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Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
At the Midnight Mass around the world tonight the story of the birth of Jesus will be proclaimed in the words from the second chapter of the Gospel according to St Luke. We may stop to pause at verse 2 which refers to the census that Emperor Augustus decreed, that brought the Holy Family to Bethlehem:
"This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria".We in the Diocese in Europe remember that Syria borders with our diocese and lift up a special prayer for all caught up in the conflict there.
We also remember South Sudan which seems to be entering yet another period of civil strife. Many of the faithful of our diocese, members of the White Nile congregations in Finland, come from that country. We join our prayers with the White Nile congregation for all who are affected by the outbreak of violent conflict. Fr Amos Manga their priest is presently in the region and we pray for his own safety.
In the words of the Christmas from Common Worship Daily Prayer
Mighty God, the government is on your shoulders: guide the leaders of the nations and bring in your kingdom of justice and righteousness.
O lover of justice and peace, ruler of all the ages: be born in us today.
Monday, 23 December 2013
|Canon Wilkinson leads sessions on music in worship|
|Some curates and their training incumbents|
Friday, 20 December 2013
Walking in the light of Christ, the Chaplaincy of St Mark’s Florence with St Peter’s Siena, and Holy Cross, Bologna, works constructively and inclusively together, as three places of Christian excellence and witness, in common with other Ministries of the Universal Church, for and with any people who find themselves in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed:
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth
that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen. (Collect for the Peace of the World)
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
On Sunday 1 December, St George's Anglican Church in Berlin celebrated the 10th anniversary of the restoration of regular services in central Berlin (Mitte).
The first St George’s in the city was built in 1885 under the patronage of the Crown Princess of Germany, Victoria (eldest daughter of Queen Victoria) who was married to the future Kaiser Friedrich III. It was the only Anglican Church in Germany to remain open during World War I, as the Kaiser was the Church’s Patron. It was closed in the Second World War and hit by allied bombing 24 Nov 1943 and the remains were pulled down by the East Berlin authorities. After World War II, new St George's, a garrison Church, was built in the British sector. In 1994 the new St George’s became a civilian congregation of the Diocese.
In 2003 in a reunified Berlin, the Chaplain of St George's, the Revd Canon Christopher Jage-Bowler, with his Assistant Chaplain, the Revd Dr Irene Ahrens, decided to restart a weekly evening service back in Mitte, in addition to the regular morning Eucharist in the new St George's, The Marienkirche, the oldest still functioning Church in Berlin, has been the host venue for the Mitte service since 2007. The Marienkirche is only a couple of hundred metres from where the original St George's once stood.
Monday, 9 December 2013
All Saints Church in St Pargoire, France, one of the newer congregations in the Diocese in Europe, is blessed by having a vintner and his family as active members of the congregation. Simon Coulshaw and his wife Monica run a vineyard, Domaine des Trinités, and using traditional artisanal methods are producing fine vins du terroir.
The parish social events, of course, feature wines from Domaine des Trinités, and there is no shortage of wine for the eucharist! But Simon and Monica also use their skill also to encourage and promote the outreach work of the parish. From time to time they host "Wine into Water" events, which are well attended by parishioners. These events include guided walk through the vines, followed by a talk and tasting in the winery accompanied by Monica’s famous tapas. (Monica is from Catalunya). Funds are raised for the international development charity Water Aid. As a result, several dozen villages in Africa have already benefited from this initiative by the Coulshaws, and now have clean water available to them, for the first time.
Domaine des Trinités has a website here.
Sunday, 8 December 2013
On 13 November the Area Dean of France, the Revd Canon Trevor Whitfield, admitted Linda Brooke to the ministry of Reader and licensed her to exercise that lay ministry in the parish of Christ Church in the Manche, in Normandy. This was among Canon Whitfield's last actions as Area Dean, before his retirement on 30 November
Following her three year theological training for this ministry, Linda now joins her husband Mike Brooke, also a Reader, in working with the priest-in-charge of Christ Church, the Revd Peter Hales.
Although the canons of the Church of England refer to Readers, in the Diocese in Europe we are coming to terms with the fact that a Reader is perhaps better described as a Licensed Lay Minister. This is a term that means much more to our ecumenical partners and avoids the misunderstanding that Readers simply read in Church!
Christ Church in the Manche is a busy parish with services every Sunday in two centres: in Gratot Homeel, near Coutances, and in Virey, towards the south.
|Area Dean Trevor Whitfield and Reader Linda Brooke|
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
All Saints Anglican Church in St Pargoire, in the department of Hérault in France, is one of the newest congregations in the diocese in Europe. It became formally part of the Church of England in January 2013. Since then, their priest-in-charge, the Revd Roger Smith, assisted by the Revd Richard Acworth, has led the congregation forward in their life and mission.
In our French parishes, church lunches tend to be quite splendid affairs, and this was certainly true of the reception and parish lunch following the Confirmation service.
All Saints has an active collaboration with Roman Catholic and Reformed Church partners in several outreach programmes. The Church's website is here.
Monday, 2 December 2013
At the main Eucharist at the November sessions of General Synod, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was ably assisted by none other than Deacon Frances Hiller, my chaplain.
Deacon Frances is quite used to telling a bishop what to do in the liturgy. After all, that's one of the main jobs of deacons! I wonder if she was as directive with the Archbishop? At any rate it was very good to see one of our clergy assisting His Grace in this way.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
A workshop on funeral ministry for Readers and Readers in Training was held at St Columba's House, Working on 25-27 October. Completion of such a training workshop is a requirement if Readers (licensed lay ministers) are to be authorised to conduct funerals. This weekend particular course was fully subscribed, with 20 participants from across the diocese, and people on a waiting list!
The Director of Training, Canon Ulla Monberg, and the Senior Tutor and Advisor for Reader Ministry, the Revd Elaine Labourel, were the course leaders for this workshop. Sessions were held on aspects of pastoral care and bereavement. Practical work was done on putting together a funeral using the rich resources of Common Worship, and guidance was given on officiating at a funeral rite itself.
It was one of Bishop Geoffrey Rowell's last appearances at a diocesan event. He gave a lecture on the changing context of funerals and presided at a requiem mass at the event.
It had to happen one day, I suppose. Over 11 years of almost weekly travel to parishes in the diocese and never a single scheduled service missed - until this weekend, that is.
An accident closed a section of the westbound M4 heading to London's Heathrow airport and I was trapped for 2 hours, missing my flight to Berlin. Rebooking was not a problem, except it was the last flight of the day. So I am transferred to the first flight in the morning which arrives in Berlin at 1130, exactly one hour after the start of the service at St George's at which I was to preside, preach, baptise and confirm.
Canon Christopher Jage-Bowler and the Revd Dr Irene Ahrens, the clergy at St George's, having received a panicked call from a frazzled bishop, calmly improvised with some liturgical ingenuity. They would hold the normal sung eucharist, and baptise those to be baptised in the morning, and the confirmation candidates will come to the evening service in central Berlin at which I am also presiding. So with a little shuffle, and some liturgical flexibiity (just ignore the rubric about the full initiation rite of baptism, confirmation and holy communion being celebrated as a unity), and we are back on track. My thanks to the clergy for their swift and flexible response.
Now to address those frazzled episcopal nerves.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
|St Helena's Chapel, Istanbul|
The terrorist attack on 20 November 2003 was the worst ever experienced against a British diplomatic mission. St Helena's Chapel is one of the historic consular buildings.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
- The Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
- Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
- Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;
- Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and
- Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.
Perhaps we are learning to walk together on the way, as syn-hodos means.
Monday, 18 November 2013
|Brenda Juntunen receives her licence as a reader|
The Revd Jenny Deverill, the former priest-in-charge, who founded this congregation back in 2006, was also present, along with the Revd Prebendary, David Paton, a retired priest who is linked to St Michael's, and the Revd Roger Smithm, the priest-in-charge of the neighbouring parish of St Pargoire (about 120 km away!).
At the same celebration, a member of the parish, John Smith, was confirmed.
St Michael's meets in an ancient building of the Reformed Church, in the village of Boisset-et-Gaujacm, in the Languedoc Roussillon region. The congregation's website is here.
|Left to right: the Revd Jenny Deverill, the Revd Stafford Low, John Smith, Preb. David Paton, Brenda Juntunen, the Revd Roger Smith|
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Director of Music Janet Anderson together with guest Organist Ennio Cominetti at the Organ Console
Friday, 1 November 2013
The Revd Ian Naylor, who has been the Acting Archdeacon of France, was collated as Archdeacon (the real thing!) at a service at Bishop's Council on 25 October. He also was named a canon of the Cathedral Chapter, with the stall of St Bernard of Clairvaux.
We congratulate Archdeacon Naylor on this appointment, and assure him of our prayers. It is good to welcome him, now fully, into the Bishop's Senior Staff Team. He continues to be the priest-in-charge of St Andrew's Pau.
The Archdeaconry of France is one of the largest in the diocese comprising over 80 congregations and worship centres in France and in the Principality of Monaco. At Bishop's Council the two delegates from the Archdeaconry of France, the Revd Hazel Door and Mrs Sarah Hardenberg, were able to be alongside Fr Ian to offer the prayerful support of the Archdeaconry.
Thursday, 31 October 2013
The Communion of Porvoo Churches in on the way to further expansion.
The Venerable Jonathan LLoyd, Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe, represents the Diocese in Europe at Porvoo meetings, and he recently returned from the meeting of the Porvoo Primates which was hosted by the Church of Iceland in Reykjaviik. He reported to our Bishop's Council on 24 October that a decision was made at that meeting to enable the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad and the Lutheran Church in Great Britain become full members of the Porvoo Communion of Churches. The Church of England and other member Churches will now undertake all necessary measures to implement the decision.
At a service in the Lutheran Cathedral at which the Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M Sigurdardottir, presided, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged the member Churches to work for justice and common mission: "If [our] family is to become what it should, then we need each other more than ever, not for comfort in the cold, receding tides of Christian faith, but to stretch and challenge each other to an ever closer walk with God and evermore passionate fulfilling of his mission.”
The communiqué from the Porvoo Primates can be read here.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
The Archdeacons of the Diocese joined Bishop Geoffrey and me for the annual Gibraltar Day celebrations at the Guildhall in London on Monday 21 October. The Senior Staff were gathering for our usual meetings, but it was an occasion not to be missed, as this diocese is, in fact, the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe.
The Chief Minister and Minister of Finance of Gibraltar, the Honorable Fabian Picardo, gave the keynote address at the event in the City. He made many intriguing references to Gibraltar as the world's foremost centre for the delivery of "online gaming services" with over 60% of bets placed online globally being handled by Gibraltar companies! I am not sure we all felt entirely at ease with this fact.
We were all reminded that this year marks the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, which had among its provisions that Spain would cede Gibraltar to Great Britain. One of the loudest refrains heard at the Gibraltar day celebrations was, indeed, “Gibraltar has been British for 300 years. Let’s keep it that way!"
The next day of meetings was a little quieter in tone, and included evensong at Southwark Cathedral, nearby where we were meeting.
Monday, 28 October 2013
On Sunday 20 October the completion of restoration work in St Alban's Church, Copenhagen, was celebrated with a royal visit. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark attended the festal evensong, at which the Chaplain, Archdeacon Jonathan LLoyd presided. Bishop Geoffrey was the preacher.
In the picture above, Archdeacon LLoyd invites the Queen to sign the guest book in which one of her own past relatives, Princess Alexandra, was among the first signatories. Princess (later Queen) Alexandra visited the Church with her husband, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), for its consecration in 1887.
Friday, 18 October 2013
Songs in French, English, and Kenyarwanda filled Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral in Brussels last Sunday, when baptisms and confirmations were celebrated at the 2 pm service. This particular service, one of 4 each Sunday at the Pro-Cathedral, is attended by many Francophone Anglicans, including a large contingent from Rwanda.
The Church of England's Common Worship services of Christian Initiation are now available in official French translation, which is enables this bilingual congregation to celebrate these important rites with even greater joy.
2 persons were baptised and along with 15 others then confirmed in the 2 hour service. The backgrounds of the candidates was, as is usual in our diocese, very multinational: from American to Rwandan.
The website of Holy Trinity Brussels is here.