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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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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

An international and cross-cultural event: laying the foundation stone of St John's Casablanca development project

The Compound of St John's
Foundation stones of the St John the Evangelist Development Project were laid last Wednesday 17 May in Casablanca. It was a joyful international gathering convened by the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, the Chaplain of St John's.


The Church has been serving the English-speaking expatriate Christian community in the city since 1906. The time has come to expand the facilities in the Church compound, including a renovation of the Church itself, and the construction of rooms for community and educational use. As St John's is part of the historic architectural patrimony of the city, some complicated permissions and approvals had to be obtained from several government departments.

HE the Wali signs the guest book
His Excellency, Khalid Safir, the Wali of Casablanca and Settat, has been very supportive of the project and we were honoured by his presence at the ceremony on the 17th. (The Wali is the representative of the King, in an administrative region of Morocco).

His Excellency with Canon Medhat

His Excellency joined me and several others - Archdeacon Geoff Johnston, UK Consul Mr David Harries, US Chargé d'Affairs, Mrs Stephanie Miley, and Churchwardens John Peterson and Angie Bermudez - in laying the ceremonial stones. The Wali spoke of the important place St John's has within the diverse, international, multicultural city of Casablanca. The support we have received from the Moroccan authorities has been very encouraging, and we are thankful for His Majesty King Mohammed VI's commitment to helping foreign religious communities such as ours, flourish in his country.

The Churchwardens, the Architect and the Archdeacon enjoy the moment
Members of St John's, who themselves come from around the world were in attendance, as were representatives of St Andrew's Tangiers, the other historic Church of England congregation in the country.

One of the interesting pieces of St John's history is that US General George S. Paton regularly attended services during WWII. The General, in fact, donated the oak pulpit to the Church in memory of troops who died in the defence of the city.

Canon Medhat with US diplomats

Canon Medhat with UK diplomats
This whole development project is a result of the vision of the Chaplain, Fr Medhat. It was fitting and joyful coincidence that the foundation stone ceremony was on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his ordination as a priest. The Diocese is supporting the project through last year's Advent Appeal.






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