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.
Diverse, inclusive, Anglican and open to all: St Nicholas Helsinki
Fr Parvez is blessed for his new ministry, Fr Tuomas Mäkipää looks on
The job of any bishop includes personnel management, pastoral care, many meetings and much administration (the latter two these days particularly to do with safeguarding). That is not to mention conflict resolution. It sormetimes feels like my desk is a magnet for complaints and negativity. Overall there is rarely a pause in the work; as Deacon Frances Hiller my chaplain says, "it never slows down!".
But the most important things I do are also the most joyful: being with God's people together with their priests, deacons and lay ministers, celebrating the sacraments of the new covenant and teaching the faith to so many people. It is a huge privilege to preside at the sacraments of initiation, to baptise new Christians, to confirm those who have been previously baptised and who seek to be renewed and strengthened by the Holy Spirit for Christian discipleship. A recent parish visit to St Nicholas, Helsinki, was such a typically joyful event.
Fr Parvez and members of the Pakistani choir
Additionally, at the start of the liturgy, I was able to welcome a priest from the Church of Pakistan into auxiliary ministry in the chaplaincy. Fr Parvez came to the mass with many of his own Pakistani community and enriched the worship with music and song, in Urdu, from their homeland. Members from Asia, the Americas, Africa, UK and other European countries make St Nicholas a truly international community.
One candidate from the "neighbouring" parish of SS Timothy and Titus in Tallinn, Estonia was baptised and then confirmed along with two other confirmation candidates. It is a so hopeful to be with candidates and their communities at these joyful, and faith-filled times.
The Anglican Church in Finland was founded by refugees from St Petersburg, fleeing the Russian Revolution. A century on, it continues to be a inclusive place for people seeking refuge, and a home.
With restrictions on travel tightening in Europe to contain the coronavirus it could shortly become a challenge to consider how such direct community involvement which is at the heart of episcopal ministry can be sustained...Already routine communal parish life and public worship in our Italian chaplaincies is suspended until 3 April by government decree. Deacon Frances and I will be monitoring the changing situation and if changes to parish visits are required, we will keep you informed.
Photos are courtesy of Virpi Paulanto, Office Asst at the Anglican Church in Finland