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.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Madeleine Holmes represented our Diocese at the European Environmental Network

Madeleine chats to another delegate at the ECEN Conference
Madeleine Holmes, our Diocesan Environmental Officer, was one of more than 100 delegates and guests from 24 countries who attended the 10th Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) in Balatonszárszó (Hungary) from 27 September to 1 October 2014. Under the theme of “Energy and Climate Change - the Churches' Role and Voice”, the Assembly offered a place for discussion, worship and sharing of the churches’ concerns related to climate change and energy use. The statement from the conference is here.

Madeleine points out a particularly relevant piece of information for this diocese: that the COP21 Climate Summit is scheduled from 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris. This will be a major global event, gathering world political leaders and many stakeholders from civil society. It is proposed that there are to be pilgimages from European Churches to Paris around the time of the summit, so that the Church has a visible presence at that time.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Active days of remembrance in Yerevan, Armenia

The Revd John Barker, priest-in-charge in Yerevan, reports on an "intensive but very meaningful series of services of Remembrance" in the Armenian capital. On Sunday evening, 9 November, the usual service of Holy Communion was held that included prayers for family members and friends of members of our congregation that have died in times of war and violence

Then on Monday evening, 10 November, at 6 pm an ecumenical service of prayers for peace and reconciliation, organised jointly with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Director of Inter-Church Relations, represented Catholicos Garaging II. The choir of the host Church, St Zoravor enriched the worship.

On Remembrance Day itself, 11 November, the traditional service was held to commemorate all those who have given their lives in times of war so that we might live in peace. This service was organised jointly with the British and German Embassies in Armenia, and proved to be a very moving act of remembrance and respect. Fr John led the service jointly with Pastor Hans-Joachim Ederlen from the German Lutheran Church, and a choir made up of children of ten different nationalities from the international school providing the music.



Friday, 14 November 2014

The Revd Dr Matthias Grebe's new book on Karl Barth

The Revd Dr Matthias Grebe, a priest of this diocese currently serving a curacy in Bonn and Cologne, is also a theologian whose work on Karl Barth is now receiving serious acclaim in the academic world. Dr Grebe has studied at Tubingen, Cambridge, and Princeton.

A book which carries forward his doctoral dissertation has just been published entitled: Election, Atonement, and the Holy Spirit. Through and Beyond Barth's Theological Interpretation of Scripture.
The significance of this study is underlined by Professor David Ford, the Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. In his Foreword to Dr Grebe's book, Professor Ford writes:

Karl Barth’s doctrines of election and atonement are surely among the greatest achievements of Christian theology. They also contain some of the deepest and most daring biblical interpretation ever written. And throughout his works Barth challenges his readers to explore, test and if possible improve on how he understands scripture. Matthias Grebe has taken up this challenge.
Dr Grebe both appreciatively sounds the depths of Barth’s doctrines of election (or predestination) and atonement (or reconciliation) and also perceptively examines biblical passages that are central to them. The result is a fascinating variation on Barth’s understanding of salvation that is based on Dr Grebe’s own fresh interpretation of scripture.
Nor is that all. In Chapter Five he goes beyond his Cambridge doctoral dissertation, that I had the privilege of supervising, to extend his discussion by relating it to the Holy Spirit and to ordinary life. Here Barth’s radical (and rather neglected) theology of the Holy Spirit is drawn upon to face squarely such difficult issues as human freedom and the possibility of salvation for all. The distinctiveness in being Christian lies, as in Barth, not in Christians being the only ones to be saved but in the specificity of the gift of the Spirit to them.
This is a book that immerses readers in good theology and invites them further and deeper into theological, biblical wisdom on some of the most demanding issues in Christian thought.
We congratulate Matthias on this achievement! Details on his book, including how to order a copy, can be found here: http://wipfandstock.com/election-atonement-and-the-holy-spirit.html

The Revd Dr Matthias Grebe at his ordination to the priesthood last June

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A packed Remembrance Sunday service in Ankara

St Nicholas' Ankara was packed with standing room only on Remembrance Sunday, 9 November. Ambassadors and Military Attachés attended from Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Germany, Japan, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium and France. Not to mention the regular parishioners.

A reception following the service was hosted by His Excellency Richard Moore, the UK Ambassador to Turkey.

Ambassador Richard Moore (2nd from right) with other diplomatic representatives

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

St Nicholas's Ankara is a cross-roads of the world

St Nicholas's Ankara is a parish with a very rich cross-section of parishioners. Many are associated with the sizeable diplomatic, international and NGO community in the Turkish capital. Some are on short-term assignments in the country. Some are refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries.

On Saturday 8 November, 8 persons were baptised and 10 confirmed. All of the candidates had fled dangerous situations in their homeland. The service was bilingual English and Farsi.

The parish has an extensive programme of welcome and accompaniment for refugees. Like all congregations of the Church of England, there are regular programmes for the catechesis  and preparation for the sacraments for those who are new to the Faith. One of the delightful aspects to the parish is the group of young parishioners who take great care and pride in their ministry of preparing the Church for worship before people arrive and serving as acolytes for the Eucharist.

Typical of an international congregation, the members enjoy feasting together, and sharing the experience of multicultural food and fellowship.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Bishop Matthias Ring of Germany writes on behalf of Anglican and Old Catholic Bishops in Europe

Bishop Ring
The Anglican and Old Catholic bishops in Europe send a letter each year on the feast of St Willibrord to the Anglican and Old Catholic parishes on the continent. This year's letter was written by Bishop Dr Matthias Ring, the Old Catholic Bishop of Germany. The text of the letter is below.

St Willibrord's Day is 7 November. My apologies for the late posting of this, due to absence from my office.

In-People and For-People

Message from the Anglican and Old-Catholic Bishops in Continental Europe to their churches on the occasion of the Feast of St Willibrord, 7 November 2014

Dear brothers and sisters,

I must confess that I didn’t notice it at first. It wasn’t until a letter of congratulations arrived that I realised that the day of my election as bishop, 7 November 2009, was also the Feast of St. Willibrord. I don’t want to speculate on the deeper meaning of this coincidence, especially as I am a bishop in Bonn and not in Utrecht. But seeing as the election synod was not intentionally held on that particular commemoration day, I take it as a small sign from “above” about the missionary aspect of the church – and therefore of the office of bishop, too.

It is a long time since the days of St. Willibrord when one was able to bring people to faith with a fiery sermon or a small miracle. I haven’t yet managed to do that, at any rate. And I know many Christians who are happy simply if nobody loses their faith as the result of listening to a sermon these days. Some people think you can advertise faith like you can advertise a tin of biscuits. I don’t agree because that would be to identify or confuse advertising and public relations with mission and preaching. But the two differ in one essential point.

Advertisers draw attention to the advantages of a product – which we as a church also do when we advertise the gospel, of course. But when a famous celebrity advertises a certain product, nobody seriously believes that they are convinced that what they are saying about it is actually true. We might even think it’s likely that they don’t use the product at all.

Mission and preaching are quite different because they require a credible preacher. Whether they like it or not, preachers are – and always have been – part of the message. Jesus would not have found any disciples if he had not lived by what he preached. And St. Chrysostomos is said to have invited anyone interested in the Christian faith into his house to live with him for a while. In other words, he was convinced that the guest would come to faith as a result of his personal example alone. I don’t know whether we would dare today to invite someone into the vicarage or bishop’s residence in an attempt to bring them to faith. We might even be a little worried that they could see a side of church life that could prove to be a deterrent.

If we want to bring the gospel to the people, we need to demonstrate it in our own lives. Missionary Christians cannot be like those portly sports dignitaries who march in with the athletes at the Olympic Games despite obviously not having done any sports themselves for years. The people who listen to what we say and come to us as spiritual advisors and worship leaders have a keen eye for whether we are being authentic or merely playing a role. And the same people will quickly notice and react with disgust if they see that the behaviour of the church’s representatives has nothing to do with the gospel.

What really matters in mission and preaching became clear to me when I read “The Man Without Qualities” by the German-Austrian writer Robert Musil, who died in 1942. In his uncompleted novel, Musil makes an interesting distinction between “for-people” and “in-people”. For-people live for peace, love and justice – but not in peace, love and justice. When they stand up for something, they have already lost sight of what they are standing up for. Musil argued if we live in peace we wouldn’t have to stand up for it, because we would radiate peace naturally through the way we live our lives.

This immediately reminds us of the scriptures that tell us that as Christians we live in Christ. So the question is: Do we really live in Christ, in the Gospel, in the Kingdom of God? Or are we only standing up for them?

I believe that people today have a very keen sense of whether we as Christians are in-people or for-people. And on this distinction hangs the outcome of all our missionary efforts. Of course it is important to plan good campaigns and inspiring events. But what ultimately counts most of all is the personal testimony of our lives. On that point nothing has changed since the days of St. Chrysostomos or St. Willibrord.

In the name of the Anglican and Old Catholic bishops in Continental Europe

Bishop Dr Matthias Ring, Bonn

Old Catholic Church in Hannover

Monday, 10 November 2014

St Saviour's Riga welcomes its new Priest-in-Charge

On 30th October the Acting Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, the Venerable Peter Potter, licensed the Revd Jana Jeruma-Grinberga as priest-in-charge of St Saviour's, Riga, Latvia. The historic Church in downtown Riga was full for the service. Although a Church of England congregation, St Saviour's is a home to people from many nations. It has an impressive programme of outreach in the community.

The appointment of Jana is a first fruit of the signing of the Porvoo Agreement by the Evangelical Latvian Lutheran Church Abroad, which occurred last September. Jana was ordained a priest of that Church and as we are now in communion she was able to be appointed to a Church of England position, (after receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury's permission under the Overseas Clergy Measure in the usual way).

Although Jana is licensed as a priest in this diocese, many will be interested to know that her last position was actually as a bishop. She was the first woman bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, appointed to that office in 2009 and which she held until 2013.

Born in England of Latvian parents, Jana trained for the sacred ministry in an Anglican theological college. She brings a rich pastoral experience to this diocese, and extensive ecumenical experience. She is, of course, fluent in Latvian.

We welcome her most warmly to our family.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Canadian role in liberation of Italy commemorated in St Mark's Florence

On Sunday 2 November the Feast of All Saints was celebrated in St Mark's Church in Florence. Besides being a time to remember departed loved ones and parishioners, this 70th anniversary year of the liberation of Italy was marked with special prayers for those who served and those who fell in that campaign.

St Mark's Churchwarden Colonel Mark Ridley reading the first lesson
A memorial plaque to the 48th Highlanders of Canada was unveiled, by Mrs Sandra Seagram Annovazzi, on behalf of the 48th Highlanders' Comrades' Association. The regimental collect was prayed by Lieutenant-Commander the Revd Canon David Greenwood of the the Canadian Armed Forces.

Their Excellencies the Ambassadors of Canada and the UK were present for the occasion as well as military attachés to Italy from Poland, the UK, Canada, and the USA. The Archbishop of Florence was represented by Monsignor Timothy Verdon.

At the start of the service, St Mark's Florence Chaplain, Fr William Lister read a message sent for the occasion by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Canadian Ambassador Peter McGovern, Col. Newman, St Mark's Chaplain Fr William Lister, UK Ambassador Christopher Prentice
In a reception following the Solemn Mass, a painting done by Maria Makepeace, a Reader in St Mark's, was presented to Colonel John B. Newman, the Honorary Colonel of the 48th Highlanders. It will hang in the Regimental Mess in Toronto.

Mrs Sandra Annovazzi, with daughter-in-law Valeria and son Philip, with Fr William Lister
Many Canadian visitors to Florence who came to Church on Sunday were pleasantly surprised to find such a Canadian celebration, with the flag of the country on the altar and the singing of O Canada following the blessing of the memorial plaque.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Welcoming priests appointed to serve in this diocese from across the Anglican Communion and Churches in Communion

We are blessed in this diocese for many of the clergy who serve our churches come from other parts of the Anglican Communion or from Churches in Communion with the Church of England. They bring a great richness and breadth of experience to us. There are, however, so many peculiarities in this particular Province of the Anglican Communion - rules, measures, canons and guidelines, that are often bewildering to those whose ministry has previously been outside the Church of England. And just to complicate things, there are particular norms and procedures which pertain to the unique context of this diocese. Even common terminology like "Churchwarden" denotes very different functions in different parts of the Anglican Communion.

By coincidence, five priests recently appointed to positions in this Diocese in Europe come from outside the Church of England. I therefore proposed a meeting for some orientation together, to provide a chance to cover some basic matters that will be useful to know in their new appointment and to have some conversation about the norms and procedures of this particular Church.

We gathered from Sunday 26 to Monday 27 in St George's Málaga. The priests have come to this diocese (or will shortly be starting their ministry here) from the Church of Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church USA, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad. They were joined by another priest who has been serving here for close to two years now, originally from the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, but who is just taking up the responsibilities of Area Dean of Morocco and the Canary Islands, Canon Medhat Sabry. Besides myself, the resource persons for the seminar were the Diocesan Secretary, Canon Adrian Mumford and the Archdeacon of Gibraltar Geoff Johnston.

What did we cover? 
  • A range of topics pertaining to governance in the Church of England, synodical government, Church Representation Rules
  • Electoral rolls, Annual General Meetings,
  • Functions of Churchwardens, Church Council, Archdeaconry Representatives, treasurers and secretaries
  • Annual returns to the Diocese, Annual Stipend Review, Statistics for Mission, Standard Accounts and Common Fund
  • Safeguarding requirements
  • Vocations, ministry of Readers, ministry of clergy with Permission to Officiate, Congregational Worship Leaders, Communion Assistants
  • Provisions for Communion by Extension, admission of children to Holy Communion before Confirmation, 
  • Liturgical matters, authorised liturgies, Book of Common Prayer, Common Worship, non-English language liturgies
  • matters related to marriages, blessings of civil marriages, remarriage of divorced
  • Ministerial Development Review, Continuing Education
  • Use of our Church buildings by other groups
  • Who's who on the diocesan staff and where to seek answers to questions or support for particular matters
It was an intense 24 hours, but an enjoyable one, as we got to know each other better and shared some of the joys and challenges of ministry, and discussed some possible issues that may be faced in the local parishes to which they have been appointed.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A joyful celebration as 18 are confirmed in St John's Casablanca

The Cross was lifted high in procession as 18 members of St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca were confirmed on Sunday 19th October. This was during the second of two regular Sunday services held each week. This particular service has a strong African flavour with music accompanied by the warm beat of drums. One particular song, written by Thomas (below) accompanied the sprinkling of the people after the re-affirmation of Baptismal Faith. It was entitled It is Raining and is about God's grace showering the people.

The confirmation candidates came from Liberia, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. Moving testimonies were given from 3 candidates about their journey into deeper faith and commitment as disciples of Jesus Christ.

The celebration continued in the lovely grounds of St John's Church, with a feast of African dishes.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Canon Medhat Sabry is the new Area Dean of Morocco and the Canary Islands.

On Sunday 19 October, in St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca, I commissioned the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry as Area Dean of Morocco and the Canary Islands. In this position, Canon Sabry will work with Archdeacon Geoff Johnston and myself in the oversight and pastoral care of the 10 or so congregations in this area of the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar, the most south-westerly corner of the Diocese.

Canon Sabry with his wife Amal
There are two other Area Deans in the Gibraltar Archdeaconry. One serves Catalunya, Andorra and the Balearic Islands and the other serves Portugal and Madeira. A network of active Area Deans is essential to the life of this extensive diocese. From time to time the Area Deans assist parishes which are in a vacancy process with advice and guidance as they prepare all that is required to recruit and appoint a new priest, working with the archdeacon and bishop.

The licensing was held at the first of two regular Sunday morning services. There is an active Sunday school at both.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Vacancy spotlight: Assistant priest for St Vincent's Algarve, Portugal

One of the Churches used by St Vincent's: Nossa Senhora da Luz, Praia da Luz
The Senior Chaplain of St Vincent's Anglican parish, in the beautiful Algarve region of southern Portugal, wishes to appoint an assistant priest. It is a part-time position and thus would ideally suit a recently retired priest.

Here are the essential qualities being sought in the appointee:
  • a priest in the catholic tradition with a heart for evangelical outreach who can work in cooperation with the Senior Chaplain to meet the needs of the English speaking community. 
  • a priest whose life and teaching are solidly founded in Christ and his Gospel
  • a priest skilled in liturgy and leading public worship and who can preach with imagination
  • a gifted teacher to give spiritual guidance to both young and old. 
  • a priest who enjoys pastoral work. 
  • organisational skills, computer literate. 
A Church used by St Vincent's: Nossa Senhora da Fatima, Pereiras
The package on offer:
  • an attractive part stipend (no pension benefits)
  • fully furnished accommodation
  • provision of a car
  • generous expense provision for car and accommodation
The priest will have the support and enthusiasm of a ministry team (both ordained and lay), committed volunteers and an active Church Council.

Resolutions A and B are passed for ecumenical reasons.

For information please contact: The Senior Chaplain, Fr. Lars Nowen
Phone +351 282 789 660
email: RevLFNowen@gmail.com

The parish website is here.

Informal enquiries are welcome!

St Luke’s Gorjões, a Church in St Vincent's Chaplaincy