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.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

All Saints Rome: "an eclectic mix"


All Saints Church Council

All Saints Rome describes itself as "an open-minded and welcoming Anglican community in the heart of Rome".  An Anglican congregation has been worshipping in the Eternal City since 1816. Once largely English, today it is the home for "an eclectic mix of expatriated employees of international companies, people working locally in Rome, diplomatic personnel from embassies, visiting scholars and international students". Each Sunday, outside the extraordinary time of pandemic, the regulars are joined by a healthy community of tourists and pilgrims. 

Now that some of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic are being relaxed, like so many congregations, priest and people are working together to map the way forward, with physical worship restored, and online / hybrid services continuing. In All Saints, the numbers at Sunday liturgies are now back to a healthy size and the Council and the Chaplain, Fr Rob Warren, are looking at how to strengthen the stewardship and finances in the parish after a very difficult year, as well as focussing on some essential work to maintain the beautiful building, and attend to the pastoral needs of a diverse and growing congregation.  

All Saints Church Mouse reminds the faithful of the financial needs of the parish!

Situated in Rome, not surprisingly there is a significant ecumenical role for All Saints as well. Fr Rob knows that many non-Anglicans, and many Roman Catholics in particular, may encounter Anglicanism for the first time when they attend a service in the chaplaincy. In so many ways All Saints is a "shop window" for Anglicanism and the Church of England, in the very centre of Rome.

Archbishop Ernest (centre) with Fr McCulloch to his left, and the Pakistani priest to his right

On Sunday 13 June, the sacraments of baptism and confirmation were celebrated, and one of the ecumenical friends of the parish, Fr Robert McCulloch, a Roman Catholic Columban priest, brought a young Pakistani priest with him, who is studying ecumenism in Rome, but who had never witnessed an Anglican liturgy. It perhaps was not a typical Sunday mass, given the baptisms and confirmations, but also because my good friend, Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome was present to assist me in the celebration! 

The diversity of ordained ministry in St George's Madrid

St George's Madrid

The Diocese in Europe, even though part of the Church of England, is not very English at all. In fact, it is a particular privilege as a bishop to be able to accompany congregations as they grow and develop in response to the challenges of multicultural and multinational ministry. 

Solomon Ike (left) with St George's Chaplain Canon Sabry (right)

St George’s Madrid was once called "the British Embassy Church of St George". Today it is like so many of our churches in capital cities: a magnet for people from every part of the world who use English as a first, second, or even third language and who are seeking a church home.  

Many years ago I had the pleasure of a meeting with a dozen or so members of the church who are originally from Nigeria. They spoke to me with great pride that one of their own compatriots was wanting to become a priest. That began a long journey of discernment and training for Solomon Ike.

The ordination of Solomon in St George’s Madrid on 30 May opens new and greater possibilities for wider outreach to Anglicans from the African continent. The Chaplain, Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, is already from Africa (Egypt). Deacon Solomon brings further links to people from sub-Saharan Africa, as he is passionate about extending the reach of pastoral care and spiritual support to the Nigerian community in particular. 

The British who established St George's perhaps did not know what a blessing they were giving to the city in building a Church that would not only serve them but grow to embrace Christians from around the world.

Deacon Solomon with some members of the Nigerian community at St George's

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Congratulations Archbishop Ian Ernest on your 20th anniversary as a bishop


A warm ecumenical celebration occurred today, the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, in the Anglican Centre in Rome. It was the 20th anniversary of the ordination to the episcopate of the Most Revd Ian Ernest, the Director of the Centre. Anglican (and Episcopalian), Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran and Armenian friends and colleagues were able to join in this significant milestone in the ministry of Archbishop Ian.

Archbishop Ian presiding at the mass

The preacher at the mass was Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Pontifical Legate of the Armenian Church in Western Europe, and the Representative of the Armenian Church to the Vatican. We also all had a chance to learn a Creole refrain, Creole being the mother tongue of Archbishop Ian and his wife Kamla.

Kondir mwa, vey lor mwa, Senyer, pran mo lamain.

Ad multos annos, Monseigneur Ian!

Armenian Archbishop Khajag Barsamian

An added blessing for me was the chance to get to know Archbishop Khajag; he and I share many good friends in the Armenian Church world wide and the Anglican Communion!