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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Saturday, 16 September 2023

Canon Frances Hiller

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! 

Saturday, 9 September 2023

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


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 Wiktor  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 Bernd Wallet of Utrecht and I were also participants in the laying-on-of hands. The Cathedral of St Mary Madgalene in Wrocław was filled for the consecration mass. Ecumenical guests included bishops from the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Orthodox Church and the Mariavite Church.

The four new bishops are Andrzej Gontarek, Bishop of Warsaw and Lead Bishop of the Polish Catholic Church, Antoni Norman for the diocese of Kraków-Czestochowa,  Stanisław Bosy for the diocese of Wrocław and Henryk Dąbrowski, auxiliary bishop for the diocese of Warsaw.

The Bishops for the Laying on of Hands

The Polish Catholic Church is now ready with new leadership to engage more intensively in mission and ministry across the country. We pray for them in this new stage of their life.

Being present for this historic occasion was a huge privilege. It was also a time to connect with old friends, and ome new ones, over some excellent Polish refreshments.

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

An announcement made today

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 beyond words for the kindness and generosity that is shown to me in my pastoral visits, and I give thanks to God for all the many signs of growth in faith and Christian witness and service that I see from the shores of the Baltic to the Mediterranean, and beyond. Throughout these years, I have been dependent on the encouragement and support of both the late Bishop Geoffrey Rowell and Bishop Robert Innes, as well as from a wonderful group of colleagues in the Senior Staff, and the wisdom, patience and commitment of my Chaplain Deacon Frances Hiller who has served me throughout my episcopal ministry.

"I am 68 right now, and while I can continue until I turn 70, the time seems right for Colleen and me to look towards the next phase of our life. However, there is still much on my agenda before the end of February! But when the day comes, I know that I will take into retirement a heart filled with thanksgiving for these past couple of decades and a heart which will always hold the people of this wonderful diocese in my prayers”.

Bishop David was consecrated as a bishop in October 2002, and installed as suffragan bishop of the Diocese in Europe, where he has served for almost 21 years.

Bishop Robert, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, said:

“Bishop David’s retirement will leave a huge hole in the diocese. We will miss his vast knowledge, mature experience and personal friendship. These days, senior roles in the Church are extremely demanding, arguably all the more so in our diocese with the demands of frequent international travel. The Church therefore owes Bishop David an immense debt of gratitude for more than two decades of devoted episcopal service.

"He has supported and encouraged the diocese and its chaplaincies through numerous international crises: banking, sovereign debt, migration, Brexit and Covid. At the level of individual chaplaincies, he has overseen numerous recruitments of chaplains, baptized and confirmed hundreds of candidates, advised on mission initiatives and building projects, dealt with situations of conflict, and exercised a highly skilled ministry of oversight so as to build up the faith of individuals and communities.

"Bishop David is a skilled ecumenist. He has, for example, served as co-chair of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, the chair of the Church of England’s Porvoo Panel, which serves the links between Anglicans and Scandinavian and Baltic Lutherans and President of the Society of St. Willibrord, which brings together Anglicans and Old Catholics. A proficient linguist, Bishop David has nurtured personal relationships with ecumenical colleagues for the good of the whole Church. He retires with prayers and love from across our diocese.”

Once Bishop David retires, the process to seek to appoint the next suffragan Bishop in Europe will begin.

I woke up knowing that this was the day when the public announcement of my retirement would be made. So I have to admit I chuckled at God's sense of humour, as the first psalm assigned for Morning Prayer today was 132, which begins, "Lord remember for David all the hardships he endured" !

Of course, the last 21 years of ministry in this diocese (and I pray the next 6 months before 29 February!) have not been a hardship. Yes, there have been times of challenge, and moments of sadness shared with so many, but overwhelmingly it has been a wonderful time of joy throughout. What a privilege it is to know and love the people that God has granted me to serve. 

Monday, 14 August 2023

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


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 Ukraine. Some Anglicans even came from as far away as East Malaysia!

St George’s was filled with young people at every event, and it is clear that we have a great potential to host young people for such gathering in future. Fr Iain, who is also our Diocese’s Young Vocations Champion, is keen to make this happen!

The week ended with a young person receiving the sacrament of baptism (by immersion) and others receiving the sacrament of confirmation. A fitting end to a week of vibrant faith!

Sunday, 13 August 2023

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


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!

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Ecumenical and multicultural ministry in Norway


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 background. 

I was assisted with translation in Drammen by Fr Isaac, an Anglican priest from South Sudan, who was ordained in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Fr Isaac is in the process to receive PtO in this diocese.

Pastor Isaac

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

The southernmost Cathedral in the Church of England

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:


Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Chrism masses: renewing ministerial commitment and blessing the oils for the sacraments

St George's Madrid

The Chrism Mass is a key moment each year when the unity of those engaged in public ministry is manifested and renewed, and when the sacred oils of baptism, the sick and chrism are blessed for distribution across the diocese. 

St James the Apostle refers to anointing the sick with oil, and the prayer of blessing asks that the Lord may free those anointed from pain and illness and made well again in body, mind and soul. In blessing the oil of the catechumens we pray that those anointed in preparation for their baptism will be given a deeper understanding of the gospel and strength for the challenge of Christian living. The sacred chrism, a mixture of olive oil and fragrant and aromatic essences, is blessed by the bishop and priests together, and is used after baptisms, at confirmations and ordinations, as a sign of the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A translation of an ancient (sixth century) hymn O Redemptor sume carmen is sung as the oils are processed to the altar. It contains a verse looks forward to the passion and resurrection about to be celebrated in our churches: 
Lord Christ, the Father's only Son 
Who took our flesh in Mary's womb
give light to your anointed ones
and break the power of death's dark tomb.  

This year I presided at a Chrism Mass on Monday in Holy Week, in St George's Madrid. Clergy and Readers from across Spain, Portugal and even Switzerland joined together for this celebration. Deacon Justo from the partner Diocese of Peru, was our special and honoured guest.

Deacon Justo

On Tuesday in Holy Week clergy and Readers from Italy, France and the Netherlands came together in All Saints Rome. At that celebration, recognising the rich ecumenical life in the city of Rome, we were joined by clergy from the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, and the Church of Scotland. It was moving to commit ourselves as ecumenical partners to live, work and pray as one body in Christ.

All Saints Rome

In our scattered diocese, the Chrism masses also provide an occasion for isolated clergy and people to renew their links of companionship. Both St George's, Madrid, and All Saints, Rome, provided a community lunch for us following the services.



Wednesday, 22 February 2023

The Very Revd Lucinda Laird, Chaplain of St George's Venice


There has been a Church of England presence in Venice since 1604, when the Revd William Bedell arrived in the city as part of the embassy of Queen Elizabeth I to the Doge. Over 400 years later, St George's offers a welcome to residents and to the many visitors who come to the city. It continues to be a congregation with people from many parts of the world, with an extraordinary range of gifts and talents.

On Sunday 19 February, I licensed the Very Revd Lucinda Laird as the new chaplain of St George's (with Christ Church Trieste, too.) Mother Lucinda comes to us from the US Episcopal Church where she served in many places, as well as latterly as the Dean of the American Cathedral in Paris. I believe she is the first woman to serve as our priest in Venice. We welcome her most warmly to the Church of England Diocese in Europe.

It was a significant ecumenical occasion as well. Lucinda has already been personally welcomed by the Patriarch of Venice who invited her to preach in St Mark's Basilica in the week of prayer for Christian unity. For the installation mass, the Patriarch sent his ecumenical delegate, Monsignor Angelo Pagan to represent him, and the local parish priest, Fr Valentino Cagnin, was also present (and prayed for Mother Lucinda at his own parish mass that day.) Other Anglican clergy present included the Revd Castro Adieabah, who is studying in Venice, and the Revds Nick Fisher and Martin Poole, who have both assisted in St George's in the past. 

At the Confirmation

On the evening before the installation, I was able to confirm a new member of the congregation, of Turkish background. 

My own ecumenical visits were included in the parish weekend, including to the Patriarch and the Orthodox Metropolitan, both old friends.

I had to hobble around Venice, due to a fracture in my left foot (sustained when I was in the Holy Land the week before). The "space boot" I have to wear is nowhere near as elegant and exotic as the costumes in Venice that weekend, at the height of Carnivale! 

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Blessings on the new Bishop of Visby, our partner diocese


We send our best wishes and assurance of our prayers to Bishop Erik Eckerdal, who was consecrated the Bishop of Visby in the Church of Sweden on Sunday 15 January, in the great cathedral in Uppsala. Visby is the partner diocese of the Diocese in Europe, within the Porvoo family of Churches.  The partnership takes its origin from the fact that the Bishop of Visby also oversees the parishes of the Church of Sweden Abroad, which covers Europe, like ourselves. But Bishop Erik also oversees the Church of Sweden congregations in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia! 

Photo from Svenska Dagbladet

Consecrated at the same time was the new Bishop of the Diocese of Linköping, Marika Markovits. I was moved to be invited to be one of the consecrators of Bishop Erik, by the Archbishop of Uppsala,  Martin Modéus, at the High Mass (Högmässa) of Consecration.  Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden, and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson were in attendance. Archbishop Martin also invited me to preach the homily at the vigil Vespers in the cathedral, on Saturday evening. 

Bishop John Okoro and Obispo Maximo Rhee Timbang

It was also a joy to be with some old friends among the foreign bishops, including the Obispo Maximo of the Philippine Independent Church, His Grace Rhee Timbang, and Bishop Emeritus of the Old Catholic Diocese of Austria, the Rt Revd Dr John Okoro. This was the first time that an Old Catholic Bishop had participated in the consecration of a woman bishop. 

Photo courtesy of the Church of Sweden

The Archbishop of Uppsala with the two new bishops and Their Majesties, the King and Queen