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Showing posts from 2023

Advent in Helsinki: Mary, the Church's calling, and the One who brings us out of darkness to light

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Outside the Cathedral in Helsinki Yesterday, 8 December, was a very full Advent day, with activities redolent of the themes of the season. It was, of course, the Feast of the [Immaculate] Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary when we contemplate the mystery of the one who was prepared, through grace, to become the Mother of the Redeemer.  At the Vallila Help Centre (above, with Coordinator Eeva and Fr Tuomas) St Ambrose of Milan (whose feast we also celebrated this past week) was the first to refer to the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of the Church,  Mater Ecclesiae,  a title which helps us consider not only her role in giving birth to the Redeemer from whom the Church itself was born, but also how in her own life she responded to God's call in faith and love, as the Church today is also called to respond to the needs of the world.  It was with this in mind that I was so moved by a visit to the Ukraine Vallila Help Centre, a project supported by USPG and this diocese, which provides

Christ the King Tampere Confirmations

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The congregation of Christ the King in Tampere was established as a joint ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Diocese in Europe back in 2006. Both the Finnish Church and our own see this as a concrete way to put the Porvoo Agreement into action. The Church now has a very interesting outreach to the neighbourhood in Tampere, especially with younger folk and students. The congregation members are a very international group from Finland, other parts of Europe including the UK, Africa and Asia. Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, the Chaplain of Helsinki, and Area Dean of Finland, oversees the Anglican collaboration in Christ the King.  Fr Amos Manga, an assistant priest in the Anglican Church in Finland, lives in Tampere and has a particular relationship to this congregation which ministers to many from the South Sudanese community, most of whom were refugees who were welcomed to Finland close to 2 decades ago. Fr Amos Manga and Bishop and Mrs Repo I was able to preside at confi

Peacemaking - the theme of the Nordic/Baltic Synod

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  The Nordic/Baltic synod met in Copenhagen from 29 September to 1 October. This is one of the most scattered of our deaneries. Clergy and lay representatives came together from our chaplaincies from Iceland to Estonia. Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel chaired the synod.   Bible studies were led by Bishop Jana Jeruma-Grinberga. The synod theme was “called to be peacemakers”. As is happening a lot these days, virtually every place I go, there was a time for me to hear very generous words (and receive some very beautiful gifts) from the gathering, marking my upcoming retirement on 29 February. I am deeply moved by all the kind words that synod members have shared, both in the Italy/Malta and Nordic/Baltic gatherings.  The closing service was in St Alban’s Church, again with some words of thanks and farewell from members (and an Indian shawl as a mark of gratitude).  I will miss you all.

St Francis, St Clare and Creationtide at Italy/Malta Synod

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  It is synod season once again for much of the Diocese in Europe.  The synod of the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta met from 26 to 29 September in Rome. Fittingly there was a strong focus on St Francis and St Clare and Franciscan spirituality, given that we were in the midst of the season of creation, and St Francis of Assisi is the patron of the environment. Bible Studies were led by Fr Chris Williams (Florence) and Fr Tony Dickinson (Genoa), and presentations on St Francis and St Clare by Fr James Hadley (Palermo) and Mthr Jules Cave (Naples and Area Dean).  At one of the synod masses, I had the joy of collating Fr Rob Warren to the canonry of St Catherine of Siena. Canon Warren is the Chaplain of All Saints Rome. St Catherine, a 14 century mystical theologian, is celebrated as a patron of Europe and a Doctor of the Church. Her body (minus her head!) lies in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome.

Ecumenical, civic and diplomatic welcome to Chancellor David Wright

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Chancellor David Wright (on the right) On Sunday 24 September, the Revd Prebendary David Wright became the Chancellor of St Paul’s Pro Cathedral in Valletta, Malta, and Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Malta and Gozo. The Cathedral was packed as parishioners gathered to welcome their new priest. It was a joyful ecumenical occasion with significant Roman Catholic presence at the service, including His Grace Charles Scicluna, the Archbishop of Malta.  Archbishop Scicluna giving the blessing at the end of the installation mass The President of the Republic, and High Commissioners and Ambassadors from the UK, Australia, and Ireland were also present, underlining the significant role of the Pro Cathedral and the Chancellor’s ministry in Malta, even though Anglicans are a minority. 

Canon Frances Hiller

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Most people in this diocese know Frances Hiller. Deacon Frances has served as my chaplain since 11 November 2002! She is a member of the Diocesan Ministry Team, the Bishop’s Senior Staff, advises at many levels across the diocese, manages my office, my diary, and much of my correspondence, prepares my liturgical celebrations and generally helps to keep me sane. Last Wednesday she was collated as a canon of our Cathedral Chapter, with the stall of Our Lady of Europe. Congratulations to Canon Deacon Frances Hiller! 

4 New Bishops for the Polish Catholic Church (Union of Utrecht)

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  History was made today for the Union of Utrecht, the Old Catholic Communion of Churches, with which the Churches of the Anglican Communion are in full communion. The Polish member of the Union of Utrecht is called the Polish Catholic Church. It consists of three dioceses at present, but with the death of the late Bishop W iktor   Wysoczański earlier this year, there were no bishops remaining. A synod this summer elected 4 to fill the three dioceses and provide an auxiliary for Warsaw as well. So today, the 4 new bishops were consecrated, the first time for such a multiple consecration in an Old Catholic Church. It also marks the beginning an entirely new chapter in the life of the Polish Catholic Church. Bishop Dick Schoon The service, slightly over 3 hours in length, was presided by Bishop Dick Schoon, the Bishop of Haarlem, assisted by Bishop Pavel Stránský of the Czech Old Catholic Church, and Bishop John Okoro, Bishop Emeritus of the Old Catholic Church of Austria. Archbishop Be

An announcement made today

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The following announcement was made today by the Diocese in Europe: Bishop David Hamid, suffragan bishop of the Diocese in Europe and one of the longest serving bishops in the Church of England, has announced his plans to retire in February 2024. Bishop David said: “For over 20 years I have been blessed to have one of the most fulfilling and enriching jobs in the Church. At times the Diocese in Europe is difficult to explain to outsiders and to many in other parts of the Church of England, but I can sum up from my experience that it is a family, a family of committed and loving people, a truly rich and diverse, if scattered community, which seeks to live the Christian life in the Anglican way. The diocese embodies a profound vision of ecumenical outreach and collaboration and is a beautiful multicultural and multiethnic mosaic. These particular aspects of her life are very close to my own heart and have added to my joy in serving the diocese as one of its bishops. "I am grateful b

1.5 million young people in Lisbon gathering and St George's played its part!

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  The Roman Catholic World Youth Day (which lasted a week from 1 to 6 August!) was likely the largest gathering of youth within the geographic territory of the Diocese. 1.5 million young people from around the world gathered in Lisbon for the week’s events which included times of prayer, teaching, worship, cultural activities and meetings with Pope Francis. St George’s Anglican Church in Lisbon, with their priests, Mthr Ruth Bendrey and Fr Iain Bendrey, had a vision of collaborating with a key Roman Catholic movement, the Chemin Neuf Community to host a series of ecumenical gatherings at St George’s during the week. They were assisted  by Honourary Assitant priest at St George's, Fr Steve Danzey.  The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell and the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, Archbishop Ian Ernest, were among the key speakers invited for the week. Young adults from the Diocese in Europe joined us, from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Russia and Ukra

Sta Margarita, patron of Menorca Chaplaincy, has her annual (ecumenical) outing

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  Transporting Sta Margarita to the start of the procession One of the privileges of work in the Diocese in Europe is being part of the rich local ecumenical relations in so many places. A recent visit to our Chaplaincy in Menorca, dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, coincided with the patronal festival. It was a joy to be part of the local fiesta in honour of Santa Margarita. Her statue from our Church was the main attraction for the procession from the Roman Catholic Church to ours. The Chaplain, Fr Paul Strudwick was also able to arrange for me to have conversations with the new RC Bishop of Menorca, Mons. Gerard Vilallonga Hellín. Sta Margarita back in Church!

Ecumenical and multicultural ministry in Norway

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  On Saturday 22 April, the Church of St Edmund’s Oslo, with its Chaplain the Revd Canon Joanna Udal participated in a city-centre ecumenical event designed to bring the quite secular Norwegians back into touch with their Church once again. The Cathedral in Oslo and two other parish Churches hosted celebrations highlighting history, culture, music, and, importantly, the Church’s work to combat environmental degradation and to encourage interfaith understanding and respect.  Canon Udal was able to speak to the gathering and bring Anglican greetings to this important event.  I was pleased to be able to have conversations with Bishop Kari Veiteberg of Oslo, who is a leading voice for the social justice work of the Church. The weekend was principally for pastoral duties, at St Edmund’s for baptisms and confirmations and in Bragernes Church in the city of Drammen, for the confirmation of members of the South Sudanese Maban Community, a community of refugees who are largely of Anglican backg

The southernmost Cathedral in the Church of England

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Good Friday at St Paul's The Diocese in Europe is blessed with three cathedrals:  The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar, Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral in Brussels, and St Paul's Pro-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. It was a joy to be at one of them, St Paul's, for the sacred Triduum, leading the congregation through the mystery of the passion of Our Lord, and then sharing in their festive mass of the Resurrection on Easter Day at which parishioners also attended from the daughter congregation of Our Lady and St George, on the island of Gozo.  St Paul's is the southernmost cathedral in the Church of England, with its spire (now under renovation) an iconic feature of the skyline of this Mediterranean island. Fund-raising continues for the spire restoration. Donations can be made here: https://www.stpaulspromalta.org/restoration/donate/