku Cathedral International Congregation until very recently, occasionally preaching, preparing the prayers of intercession and assisting at the Holy Communion. He and his wife Meg made a large donation to the Diocese in Europe and the Chaplaincy in Finland. He did not wish the donation to be anonymous but did not asked for great publicity either: after serving the Anglican Church for years, he was also concerned for her future well-being.

Geoffrey’s funeral service is at the Ylösnousemuskappeli (Chapel of Resurrection) in Turku on Thursday at 2 p.m (GMT+2). There is no gathering after the service due to current restrictions. Instead of flowers, donations to cancer research are suggested."

Geoffrey is survived by his wife Meg.

Fr Bob Gamble presiding in Krakow

And yesterday we learned that the Revd Robert Gamble, a retired priest in Poland, died. Fr Bob, as he was known, laid the foundation for our present work in Warsaw, and indeed in what has become officially recognised and registered in the country as "The Anglican Church in Poland". Fr Bob was an Episcopalian, originally from Philadelphia. His love for Poland developed long before the fall of the iron curtain. He was held in great esteem in the country, particularly in the city of Poznan where he lived, for his work in communications, social outreach and publishing. (He brought the Harry Potter saga to Poland). 

The Revd David Brown the Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Poland wrote yesterday: 

"Fr Bob died earlier this morning, very peacefully, in a Poznan hospital. His closest relative is his son Dominic in Texas in  the United States. Bob has been a great friend to the Chaplaincy here in Poland for more than 20 years  He has given so much  to many, many people in his life and has always  had a great, warm, generous, giving heart for the needy, the vulnerable and those experiencing difficulties in their lives."   


O God, your mercies are more than we can know; hear our prayers for your servants Geoffrey and Robert; and welcome them into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Tuesday, 3 November 2020

St Martin de Porres, USA, Social Justice


Today is the commemoration of St Martin de Porres, a Dominican friar, born in Lima, Peru in 1579, of a Spanish nobleman and a freed African slave. Because of his care for all regardless of class or colour he is considered the patron saint of race relations and social justice. Perhaps a fitting saint to be celebrated on this election day in the USA.

There are many US citizens who live and work in this diocese (including a number of our clergy). Almost all I have spoken to have eagerly taken advantage of mail-in voting and have exercised their democratic right. We pray today for the USA, in the words of a collect from the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church: 

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and the nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In another connection with our circumstances today, St Martin de Porres, during an epidemic in Lima, broke the rules of the convent to minister and care for the sick who were kept behind locked doors. He was disciplined by superiors, but responded: "Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity" 

The Archdeaconry of Gibraltar is twinned with the Anglican Diocese of Peru. 

St Martin de Porres died on this day in 1639.

God, you aroused in Martin de Porres a sense of Christian social conscience to help the poor and needy. Let this same sense of social justice flourish in us, in our nations, and in our world today, to bring about a new rebirth of hope. 


Monday, 2 November 2020

Ecumenical outreach to the needy in Lanzarote

St Laurence's, Lanzarote

A plan to take advantage of a travel corridor still open between the UK and the Canary Islands has been cancelled: a visit to the chaplaincy of St Laurence, Lanzarote, on 14-15 November. Last Saturday night new English lockdown arrangements effective from 5 November were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnston. Travel within the country and abroad is now not possible, unless considered essential. So, sadly, Lanzarote is added to the growing pile of cancelled pastoral visits dating back to last March. The chaplain, the Revd Canon Stan Evans was very understanding. 

In Lanzarote the mission of the chaplaincy to reach out to the lost and marginalised on the island has been growing. Fr Stan is working with his Roman Catholic colleague, Fr Agustin Lasso, to look at ways to work together to serve the 600 families who are in desperate need on the island, reaching out "with the compassion of Christ as so many are hurting or are bruised at this time". There was bountiful and generous support in the parish's recent harvest festival which will greatly help this joint mission. "Together we can do so much more than apart".

Clearly, many things are cancelled because of COVID-19; but across the diocese, love and compassion are not among them! 




Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Celebrating Holy Paradox

Syrian Orthodox Church, SE Turkey

Dr Clare Amos, the Diocesan Director of Lay Discipleship, has written a wonderful reflection on the forthcoming feast of All Saints. She reflects on "the intrincally paradoxical nature of our faith": 

All Saints Day is actually the celebration of the ridiculous paradox that WE are ‘all saints’, at least potentially, even if honesty forces us to admit that it doesn’t always seem like that in the present. In fact if we (mistakenly) put our focus on ‘All Saints Day’ on the great and traditional saints of the church’s history – we miss the meaning of the Feast.   

Clare also draws on the Syriac tradition in the Christian Church, which has significan roots in the far south east of this Diocese in Europe.    

You can find the full article on the Faith in Europe blog which can be found here:  https://faithineurope.net/

The Faith in Europe blog is but one part of Clare's work, and is valuable for all preachers and others who wish to reflect, week by week, on the lectionary readings, from a European perspective. 

 

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Prayer for Nigeria

One of the joys of life in the Diocese in Europe is its multicultural make-up. In this great mosaic of peoples, Nigerian Anglicans are among the largest groups of members. They are also among the most joyful in their faith. 

These are worrying days for the Nigerians in Europe. Events in their homeland are alarming and many are worried for the safety of family and friends. Yesterday, Bishop Robert and I sent a letter to our clergy and to the Nigerian members of our diocese, to unite us in prayer for their troubled country. 

Here is the letter:




  

Friday, 23 October 2020

Observing safety protocols, a joyful confirmation service is still possible

One of the few country travel corridors still open to a London resident like me, where quarantine is not needed upon entry or return, is Germany. So on 12 September, a confirmation service, delayed from last May was finally able to be celebrated in All Saints Cologne. 

With 16 candidates it was one of the largest confirmations held in the parish since the mid 1960s. It was necessary, by German regulations, to restrict the numbers in church for the mass, which meant that besides the candidates, only close family members could attend, which was a disappointment for so many in the chaplaincy of Bonn and Cologne who would have wanted to be present. 

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful celebration. But a few modifications were required to keep everyone as safe as possible:


The congregation and ministers were masked, except for presidential prayers and preaching, when there was ample physical distancing.


Cotton wool, changed for each candidate, was used for the anointing with Holy Chrism. Doors to the outside kept open to permit the circulation of fresh air.


The laying on of the bishop's hand is an essential part of the sacrament of confirmation, so an acolyte well rehearsed in managing sanitizing spray for my hand betwen each candidate was absolutely essential. Probably not something covered in the usual servers' training manuals! 


Movement in the liturgy was kept to a minimum, with family groups allowed to move together for the giving of the candles, for instance, keeping a good distance between them and other individuals or groups. 


The reception was in the open air, again with family groups kept together and distanced from other groups and individuals. 

Of course we missed some of the usual features of a confirmation service: a packed church, congregational singing, the procession to the font, the sprinkling with water, and the reception of Holy Communion under both kinds, but even in these troubling times, with due care, the celebration of faith continues in God's holy Church. 

May God grant continued protection to the candidates and guide their steps in their life in Christ.


Photos courtesy of Reiner Knudsen

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, Joyeux Jour de l'Action de Grâce



Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians in the Diocese in Europe, and to Canadian friends and relatives everywhere!

As Canadians come together with grateful hearts for all the blessings we have received, let us pray for the needs of our world, especially for all those who are victims of war, abuse, racial injustice, alienation and disease. May the strength of our prayers open up avenues of healing, comfort and radical changes in the systems that keep people oppressed. 
If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough - Meister Eckhart

Photo by Ryan Christodoulou on Unsplash

Friday, 2 October 2020

New deacons told "You do not know where you'll end or what a blessing you could become!"

On 26 September, 3 new deacons were ordained in All Saints Rome:Professor Dr Gottlieb Leopold Martin George, to serve as assistant curate (NSM) in St George’s Anglican Church, Berlin;  Robert Rushforth Morley, to serve as assistant curate (NSM) in All Saints Anglican Church, Milan; and Dr Valdis Teraudkalns, to serve as assistant curate (NSM) in St Saviour’s Anglican Church, Riga.
 
The congregation had to be limited by Italian regulations to 60, and many of the close family and friends of the ordinands were unable to attend due to distance and travel limitations in the pandemic situation, but finally, after a three month delay, and finding a place where both I as ordaining bishop and the candidates could all be together (ordinations cannot be virtual!), we were able to proceed with this joyful occasion in the life of the Diocese and the Church. 
 
 

Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and former Archbishop and Primate of the Indian Ocean, was able to participate with me in the rite, presenting one of the candidates, and delivering to them the copy of the New Testament, following the laying on of hands. 
 
Besides our own diocesan officials, the Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, and the Diocesan Registrar, there were significant ecumenical presence, which helped to signify that although this was a Church of England service, it was in fact an event within the life of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Among the ecumenical guests were the Revd Matthew Laferty, the Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome (I have known Pastor Laferty from Moscow and Vienna) and the Revd Fr Robert McCulloch, the Procurator General of the Missionary Society of St Columba, and a Consultor to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.  
 
The Revd Robert Warren, the Chaplain of All Saints Rome, was the preacher for the occasion. Fr Robert and his team (which included Chaja Verkerk, Ministry Experience Scheme Intern) were generous hosts for the event, having been given only very short notice that they were to hold this diocesan service.
 
In his sermon, Fr Robert encouraged the new deacons to be strong in faith for the uncertain days and years ahead: 
 
"We have come to know with certainty this last six months, that there is no certainty, that events intervene, that underrated skills become crucially and suddenly important. The health emergencies of the recent past may continue. Political emergencies of the quite immediate future may dwarf what we have seen in the past six months. There is economic uncertainty surrounding the daily work of our parishioners – how they earn their crust.  These along with the economic uncertainty facing the church will undoubtedly change the question “what will these three men do?” and “what will be their legacy in the economy of God?”
...Be good curates where you’re sent.  But be good soldiers in battles as yet unseen. You are being ordained with the greatest certainty that you are people of good repute. That you are wise people.  That you have amassed about you a degree of circumspection, of knowledge of how people tick, that you are capable of knowing your place within structures, that you can work on a team where there will be people in your charge and where you are in the charge of others.  But you are being picked out as people who have an acquaintance with the ways of the Spirit. You are being ordained not only in the certainty of what we believe we know, but in the hope that you will be up to the challenges of the Spirit of God in an age the exigencies of which we cannot possibly imagine.You’ve been told where you are going to start.  The future is outside our reach and outside yours. You do not know where you’ll end and what a blessing you could become".  
We pray for Valdis, Martin and Robert, on entering the sacred order of deacon as a vital step on their journey, if God wills, to be priests. May they indeed be a blessing to God's Church. 
 

Photos courtesy of Chaja Verkerk
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, 14 September 2020

A Creationtide workshop, sponsored by Christ Church Vienna

In this season of Creationtide, Christ Church Vienna is hosting a relevant workshop on the morning of Saturday 19 September. The workshop will be led by Dr Clare Amos, the Diocesan Director of Lay Discipleship, a biblical scholar and world class lay theologian. Dr Amos will draw on both the Old and New Testaments to explore our relationship to the created order. Environmental issues and a commitment to safeguard the integrity of creation is one of the key themes of the diocesan strategy. 

Previous workshops by Clare have been heavily subscribed, so if you are interested please contact Christ Church Vienna (office@christchurchvienna.org) by Thursday 17 September to reserve your place! Please note that the times are Central European Time, (British Summer Time +1 hour).


Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Camino Chaplaincy priest asks for prayers for justice and peace in Kenosha

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

On 23 August in Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shot an African American, Jacob Blake, in the back, at close range, several times, in front of his 3 sons. Mr Blake has survived, but may be paralysed from the waist down. Public officials are calling for a thorough investigation of the shooting, and a reckoning with the broader issues of racial injustice.  

Meanwhile protests have been seen in Kenosha in the aftermath of this event; sadly some of these protests have turned violent and destructive. One of our locum clergy who is connected to the Camino Chaplaincy (in Santiago de Compostela), the Revd Fr Matthew Buterbaugh is the Rector of St Matthew's Episcopal Church, a parish in downtown Kenosha, close to the centre of the unrest. Fr Matthew has been in communication with Fr Bob Bates, our Lead Chaplain for the Camino Chaplaincy, who has been circulating requests for prayer for Kenosha. Fr Matthew says "I greatly appreciate that, and I am heartened to be a part of the diocesan community in Europe, who are reaching out and praying. I, and a number of interfaith clergy, marched in a peaceful protest earlier yesterday [Monday] evening, before things became more heated overnight. Please do pray for justice and peace in our time". 

Fr Matthew reports that they have had to board up some windows in the Church office on account of the vandalism. However, he stresses, "I continuously remind people in this time that buildings and windows can be replaced, but human lives cannot." 

It has been barely three months since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our Diocese marked that event with a prayer service for racial justice on 13 June. 

Pray for healing for Jacob Blake, for justice to be served in his case, and for peace in Kenosha.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Dean Emeritus Ken Robinson RIP

Today I will be representing the Diocese at the funeral of Dean Emeritus Robinson. Please remember Fr Ken in your prayers, and his widow Merry and their family.

O Lord, may Ken your servant and priest, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, rejoice in the company of your saints. 

 

 

The notice from the Church Times:

ROBINSON. — On 5 August, the Very Revd John Kenneth Robinson: Chaplain of HM Prison Lancaster (1965-66); St John’s School, Singapore (1966-68); Vicar of Holy Trinity, Colne (1968-71); Chaplain of St George’s, Grenada (1971-74); Director of Education, Windward Islands (1971-74); Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of the Windward Islands (1971-74); Vicar of Skerton (1974-81); USPG Area Secretary for East Anglia (1981-91); Hon. Minor Canon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral (1982-91); Chaplain of St George’s, Lisbon, with St Paul’s, Estoril (1991-2000); Archdeacon of Gilbraltar (1994-2002); Canon of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Gibraltar (1994-2000); Dean (2000-03); aged 83.

Friday, 7 August 2020

The Very Revd Ken Robinson, RIP

 

It is with sadness that I share the news across the diocese that the Very Revd Ken Robinson died last Wednesday evening, 5 August, after a long illness. Fr Ken had served this diocese with distinction, first as Chaplain of St George's Lisbon with St Paul's Estoril, then as Archdeacon of Gibraltar, and finally as Dean of Gibraltar. He retired from that position in 2003, and was named Dean Emeritus.

Ken was widely loved in the diocese, and contributed greatly to building a sense of family among us, making the Cathedral a particularly warm and welcoming place. He has many friends across the diocese, in the wider Church of England, and even in the Windward Islands where he once served as Director of Education. It was Dean Robinson who officially installed me in the stall of St Andrew in the Cathedral, shortly after my consecration, inaugurating my own close connection to the Cathedral.

Fr Ken's wife Merry told me that despite being ill for several months, he died at peace, having received the last rites. 

Father we pray for the soul of Ken, your servant and priest, that he, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, may rejoice in the perpetual company of your saints. 


Friday, 24 July 2020

Generous Love and the Embassy and Hospitality of God

In 2008, an Anglican Communion report on interfaith relations entitled Generous Love, called upon Anglicans to practise "the embassy and hospitality of God". As an embassy, as ambassadors, we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. The challenges of hospitality include building relationships of trust and respect. Generous Love has an important and insightful sentence: "none of the places, situations or societies where we meet and greet are the exclusive territory of any one group; they are entrusted by God to be shared by everyone, since all humans are made in God's image".  
I reflected on this today. The great building and world heritage site which is Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was built as a cathedral in 537 and served as the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople until the Ottoman capture of the city in 1453. It was then turned into a mosque. So it has been in its history a sacred space for both Christians and Muslims. In 1934 the secularist Turkish government turned the building into a museum - and it has remained so until today, when Muslim prayers will be publically recited, turning it back into a mosque. 
Mosaic in Hagia Sophia
One could argue that as a museum the shared heritage of the building was preserved and historic polarisations associated with it belonging exclusively to one group were avoided. Visitors, whether Muslim, Christian or of any other or no faith, could be reminded of the entangled religious history of this part of the world, and therefore for the need for dialogue, tolerance and understanding among these two great world religions. Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian and opposition member of the Turkish parliament expressed this succintly, "Hagia Sophia was a symbol of our rich history. Its dome was big enough for all".
In the conversion of Hagia Sophia from museum to mosque what must be avoided is further polarisation: in some Muslim countries making life more difficult for minority Christian communities, and similarly for minority Muslim communities in other places.  
But today we know that our Orthodox brothers and sisters around the world are especially saddened by this re-inauguration of Hagia Sophia as a mosque. So we extend to all who lament this occurrence, our love and support. 
A mosaic in Hagia Sophia
 

Friday, 10 July 2020

Unité des Chrétiens: an interview

For any who might be interested, Unité des Chrétiens, the French ecumenical journal has run an interview with me which touches upon many themes of our Diocese in Europe: ecumenical life, Anglican identity, Brexit and our multicultural context. The journal itself (despite this interview!) is always an interesting read, covering ecumenical life in France, Europe and beyond, from Oriental, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant perspectives. The link to the journal's site is here: https://unitedeschretiens.fr/

The article is below:

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Petertide Seminars: An Introduction to ARCIC and IARCCUM



Here is something of interest to those in the diocese and beyond, who are keen to learn about our Anglican Communion's official dialogue and relations with the Roman Catholic Church. (And perhaps to know what it is I do as Co-Chairman of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission!)

This is a series of 3 seminars, online, sponsored by the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The official invitation is here:
H.G. Archbishop Ian, Director of The Anglican Centre in Rome, is delighted to invite you to attend ACR Petertide  online interactive course subdivided into three sessions on Ecumenism, examining the work of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM).

Course one, on the history and foundations of Arcic I and the beginnings of Arcic II and the Lambeth Conference of 1988, will be held on Monday 29 June – the feast of Sts Peter and Paul. Speakers will be the Old Testament scholar Dame Mary Tanner, who is also an expert on ARCIC, and Bishop Christopher Hill, who served as co-secretary of ARCIC from 1974-81.

Course two, on ARCIC II and III and the shifts in tensions and ecumenical mood, will be held on Monday 13 July with Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, former canon theologian of Westminster Abbey and Mgr Mark Langham, former official of the Pontifical Council for the Promoting of Christian unity.

The final and third course on Monday 27 July will focus on the establishment of IARCCUM,  will be given by Archbishop Donald Bolen, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Regina, Canada, and another former co-secretary of ARCIC, as well as of IARCCUM and Bishop David Hamid, suffragan bishop in Europe and co-chair of IARCCUM.

All the courses will be held on Zoom at 3pm, Rome time, and will last two hours, with those attending encouraged to participate. Attendance is free, but a donation to the Anglican Centre would be welcome.

To register, please contact administrator@anglicancentre.it and indicate which seminar/s you'd like to attend.


Thursday, 11 June 2020

Praying Together Across Europe For Racial Justice


On Friday 12 June at 12 noon Central European Time (11.00 am British Summer Time) there will be a service of prayer, scripture, silence of 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and blessing, in solidarity with BAME communities around the world. 

This will be a brief service (about 15 minutes in total) at the hour when Our Lord hung upon the cross. It will be led by some of the BAME clergy of the diocese. 

We offer this moment to come together to repent of the sin of racism, to pray for an end to injustice, to give thanks for the beautiful diversity of humanity, and to be strengthened for action that will make a difference. 

Please join us. 

Just follow this link to the live stream (available from about 11.30 am CET/10.30 am BST) on the Diocese in Europe YouTube.  

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Racism is a sin. Full stop.



Today the Church remembers the Martyrs of Uganda, young Africans, of Anglican and Roman Catholic background who were put to death by the Ugandan King Mwanga, who despised people of religious faith. 

At this time across the United States of America and even here in London, demonstrations continue protesting the murder of another black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. As we know he was mercilessly pinned down by the knee of a white police officer, begging to be able to breathe, until he died. Other police officers looked on. 

While the world searches for a cure and a vaccine against coronavirus - how we need still to find a cure and a vaccine for the racism that is still so pervasive in our societies. We Christians believe in the equality of all peoples and value the richness that comes with racial and ethnic diversity. Racism is a sin; as such we must oppose it in all its forms. 

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued this statement concerning the events in the USA:

“Recent events in the United States of America have once again drawn public attention to the ongoing evil of white supremacy. Systemic racism continues to cause incalculable harm across the world. Our hearts weep for the suffering caused – for those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced persecution, those who live in fear. God’s justice and love for all creation demands that this evil is properly confronted and tackled. Let us be clear: racism is an affront to God. It is born out of ignorance, and must be eradicated. We all bear the responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.

“As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘In a real sense, we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Therefore, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’

“We pray that God’s abounding wisdom, compassion and love will guide leaders across the world to forge a better society

What can we do as Christians? Many, including my sister Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin (above), Bishop of Dover, herself a black woman, say words are now not enough. Some action must be taken.

The faithful of this diocese can redouble our efforts to listen - to listen to minority voices in the Church and beyond the Church; to listen to the voiceless and to those who keep silent after years or generations of oppression. We are a community of reconciliation - and our witness to the world begins with our living that reconciliation within our own Church. 

We can speak and preach about the the sin of racism, and keep before the community our need to repent for ways we may be complicit or have in the past been complicit in this sin. 



And certainly we can take a stand when politicians manipulate and violate our religious principles. The Primate of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry (above), an African American man, denounced President Trump's stunt last Monday, when he clutched a Bible outside St John's Episcopal Church, close to the White House, after he had caused armed security forces to use tear gas and violence to disperse those gathered to peacefully protest George Floyd’s murder: 

"This evening, the President of the United States stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, lifted up a Bible, and had pictures of himself taken. In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes. This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us.

The Bible teaches us that “God is love.” Jesus of Nazareth taught, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The prophet Micah taught that the Lord requires us to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”

The bible the President held up and the church that he stood in front of represent the values of love, of justice, of compassion, and of a way to heal our hurts.

We need our President, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders who help us to be a people and nation living these values. For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

God of justice, In your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception. Open our eyes to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being. Open our minds to understand that all your children are brothers and sisters in the same human family. Open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others. Open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by discrimination and their passionate appeals for change. Fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.






Sylvia Brantingham RIP




Many people across the diocese will remember Sylvia Brantingham, the cheerful and helpful receptionist and office assistant at the Diocesan Office in Westminster, who retired several years ago. 

Sylvia died on the morning of Pentecost, last Sunday 31 May, after a battle with cancer. She was a faithful member of St Pancras Old Church in London, and her parish priest was able to bring her Holy Communion and minister the last rites to her that morning and be with her as she passed into the loving arms of God. 

Sylvia's Christian devotion was both humble and inspiring. Bron Panter our Office Manager knew her well and even recalls getting a bit cross with her as she would quietly disappear to say her midday prayers! I also recall how Sylvia never wasted a moment; in the midst of the busy-ness of answering doors, phone calls, preparing refreshments for visitors and meetings, sorting post, and other general office duties, if she had a spare moment, she would be found at her desk quietly reciting the rosary, in all likelihood with special intention for us all. 

Sylvia was always at the centre of our Tufton Street community gatherings. She will be missed. When we are able to gather again, post-lockdown, as a Tufton Street team, we will celebrate a requiem mass for her.

May blessed Mary and all the saints surround her with love and welcome her home. 




Saturday, 23 May 2020

USPG's world-wide partners pray for us

Canon Sabry (Casablanca), retired Archdeacon Geoff Johnston, and Rebecca Boardman

USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is one the oldest mission agencies in the Anglican Communion. Founded in 1701, it has been a partner to Churches and communities world-wide, including the Diocese in Europe. It sees its partnership as a way to "enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential and champion justice". It is a little known fact that over half of the communities in the Diocese in Europe owe their origin to USPG (or SPG as it was known then) support and sponsorship. Today, USPG supports our work with migrants and refugees in France, Germany, Greece and Morocco.

The Mission and Public Affairs Unit of the Diocese, chaired by Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel, has a member from USPG on the unit. Rebecca Boardman has been a close collaborator, particularly on migration and refugee issues, for over 5 years.  

At a recent meeting of the MPA unit Rebecca in her report told us that USPG has received many expressions of  support from world-wide partners who are aware that Europe is one of the regions of the world where coronavirus has had a most devastating effect, with hundreds of thousands dead and widespread disruption. Rebecca wanted the people of our diocese to know that we are "woven into the prayers of so many partners across the world". 

We thank our world-wide friends for heir love and prayerful support. 

Monday, 18 May 2020

Protocol with Italian Government permits C of E public services to resume

Abp Ian with PM Conte to his right
At Palazzo Chigi, Abp Ian Ernest with Prime Minister Conte to his right

Slowly, slowly, in some parts of the Diocese, steps are being taken to return to public worship in our church buildings.

For instance, today 18 May, a special Protocol which was signed last Friday by the Italian Prime Minister, Professor Avv. Guiseppe Conte and Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome (acting on behalf of the Association of the Church of England in Italy) came into effect. The Protocol is detailed and provides instructions to be followed in liturgical celebrations and includes measures to be observed around social distancing, compulsory use of facemasks and other forms of protection, and the disinfection of church premises.

The signing ceremony at the Palazzo Chigi was also attended by Dr Wendy Wyver, First Political Counsellor of the United Kingdom Embassy in Italy (and a member of All Saints in Rome).

Incidentally, this Protocol is a fruit of the fact that the Church of England is now a recognised religious body in Italy.

Lord  our God, in your Son risen from the dead, all creation sees the pledge of things to come. Hear the sigh that goes up from all the world and remember the suffering of all humanity, so that out of its pain may come newness of life. You who reign for ever and ever.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Day of prayer for people of every faith

Tomorrow, 14 May, is an international, interreligious day of prayer to ask God to lift this pandemic from the world, and to inspire scientists to find a cure for the disease.

The inspiration for this comes from the "Higher Committee for Human Fraternity" which was set up when Pope Francis visited Abu Dhabi last year. The initiative transcends religious boundaries and invites all religious people to appeal to God, in accordance with their own faith and teachings. 

Pope Francis has released a video which I post here to motivate us all. In it he calls on all believers, adherents of all religions to pray, fast and perform works of charity tomorrow.



Dr Clare Amos, our Director of Lay Discipleship, was previously the Interfaith Director at the World  Council of Churches. She has composed this prayer which I commend for use:

God of life, Creator of all, 
Your reach stretches beyond the farthest stars that we can see, 
Yet you are nearer to us than our own soul.  
In this time of crisis may your love draw human beings together,
Bridging the distance of place, of nationality, of ideology and religion.
Unite us as one in prayer to face together this enemy, the virus.
Free us from fear, grant us courage and compassion, make us generous in acts of charity,
And bring to effect our longing for the healing of this world. Amen

Friday, 24 April 2020

Emmanuel Eneh RIP



Sad news from Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, Area Dean of Finland, concerning Emmanuel Eneh, Reader:

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Emmanuel Eneh RIP

It is with great sadness that I have learnt the news about the death of Emmanuel Eneh. Emmanuel passed away on Thursday, 23rd April 2020.

Emmanuel was a long-standing member of the Anglican Church in Finland and had a significant lay ministry at the International Congregation of Christ the King in Tampere. He served many years as an Anglican Licensed Lay Reader, working together with the priests of the Lutheran Parishes in Tampere in providing pastoral and liturgical ministry to the international church community, gathering in Vanha kirkko in Tampere. His commitment to the implementation of Porvoo Agreement (between Anglican and Lutheran Churches), and his service to the wider community by participating in local politics in Tampere, were a source of inspiration for many.

Emmanuel remained as a member of the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese in Europe until his death. He was also a member of the Deanery Synod of the Nordic and Baltic states.

We remain grateful for Emmanuel’s ministry and pray for him and his family. He is survived by his wife and three children
  
Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.
Luke 2.29-32

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Over the many years I have known Emmanuel, I found him to be a remarkable leader, a defender of human rights and equality, a promoter of ecumenical relations, and a firm believer in his Saviour, Jesus Christ. May he now be welcomed into the joys of the kingdom, in the company of the saints in light.