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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.



Saturday, 22 May 2021

Pentecost - the sign of the Church's universal embrace



On the day of Pentecost, according to the Acts of the Apostles, there was amazement in the crowd which was gathered from the then known world. People as diverse as Parthians to Cretans to Arabs all heard the disciples speaking in their native language. This was the sign that the Church's destiny was to be open to all human nations and cultures.

In this diocese we try to live this Pentecost vision, witnessing to our unity as a community, no matter where on the globe we are from. The licensed clergy who lead our parishes themselves hail from 24 countries (according to my last count), from Canada to Congo.

And the list is growing. The newest priest to be licenced is the Very Revd Dr Ishanesu Sextus Gusha, who is the Chaplain of St Philip and St James, Palma de Mallorca. He comes from Zimbabwe where he was the Dean of the Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints in Harare. Appropriately for our international diocese, he has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America (where he completed his Masters degree; his doctorate in New Testament studies is from the University of Pretoria). He is accompanied by his wife Caroline and three boys, Ishanesu Jr, Theophilus, and Theodore. 

Fr Ishanesu, I know that since you were a child you loved the sea. So from landlocked Zimbabwe to the island of Mallorca - welcome!


A prayer for Pentecost:

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill our hearts with the fire of your love and with the desire for justice for all. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.

Amen.

Friday, 9 April 2021

HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. RIP


This is what we have posted on the Diocese in Europe website, on news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

_______________________________________________________________________

Buckingham Palace has announced today the death of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby said:

"I join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service. Prince Philip continually demonstrated his unfailing support and unstinting loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen for 73 years.

He consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service. During his naval career, in which he served with distinction in the Second World War, he won the respect of his peers as an outstanding officer.

On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life. He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.

The legacy he leaves is enormous. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which he founded in 1956, has inspired generations of young people to help others and instilled in them a vision for citizenship and a desire to serve their communities. His work with countless charities and organisations reflected his wide- ranging, global interests in topics including wildlife, sport, design, engineering and inter-faith dialogue.

In his powerful advocacy for conservation his was a prophetic voice for over half a century, as he brought people from around the world to a new concern and commitment to action for the future of our planet.

As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others. Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example.

I also join many people in giving thanks for the marriage of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, and for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Theirs was a marriage grounded in friendship and mutual respect and sustained by shared faith in Christ.

I pray that God will comfort Her Majesty and the rest of the Royal Family at this time. May His Royal Highness rest in peace and rise in glory."

The Archbishop of York, The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell has also issued a statement which you can read here.

Bishops Robert and David have joined the expression of condolences to the Royal Family. In a statement they said:

“We acknowledge that while the UK has lost an untiring servant, and the Royal family lost a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, the admiration for The Duke of Edinburgh extends throughout the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond.

For our European diocese, we remember that Prince Philip was born in Corfu, and his links across our continent were extensive. When he lived in Malta, he and the then Princess Elizabeth worshipped every Sunday he was not at sea at St Paul’s Pro Cathedral in Valletta, where he remained the Royal Patron of the Friends of St Paul’s Pro Cathedral.”

The Church of England has opened an online book of condolence, and prepared some suggested liturgies.

Guidance to chaplaincies in the diocese regarding memorial services and other arrangements will issue shortly.

The Diocese offers this prayer at this time:

God of our lives,
We give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
For his devotion to Her Majesty The Queen,
For his dedication to global community and God’s creation,
And for his lifetime of loyal service.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy,
Through our Redeemer, Jesus Christ,
Amen.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Easter - healing, hope and love for the world



We celebrate another Easter in the midst of the pain of the world caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Lockdowns continue in many of the countries and regions of the diocese. But for much of the world vaccines are not yet available, and billions of people remain vulnerable, without a coordinated response to address the spread of the virus. 

Justice and peace seem far from reach for millions of our sisters and brothers; grief from war and violence in so many places has not abated. Close to my own heart. the bloody oppression of the people of Burma continues, with no signs of the military thugs lessening their grip on power.  But not only in distant lands, in every community, when we open our eyes, we know there is injustice, grief and despair. 

Christians celebrating the resurrection victory of our Lord are renewed in our commitment to reach out in love, and bear hope to a world in the midst of pain and suffering. The Easter story of the myrrh bearing women is our inspiration for this task.
Almighty God, who revealed the resurrection of your Son to Joanna, Mary and Salome, as they faithfully came bearing myrrh to his tomb: Grant that we too may perceive the presence of the risen Lord in the midst of pain and fear, that we may go forth proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

A blessed and joyful Easter to all!

Christ is risen!

 

Easter hope expressed by the young people of St Nicholas's Helsinki

 


The Anglican Church in Finland, whose principal congregation is St Nicholas Helsinki, was founded by refugees from St Petersburg, fleeing the Russian Revolution. The cross above is one of the historic artifacts brought with them. 

Today, almost 100 years later, St Nicholas's congregation comes from around the world, a vibrant community of people of all ages. 

The children and young people of St Nicholas parish have prepared and released this video, in which they express their Easter hopes and prayers:  

  • for a greener and fairer world for all God's creatures, 
  • for Coronavirus to leave the planet 
  • to see family abroad 
  • to have birthday parties again 
  • to be with friends and eat chocolate eggs!  

It is a delightful and joyful piece, which summarises our hopes before God this Easter.

Thank you to the young folk of St Nicholas! 






 

   

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Anglican Lutheran Society - a place of friendship

St Ethelberga of Barking who founded All Hallows in 675

The Anglican-Lutheran Society is an ecumenical body which brings Lutherans and Anglicans closer together in common cause for the unity of Christ's Church. It promotes a knowledge of our respective traditions and opportunities for common worship, study, witness and, of course, friendship. 

Last Saturday, 6 March, the Annual Meeting was held virtually, hosted by the Church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower in London and their vicar, the Revd Dr Katherine Hedderly. It was a world-wide gathering of friends indeed. Members hail from 37 countries (so far!).  The business of the Annual Meeting was transacted with the gentle leadership of the Co-Moderators, Bishop Michael Ipgrave (Anglican) and the Revd Dr Jaakko Rusama (Lutheran). At the meeting, I was honoured to be elected the Anglican President to serve alongside my dear friend and sister (Lutheran) Bishop Jana Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, also elected at the same time.  

Bishop Jana Jana Jeruma-Grinberga

But the large part of the day was devoted to exploring together an important theme, of interest to Christians everywhere and of every tradition: "Witness Through Service and Sacrifice: Martyrdom in the Church Today".  

Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani

Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani led a very personal and thought provoking session based on her experience as a Persian Christian, whose father was a bishop in Iran, and her brother a martyr of the Church in that country. She shared some deep insights and some lessons for today's Church, where we are often worried about growth and numbers, setting goals and outcomes. Bishop Guli encouraged us, inspired by the martyrs, to be less fearful about loss, to have hope, "to let go of what has been to allow something new to be born". 

Henrietta Blyth

Henrietta Blyth, Chief Executive of ‘Open Doors UK’, gave a presentation on the persecution of Christians around the world today. She drew attention to the multiple ways that we can be vulnerable today, on account of our faith, our ethnicity, and our gender, sometimes, all together.  

God has blessed the Anglican-Lutheran dialogue around the world in recent years. We have achieved together some remarkable convergence in matters of faith. In places such as the British Isles and Ireland and the Nordic and Baltic countries, and the USA and Canada, Anglican and Lutheran Churches have restored full communion between them.  The Anglican Lutheran Society provides a common home for Anglicans and Lutherans to enjoy fellowship and learning, and to be together as friends as we journey together towards the unity which Christ wills for the Church. 

I encourage Anglicans in this Diocese in Europe, who have an ecumenical commitment written into our DNA as a diocese, to consider membership. The website is here


Saturday, 13 February 2021

Looking for a Lent Resource: This is highly recommended!

Among the Anglican Communion's Five Marks of Mission, it is perhaps the fifth mark "to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth" that has an urgent resonance for people of all faiths, and none. We are living in a damaged world in the midst of a climate emergency and time is running out for us to stop and change direction; we have no other planet to go to. 

With Lent fast approaching, I wish to commend a resource produced by USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). It is a set of 6 studies, exploring environmental justice from Anglican perspecrives around the world entitled For Such a Time as This. This resource is available in PDF format here. Each study provides a reflection from a global partner, biblical extracts for reflection, questions for discussion, prayers and a simple action or commitment. The beauty of this resource is that it is easy for small groups to manage. Although written with a UK audience in mind, (hence references in the actions to saving "pence" or eating UK vegetables) it is rich with experiences from around the world which make is particularly attractive for our international diocese. 

If you are looking for an easy to use Lenten resource, I would highly recommend this. Of course, it is applicable for use at any time of the year. 

The Diocese in Europe has prioritised addressing environmental issues, as individuals, church communities, and in the diocese as a whole. USPG is a major partner and friend of our own diocesan life and mission. Rebecca Boardman, one of the senior staff at USPG (and a former worker in our refugee projects in Greece) sits on our Mission and Public Affairs Unit, which is chaired by Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel. USPG's historic predecessor SPG, founded many of our present day chaplaincies. 



Photos courtesy of USPG

Friday, 22 January 2021

Ecumenism of the Cross

A tragic on Wednesday afternoon this week killed at least 4 persons in buildings belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid parish of the Virgen de la Paloma in the heart of the Spanish capital. One priest was among those who died. The building was close to a school, where, due to the snow, the children were not in the playground, or else there would likely have been further tragic deaths and injuries. Reader Celia Paterson who serves in St George's Madrid, knows some of the teachers and LaSalle Brothers at the school, for she has trained them in Godly Play courses. Celia has been in contact with them.  

I also sent a message to the Cardinal Archbishop on behalf of Anglicans. In this week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we remember that we are also united in times of grief and sorrow. The International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, IARCCUM, of which I am the Anglican Co-chairman, describes what we call "the ecumenism of the Cross". 

Su Eminencia

En nombre de nuestro pueblo de la parroquia de la Iglesia de Inglaterra, St George, Madrid, deseo enviarle nuestro más sentido pésame por las muertes tras la explosión de ayer en los edificios de la parroquia de la Virgen de la Paloma. Tengo entendido que hasta el momento han muerto 4 personas, entre ellas uno de sus sacerdotes, el padre Rubén Pérez Ayala, y muchas más han sufrido heridas graves.

Ofrecemos nuestras oraciones por todos los que han muerto, para que el Señor los reciba en su paz eterna. Oramos también para que Dios ayude a los heridos y consuele a los que han perdido a sus seres queridos.

En esta Semana de Oración por la Unidad de los Cristianos, unimos nuestros corazones en solidaridad con nuestras hermanas y hermanos de su Arquidiócesis, les enviamos nuestro amor fraterno y les aseguramos nuestra oración continua.

Atentamente y fraternalmente


Friday, 15 January 2021

Mgr Mark Langham, RIP



Mgr Mark Langham at the Anglican Consultative Council, New Zealand, 2012 

Anglicans around the world, particularly those who have been closely involved in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, join our Catholic sisters and brothers who are mourning the death of Mgr Mark Langham. Fr Mark died in hospice care early this morning after a struggle with cancer. He was the Chaplain of Fisher House, the Roman Catholic Chaplaincy at Cambridge University. Before that he worked from 2008 to 2013 at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, where he was responsible for relations with the Anglican Communion and with the Methodists. During that time, he served as the Roman Catholic Co-Secretary of ARCIC, and also was among the official representatives of the Catholic Church at the Lambeth Conference of 2008, and at meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council.

As a dialogue partner Mark was meticulous and clear in his thinking, and had the extraordinary gift of finding common ground while honouring to the fullest his own Catholic position. So many of us remember his infectious sense of humour and often hilarious tales of life at the Vatican. He was always a convivial companion around a glass of wine or over dinner. 

In early January as he was moved to hospice care he wrote to friends, "I would ask for no fuss, or messages. I am a firm believer in the communion of saints, and it is your love and prayers that will sustain me most at this time." 

May God now receive him into the communion of the saints in light, and grant this faithful servant eternal rest.