Pages

WELCOME...

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.



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