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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".