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.



Saturday, 30 April 2022

The Revd Ronald Andrew Corne - RIP


Last Wednesday 27 April, in St Swithun's Church, Headbourne Worthy, we laid to rest the Revd Ronald Corne, chaplain of All Saints Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, with St Martin de Porres, La Palma, Spain. Fr Ron fell ill in February, and after a brief time in hospital in Tenerife, decided to return to the UK to be close to his family. He died shortly after his return. 

The moving tributes given at the funeral recalled Ron's cheeky smiles and infectious laughter, his quick witted jokes, but above all that he was a spiritual and wonderfully giving person, loved by so many. He will be sorely missed by his parishioners in Tenerife/La Palma. Many had not been aware of how seriously ill their priest was, as Fr Ron, always a private man, did not wish them to worry or fret about him.  

Fr Ron wanted to be buried in St Swithun's, one of the churches in a benefice he once served in the Diocese of Winchester. His entire ministry prior to coming to the Diocese in Europe three years ago was in the Diocese of Winchester, where he was the Area Dean of Romsey. Clergy colleagues from both dioceses were present at the funeral to bid farewell to their brother priest. The service was led by the Revd Gill Nobes, who had been Ron's curate at one point. I was privileged to deliver the homily and to preside at the commendation.

Lord God, may your servant and priest Ron, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name, now rejoice in the perpetual company of your saints.

All Saints, Puerto de la Cruz


St Swithun's Headbourne Worthy




 

A wedding in Gloucestershire - with Diocese in Europe touches!


On Friday 22 April, I had the great joy and privilege of presiding at the wedding of the Ven. David Sutch and Gwendolyne Thurley. Archdeacon David is a former Archdeacon of Gibraltar, and Chaplain of Costa del Sol East. The wedding in St George's Church, Brockworth Village, was also very much a Diocese in Europe event, although in the middle of Gloucestershire. The best man was the Very Revd Alan Woods, former Dean of Gibraltar (and Archdeacon of Gibraltar), with some parishioners from Fr David's Costa del Sol East parish, (the bride is from there), and a former Chaplain, Fr Alaric Lewis.

Fr David, though now retired, clearly had not forgotten some of his technique honed from years as a priest in Spain:


Warmest blessings to Fr David and Gwendolyne!





 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Happy Easter

 


A joyous and happy Easter from Holy Cross, Palermo. Cristo è risorto!  Христос Воскрес!

For the spirit of joy and hope of Easter to fill our hearts and our lives, for peace in the world, for peace in Ukraine during this time of war, for an end to all persecution, violence and aggression, we pray to the Lord.



Friday, 15 April 2022

Good Friday in Palermo ended with public prayers for Ukraine



At the end of the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday at Holy Cross, Palermo, Fr James Hadley, the Chaplain and I were invited to a prayer vigil for peace in Ukraine. Local clergy, civic dignitaries, carabinieri and military officials were in attendance. I was very moved to be asked, after the introductions, to lead the assembled crowd in prayer (in English) for peace.


 
The Good Friday procession which had been taking place for the past several hours ended up joining the vigil, which enabled special prayers to be offered to Our Lady of Sorrows to intercede for those suffering in Ukraine. It was a slightly livelier ending to Good Friday than I normally experience, but an emotional and significant one.

Hear the cries of your people, O God. May peace and justice become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for all the world. 
  




  

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Maundy Thursday - a moment of ecumenical sharing



How appropriate on Maundy Thursday to join with some of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palermo for a meal together and some sharing of the joys of priestly ministry. Sicilian hospitality is second to none!

Right next door, the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria was preparing a very simple Altar of Repose for tonight. Just a couple of candles and a few flowers to honour Our Lord's presence.





Chrism masses - moments of collegiality and mutual support


Clergy and lay ministers normally try gather with their bishops in Holy Week for the Chrism Mass, when the sacred oils for the sacraments are blessed and consecrated and vows of ministerial commitment are renewed. Given our vast geography in the Diocese in Europe, one such gathering would not be logistically possible if a good number of clergy and lay ministers are going to be able to attend. So customarily 4 such services are held, two at which Bishop Robert presides (Brussels and Paris) and two at which I preside, in Madrid and Rome. 

These are privileged moments when we gather in the midst of the busiest week of the year, to show our unity in the mission and ministry of Christ's Church to which we are called, and to demonstrate that unity through renewing our vows together and blessing the sacred oils which we use throughout the year. 

More than 45 clergy and Readers were in attendance in Madrid and Rome. We were blessed also by the presence of ecumenical partner clergy from the Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic Churches who graciously affirmed their unity with us in these words: we commit ourselves to God and one another, to live, work and pray as one body in Christ". In Rome, colleagues from the Episcopal Church in Europe and Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, were among our distinguished colleagues present. 



I am grateful to Canon Medhat Sabry (St George's Madrid) and Fr Robert Warren (All Saints Rome) and their parish teams for their work of preparation for these services and for the hospitality they offered to those who gathered. 



The Deacon's role includes the careful decanting of the oils of the catechumens and the sick and the Holy Chrism into bottles to be taken back across a continent and islands by the clergy and Readers. Helpers for this important task are always welcome!



  

Monday, 4 April 2022

Confirmation in Algarve

Candidates for Confirmation in St Vincent's Algarve

As COVID restrictions gradually have been lifting across the diocese since last autumn, parish visits have resumed. In some cases I have been catching up with visits that had to be postponed many months or longer, due to the pandemic. Although we have taken to Zoom quite well as a diocese, recent surveys in the Church of England have shown that the majority of Anglicans prefer physical gatherings for worship, over virtual services, even though the latter serve us well in our time of need. 

However the sacrament of Confirmation cannot be celebrated over zoom!  Across the diocese candidates have been patiently waiting to receive this apostolic rite, in some cases having been prepared months beforehand, until such time when a physical gathering would be possible once again, 


Renewal of baptismal vows are an essential part of Confirmation

St Vincent's Algarve was the venue for one such service in January. In the beautiful church dedicated to Our Lady of Light, candidates affirmed their baptismal promises as they gathered around the font and  received chrismation and laying on of hands to strengthen them in their life in Christ.

Our Lady of Light Church, Praia da Luz, Algarve