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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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Monday, 11 December 2017

Reader in Training in Venice writes thrillers






Philip Gwynne Jones is a Reader-in-Training at St George’s, Venice. After a career working in IT for the European Space Agency in Frascati, Italy, and following a stint with a Scottish bank during the global financial crisis, he dediced to return with his wife Caroline to Venice in search of a better and simpler future. ‘We were wrong about the “simpler bit”’, Philip wryly comments. Nevertheless, he is now established as a translator and teacher. Being Welsh he naturally has a love for music and so can be found singing bass with the Cantori Venezione and the Ensemble Vocale di Venzia.  During the lengthy inter-regnum at St George's he assisted greatly to keep the worship life going both in Venice and at Christ Church, Trieste.


But a new talent has come to light:  Philip has published his first novel – a gripping thriller called The Venetian Game. Full of contemporary local colour it portrays Venice as a city of secrets, shadows – and death. The story is built around a certain Nathan Sutherland, British Honorary Consul to Venice. Nathan’s life is steady and unexciting – a translator who helps tourists with such mundane things as lost passports and stolen purses. Things dramatically change when he is offered a large sum of money to look after a small package containing a prayer book illustrated by the Venetian master Giovanni Bellini…. For the rest of the story you will need to buy a copy.


The writer and literary critic Gregory Dowling has said of The Venetian Game "A playful novel, recounted by a witty and engaging narrator ... as Venetian as a painting by Bellini (or a glass of Bellini). Oh, and it's also an unputdownabale thriller".


This is not Philip’s last novel. He will publish a second one next year and a third is in the planning stage, each one based on Venice. Here is a link to Philip's own website:

Friday, 8 December 2017

Report from 2017 CEMES Study Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

The CEMES pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre
Dr Clare Amos, Director of Discipleship of the Diocese in Europe and a mentor for the CEMES* programme in the Diocese has submitted this moving report from the Holy Land pilgrimage

__________________________________________


‘I found the peace of Galilee fantastic, but Jerusalem somehow made me feel closer to Christ, precisely because he came for reconciliation, and in Jerusalem you can see how much reconciliation is needed.’ 
‘We explored the multiple dimensions and many sides of stories, and we learned that nothing is as simple as it might seem. Perhaps that was partly exemplified for me by the need to go through a metal detector before one could access some of the holy sites.’
‘I will never forget listening to Julius singing the Magnificat in the Church of St Anne and Ubi Caritas in the Crusader Church of Abu Ghosh.’
‘Somehow we experienced the joys and sorrows of ecumenism. In the Holy Sepulchre we witnessed several different Christian churches living together under one roof, but certainly they were not actively working for the unity of the Christian household.’
‘I came to understand something about holy places. Sometimes a site can be rather dubious historically, but be made holy by the prayers and experiences of the pilgrims who have visited it over the centuries.’
‘I find myself looking at the Bible in new and different ways.’
‘The messiness of the incarnation has become more real for me.’
‘The words of Patriarch Theophilos – that living and working in this land requires a willingness to participate in the divine kenosis – made a deep impression upon me.’
‘Our experiences in this land have made me reflect on the importance of human rights.’
These are some of the immediate comments made by the group of six CEMES interns from the Diocese in Europe who participated in a six day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 23-29 November 2017, based in Jerusalem. The pilgrimage formed a key part of the year’s experience that the CEMES programme offers to young people who are actively thinking about the possibility of full time ministry in the church.

Dr Amos lecturing outside Jericho
Accompanied by some of the mentors on the scheme, as well as a few older friends, the young people had the opportunity to explore and reflect on several dimensions of what it may mean to call this land holy: the sites – most especially the Holy Sepulchre – which commemorate fundamental events in the life of Jesus Christ; the importance and difficulties of ongoing Christian presence in the land; the complicated and sometimes competitive interreligious dimensions; the political and social realities in Israel and Palestine today.

The Separation Wall at the foot of the Mount of Olives
The group was honoured to be received by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, as well as by Archbishop Suheil Dawani, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem. They participated in the Sunday Eucharist at St George’s Anglican Cathedral, Jerusalem.  They were blessed with the adaptable welcome given to them by the community at St Peter in Gallicantu, their base in Jerusalem and were also grateful for the generous Sabbath evening hospitality shown to them by members of the Kol Ha-Neshema synagogue in West Jerusalem.

The Greek Chapel of Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Undergirded by common prayer and worship the pilgrimage also provided an opportunity for community building among the group of interns, who because of the special nature of the Diocese in Europe are quite widely spread. None of those who participated will forget the special quality of the two Eucharists they celebrated as a group – held in God’s love in front of the tranquillity of Dalmanutha by the Sea of Galilee, and the painful sweetness of preparing to depart from Jerusalem.

Fr William celebrates mass for the pilgrims at the chapel in Tabgha on the shore of the Sea of Galilee

The pilgrimage took place due to the vision and hard work of the Director of Ordinands for the Diocese in Europe, Rev Canon William Gulliford. ‘I know what impact the opportunity to visit Jerusalem as a young man made to me, and how it affected the path of my own ministry. I wanted these young people to have a similar privilege. It is an important way that the church can invest in the future, and I am really grateful to the trusts and organisations who generously gave grants to make this possible ’, said Fr William.

The CEMES interns
*CEMES = the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme. This national Church of England programme encourages young people under the age of 30 to take a year working in a parish or chaplaincy to explore whether they have a vocation to ordained or other forms of Christian ministry. This is the third year that the Diocese in Europe has participated in the scheme.  Currently in the Diocese in Europe interns are based in Bruges, Brussels, La Cote (near Geneva) Leuven, Lyon, and Vienna.

The Revd Canon William Gulliford, DDO

Monday, 4 December 2017

Church life evolving in Gran Canaria


Since the early part of the 19th century Anglicans have been worshipping together in Gran Canaria. The present fine Church of the Holy Trinity in Las Palmas was built as the community became larger and more settled, and celebrates 125 years this year. When founded the parish was in the Diocese of Sierra Leone!


A recent parish visit gave an the opportunity for me to discuss with members of the parish the budget proposals for 2018 and 2019 which have recently been communicated to our congregations by the Interim Diocesan Secretary, Mike Fegan. We were also able to share an update on matters to do with safeguarding as well as look at the opportunities for outreach to other areas of the island.


The historic centre of the parish is in Las Palmas where Holy Trinity Church is located in the North East of the island. (Other older institutions that served the English speaking population such as the British Club are also located here). Today, however, it is in the south of the island where tourism has rapidly developed and many people have settled there in recent years, either full-time or part -time. It is also in the south where many thousands of tourists come on shorter holidays. The challenge facing the parish then is how to reach these newer arrivals and visitors to the island from a historic base elsewhere.

Outreach to the south was started several years back and the present Chaplain, the Revd Canon Brian Stares, continues two weekly services in the southern centres of Playa del Inglés and Puerto de  Mogán.  Playa del Inglés is well known internationally as a LGBT-friendly resort and our Church services there seek to make sure that all are made welcome.

Even though the congregations are modest in size, the community is now very international. I met parishioners from such diverse places as Cuba, Spain, Ghana, Nigeria, England, Philippines and Colombia.

(Left to right) Padres Edward, Brian and Juan
Fr Brian is assisted by two other priests, one from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Fr Juan Sanchez Jr, and one from the Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal, Fr Edward Cuesta. Ecumenical relations are very warm on the island between Anglicans and Roman Catholics in particular. Some Guatemalan RC nuns I met after the mass in Playa del Inglés were very keen to let me know how much they value Fr Brian's priestly ministry.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

New Chaplain for Venice and Trieste

Hilary Wild and George Blunden present Fr Malcolm to Archdeacon Vickie Sims to be inducted as Chaplain of Venice with Trieste 
On Saturday 25th November a two year interregnum at St George’s, Venice and Christ Church, Trieste, drew to a close with the licensing of the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw MBE as the new Chaplain. Malcolm with his wife Olga moved to Venice after almost 18 years as Senior Chaplain in Athens, Greece. The Venerable Vickie Sims, Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, presided at the licensing service.

The substantial congregation in St George's included ecumenical guests from the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Waldensian and Charismatic Episcopal Churches. Pastor Bernd of the local German Lutheran Church read the Gospel at the mass. The Mayor of Calvene (the site of a substantial Commonwealth War Cemetery) and some of his fellow councillors attended.

Music was provided by the Venice Music Project and Liesl Odenweller (soprano) sung Vivaldi’s sacred motet Nulla in mundo pax sincera. The occasion finished with an appropriately Venetian flow of prosecco and delightful Italian finger food.

Although coming from Athens, Fr Malcolm is no stranger to Italy. He was once the Chaplain of All Saints, Milan. It is excellent news for the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta to welcome him back!  Bentornato in Italia, Padre Malcolm!

Fr Malcolm with Archdeacon Vickie Sims, the Mayor of Calvene and a councillor  
Photos courtesy of Roger Branson

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Italian mass in London, a reversal of my usual Sunday pattern!


Last Sunday 19 November was an unusual complete reversal of contexts for me. Normally I would be in a continental European parish, celebrating the eucharist for an English-language congregation. On Sunday, however, I was invited to preside in Italian for the Italian community which worships at St Peter's Church in Acton Green, London.

The invitation originated from one of our own priests Fr Giovanni La Rosa from Randazzo Sicily, who is a friend of the Associate Vicar at St Peter's, Fr Fabrizio Pesce. Fr Giovanni was the preacher for the Italian mass.

Fr Giovanni preaching
Fr Fabrizio hails from Puglia and has served as a missionary in Argentina. He moved to London in 2010 and after his reception into the Church of England has been serving this west London parish.

The Italian language service is relatively new. It is not a proselytising ministry at all, but in the best of the Anglican parochial tradition simply aims to live the truth that God welcomes everyone in his community without excluding anyone. The Italian community at St Peter's thus aims to be a place of faith where all can feel at home.

Fr Fabrizio has a clear theological focus in this outreach ministry: "In the Spirit of Pentecost, the diversity of languages, cultures, and ethnicities is not an obstacle, but rather an opportunity to meet, share life and grow together, creating bonds of family, friendship, faith, and essentially communion". It was a privilege to be part of this fairly new project at St Peter's.


Fr Fabrizio
Fr Fabrizio's senior associate as Vicar is actually Fr Kevin Morris, who has overall responsibility for St Peter's as well as nearby St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park. Fr Kevin is 2nd from right below.




Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A new Bishop of London - Bishop Angaelos! Axios!

Bishop Angaelos enthroned by Metropolitans of the Coptic Orthodox Church
On 18th of November His Grace Bishop Angaelos was enthroned as the Coptic Bishop of London at St. George Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Stevenage. This was in effect also the establishment of the Diocese of London for the Coptic Church, with Bishop Angaelos now its first diocesan bishop.


Many ecumenical guests attended this 3 1/2 hour service, marking what was a historic occasion for this ancient Church. The first Coptic parish in Europe was founded in London in 1954. Since then, the Church has grown to over 20,000 faithful in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Deacon Frances Hiller, Aiden Hargreaves-Smith joined me in representing our Diocese.

Bishop Angaelos described his 22 years serving his Church in the UK as "the longest engagement ever". He is now officially "married" to his new diocese, and as he said, "they have me for life!"

I am privileged to count Bishop Angaelos as a friend and a close collaborator in ecumenical work and endeavour.  We pray God's blessing on this new stage of his ministry and for this new diocese.


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

St Laurence Lanzarote - "a wonderful diversity of culture and language in which we rejoice"

Fr Peter prepares for the mass at Nazaret
The Anglican parish of St Laurence in Lanzarote offers a welcome to the many visitors to the island, as well as being a warm home for the English-speaking residents and "swallows". Like so many of our parishes in Europe, members and visitors come from a diverse range of backgrounds and yet find a common home and a sense of family in our churches.

There are three congregations in St Laurence parish, in Puerto del Carmen, Nazaaret and Playa Blanca. From 4 - 6 November I was on the island for a parish "check-up". Besides meetings with the priest, the Revd Fr Peter Ford OGS and the Church Council and Churchwardens, there were three Sunday eucharists, and a confirmation.


Years ago, a "mystery worshipper" wrote a review of the services in Lanzarote saying they were "dinified, warm, convivial and joyous". Thankfully these words still describe the feeling at the eucharists on that weekend visit. It is heartening to see growth, both with young people in Nazaret, and with adults, including the confirmation candidate in Puerto del Carmen.

Confirmand Diane (3rd from right)

Friday, 10 November 2017

St Thomas Becket Hamburg pilgrimage to Rome

Edoardo guides the pilgrims through the Vatican Museums
17 people from the parish of St Thomas a Becket in Hamburg recently made a pilgrimage to Rome. From 23 to 28 October, led by their priest, the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel, the pilgrims who aged from 17 to 70 visited many of the Christian sites as well as the ancient monuments of the Eternal City. I was pleased to be able to accompany the pilgrims for a couple of days, as I was in Rome for other meetings at that time.


One of our postulants for Holy Orders, Edoardo Fanfani, from All Saints Rome, who is a student at the Pontifical Gregorian University studying art history was able to be the guide for the group. Edoardo knows just about everything there is to know about Rome, her buildings, her art, her monuments, and links all this to the Christian presence and life in this his native city.

Fr Leslie Nathaniel at the Papal General Audience
Among the highlights of the pilgrimage was a visit to the Anglican Centre in Rome, where Associate Director Fr Marcus Walker gave the group a short introduction to the role of the Centre and an overview of Roman Catholic-Anglican relations over these past 50 years of formal dialogue. The parishioners of St Thomas Becket were thrilled to find that one of the most precious items at the Anglican Centre is a relic of St Thomas Becket himself!

Fr Marcus presenting the work of the Anglican Centre in Rome

Another highlight was the visit to the Catacombs of Santa Priscilla where some of the most ancient Christian art can be found, including a late 3rd century image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the child Jesus.



There are more than 10 km of passage ways in these catacombs, and some 40,000 early Christians were buried here, including 7 early Popes. We were given permission to celebrate the eucharist in an area of the catacombs close to the tomb of St Marcellinus, Bishop of Rome in the late 3rd century. It was a very moving place to pray together and celebrate the mass.


One of the pilgrims, who is normally confined to a wheelchair, was unable to descend into the catacombs, but we were able to bring Holy Communion to him when we surfaced after the eucharist.


The pilgrims joined in the General Audience held in St Peter's Square, and had special seats reserved for them, close to Pope Francis.



It was a joy to be able to have a short while with these pilgrims and to get to know them (I had confirmed a number of them) and spend time sharing our faith in Rome. St Thomas Becket parish is already a deeply ecumenically minded community and this pilgrimage is sure to strengthen that commitment.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is installed as Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome



The journey of Anglicans and Roman Catholics towards the goal of visible unity was given a further impetus yesterday, 26 October, when the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, was installed in post by Archbishop Justin Welby. 

The service which was Anglican Evensong sung by the joint choirs of All Saints Anglican Church and St Paul’s within the Walls Episcopal Church, (with our own Canon Jonathan Boardman of All Saints as Cantor/Precentor), was held in the Caravita Church, the home of an English-language Roman Catholic Community in the city. There was a hearty assent from Archbishop Bernard when the Archbishop of Canterbury asked him “Will you commit yourself to the ministry of reconciliation striving to make visible the unity of the Church in Christ?”

The homily was preached by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Gallagher the Secretary for Relations with States from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Archbishop Paul affirmed that our journey towards unity was not merely about cooperation but was in fact a moral imperative, as it comes from the wish and prayer of Christ himself. After the formal installation, Archbishop Bernard was formally welcomed by His Eminence Cardinal Koch, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Her Excellency Mrs Sally Acworth the UK Ambassador to the Holy See (on behalf of the diplomatic community), the Revd Canon Jonathan Boardman on behalf of All Saints, the Revd Austin Rios on behal of St Paul’s Episcopal Church, and the Revd Tim Macquiban on behalf of Churches Together in Rome.

Archbishop Bernhard is a former Primate of the Anglican Church in Burundi. He has served on the Anglican Consultative Council and has been active in seeking peace and reconciliation in the Great Lakes region of Africa. He is the first African to hold the post of Director of the Anglican Centre, and the first Francophone. At the Evensong the first reading was in French and a Burundian song was sung to mark the significance of this appointment. It is a marvellous sign of the Church’s catholicity that the Anglican Communion now has an African legate to a South American Pope! 

The service, which so many remarked underlines the reality of a deep committed and fruitful official relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, concluded with a solemn blessing given together by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Bernard and Archbishop Paul Gallagher.




(Photos courtesy of the Anglican Centre in Rome)

Monday, 23 October 2017

Palma Cathedral filled for commemoration of the Reformation


On Sunday 16 October, the Cathedral in Palma de Mallorca was packed for a service to commemorate 500 years since the start of the Reformation. Fr David Waller, the Chaplain of St Philip and St James, Mallorca, and I joined clergy from the German Protestant Church, the Church of Sweden, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church for the service, at which Bishop Margot Käßmann of the Evangelical Church in Germany preached.

Bishop Käßmann, front, 3rd from right
I estimate that probably close to 2000 were present, mostly German visitors and residents on the island. The wonderful gothic cathedral was a perfect acoustic setting for classical German Lutheran chorales, hymns and brass instrumental works, even if such a service in a very Catholic Mediterranean seemed a long way from Wittenberg!




Sunday, 22 October 2017

Our Lady of Peace - a symbol of the international welcome at St Philip and St James, Palma de Mallorca


The Anglican Chaplaincy in Mallorca, Spain, has three congregations based in Palma, Puerto Pollensa and Cala d’Or. On Sunday 15 October I was able to visit the congregation in Palma for the Sunday Eucharist.

The Church in Palma is dedicated to St Philip and St James. Icons of these two apostles are on either side of another icon of  Our Lady of Peace. In this icon Our Lady is surrounded by the heads of 9 children, representing the traditional ethnic groups of humanity. It is a fitting symbol for this international all-age congregation. 

Parishioners at the coffee hour
It was a joy to visit for the Sunday eucharist, especially as I learned from the Chaplain the Revd David Waller that there was to be a Church Council meeting following, at which there was only routine business, and it was not necessary for me to attend!

Church Council

Saturday, 21 October 2017

HG Bishop Angaelos brings a message of hope at the Coptic Nayrouz Service


On 17 October 2017 at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, the annual Coptic New Year (Nayrouz) celebrations were held, at which, His Grace Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Church in the UK presided and preached.

His Grace Bishop Hovakim of the Armenian Apostolic Church
It is an important annual event in London, with significant ecumenical and inter-faith dimensions. The martyrs of the Church in the Middle East are always commemorated, but increasingly it has become an important moment when religious and political leaders from across UK society come together to pray for those around the world who are oppressed because of their religion. Thus addresses were given by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, members of parliament, and government ministers. Messages were read from HRH The Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister of the UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury. I had the honour of reading the message sent from Her Majesty the Queen.


In his powerful sermon, HG Bishop Angaelos said of religious freedom, and the martyrdom of so many who are denied that freedom: "If God respects humanity enough to empower us all with a freedom of choice, who are we to decide who has the right to believe or not believe? The Christian message has as its ultimate strength, the ability with which it can consciously and actively love and even forgive those who not only persecute, but kill us. That is what sets this apart. It is not because we are better than anyone else but because it is what we are called to do.” 


His Grace went on to say, "The gathering in this church this evening resembles the beautiful mosaic that is British life; from religious leaders to political leaders, social activists and human rights defenders, to members of the general public, we all work together. Together we should use whatever platform or gift we have to further this message. It is a tragedy if we feel there is nothing we can do, because the reality is that there is never a darkness that cannot be broken by the slightest light, and there is never a problem that cannot be addressed even if not fully resolved.”

So we continue to pray for all who suffer religious persecution and as we gather year by year, there may be signs of improvement around the world, and "less to regret and forgive, and more to celebrate and be joyful about".

Our Diocese was also well represented at this service by Registrar Aiden Hargreaves-Smith and my Chaplain, Deacon Frances Hiller, both well known to HG Bishop Angaelos.

Diocesan Registrar Aiden Hargreaves-Smith
Deacon Frances Hiller