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.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is welcomed at All Saints Rome

Fr Marcus and Archbishop Bernard
I took advantage of being in Rome for ecumenical meetings to invite the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, to preach at All Saints on Sunday 8 October. Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi has already begun his work at the Anglican Centre, of which I am a governor, and will be formally inaugurated in his new post by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the 26 October.

Archbishop Bernard has been a friend for many years as he served as Primate of the Province of Burundi as well as on the Anglican Consultative Council during the time when I was on the Anglican Communion staff. The Sunday celebration in All Saints was a wonderful opportunity to introduce Archbishop Bernard and his wife Mathilde to the congregation, itself a very international community.  All Saints parish will make them both welcome in the years ahead and will support Archbishop Bernard's vitally important ecumenical role.

Fr Marcus Walker, the Deputy Director of the Anglican Centre, well known already to All Saints, was the Deacon for the mass.

Some of the Sunday School welcome Archbishop Bernard
There were some surprising coincidences at the service that day. At All Saints there is a custom at the end of the Eucharist to ask visitors to introduce themselves and say where they are from. One couple, visiting from Ottawa, are in a parish where one of the priests was once a student of Archbishop Bernard back in Burundi. Another couple were from my former Diocese of Niagara, David and Jean Archbell. They were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in Rome. You can imagine their surprise when they turned up at All Saints and found that the one presiding was the person who, when just a curate, had prepared them for marriage 35 years ago! We agreed that none of us has changed over those years!

It seems it is true that "all roads lead to Rome".

The Archbells

Friday, 6 October 2017

Italy and Malta Synod - energised by faith

Archdeacon Vickie Sims introduces Ian Carter, Diocesan Safeguarding Manager
"Energised by Faith" was the theme of the recent Synod of the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta. From 27 - 30 September the clergy and lay representatives of the Archdeaconry met in Villa Sacro Cuore, outside Milan for their annual sessions, under the presidency of Archdeacon Vickie Sims.

Dr Clare Amos, Diocesan Director of Lay Discipleship
Dr Clare Amos, the Director of Lay Discipleship led the bible studies on the Transfiguration and the Emmaus stories. Using many images of these biblical events and quotes from poets and theologians, she helped the synod delve into the rich mystery of these accounts. We explored how the Transfiguration is a lens through which we can perceive the truth of the Gospel today. Quoting Martin Eggleton, Clare said, "Transfiguration does not do away with what is, it changes one's perception of it, heightens it, enables it to be something revered, not in a magical sense, but with true awe. This is what happened on the mountain wide when the disciples had their transfiguring experience with Jesus." With regard to the Emmaus story, Clare said "these two travellers are you and I; they are the church walking with Christ the long road of history".

Clare also led an introductory session on discipleship in the Diocese in Europe. She reflected on how aspects and descriptions of the Blessed Sacrament, which is of course central to our lives as Christians, can underline aspects of our discipleship vocation:
Community  -  "Communion"
Worship - "Eucharist" (= thanksgiving)
Mission - "Mass"
Learning - "Lord's Supper"

Dr Pemberton Ford
In other business, the Revd Dr Carrie Pemberton Ford, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking, addressed the synod on this vital matter, which touches upon our diocese, particularly with the increased migration of peoples from the Global South.

In other business, Ian Gibson and Tola Hummel from the Diocesan Safeguarding team were on hand to give updates on the Safeguarding agenda which is central to our diocesan life, and to have valuable informal discussions with synod members. Archdeacon Sims led a session on some essential parish administration and governance questions and chaired reporting sessions from the congregations across Italy and Malta.

Assistant Safeguarding Manager Tola Hummel with Synod Member Una Scaletta
Locum priests in our diocese (and we have over 200 on our locum list) offer a vital ministry in so many places, during an interregnum, for holiday cover as well as staffing some of our congregations which have only seasonal ministry, or which have a pattern of using a permanent rota of visiting clergy. Three locum priests serving in the Archdeaconry came and presented on their experience of their work and gave valuable insight as well as advice, on how the ministry of locums can be made even more welcome and how the gifts and experience of locum priests can be better used.

Locum priests Ed Hanson, Richard Gowty, and Derek Goddard,

Thursday, 5 October 2017

HRH The Prince of Wales at St Paul’s Valletta

HRH The Prince of Wales paid a special visit to St Paul’s Pro Cathedral in Malta on Wednesday 4 October. It was an opportunity for him to review the restoration work on the Cathedral, to which the Prince has made a generous personal contribution. (The total restoration appeal is for €3 million). The Chancellor of the Pro Cathedral, the Revd Canon Simon Godfrey, gave Prince Charles a tour of St Paul’s itself, a building which owes its origins in 1844 to the Prince’s own ancestor, Queen Adelaide.

His Royal Highness then officially opened the newly refurbished undercroft of the Cathedral which is now to serve as a place of welcome for the many visitors to Valletta as well as an educational centre. The opening ceremony which included a formal blessing of the undercroft, also included prayers for two other events in Malta which Prince Charles will be taking part: the “Our Ocean” conference which aims to empower a new generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists and civil society to identify solutions and commit to actions for clean and sustainably managed oceans; and the 75th anniversary of the awarding of the George Cross by King George VI to the people of Malta for their bravery and heroism during the siege of Malta in World War II.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Another new congregation in the diocese, St Albert of Trapani, Randazzo

St Albert of Trapani is a Sicilian saint from the 13th century, a Carmelite, widely known for his preaching and miraculous healings. He is also the patron of one of this Diocese's newest developing congregations. I was able to visit this congregation, located in the town of Randazzo on the slopes of Mount Etna, for the first time recently. I was accompanied by the Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, Vickie Sims. The occasion was the Feast of the Holy Cross. It was a warm and enthusiastic gathering. The mass was according to Common Worship, but in Italian. Archdeacon Vickie served as the deacon of the mass and also translated my homily for the assembled worshippers. It was televised by a local station! Visitors joined us from the Anglican congregations in Rome and Taormina.

The priest is the Revd Giovanni La Rosa, who was received into the communion of the Church of England at the Chrism mass last March. He has been mentored by clergy of the Archdeaconry and continues his journey deeper into the Anglican tradition, according to the norms of the Diocese. I was pleased to offer a special blessing for Fr Giovanni for his ministry among the faithful of St Albert of Trapani.
Il Signore ti conceda  la gioia di presiedere e di servire fedelmente, in comunione con il tuo Vescovo e con il tuo Arcidiacono, la comunità italiana anglicana: Annuncia la parola di Dio, Celebra la grazia di Dio testimoniando la carità di Cristo. Amen
The Lord grant you the joy of presiding and serving faithfully. In communion with your bishop, your archdeacon, and the Italian Anglican community, proclaim the Word of God, and celebrate the grace of God, bearing witness to the love of Christ. Amen. 
St Albert of Trapani with his copy of Common Worship!
There are several communities of Anglicans who worship in Italian across the Archdeaconry. This is a relatively new development, to provide such ministry to Anglicans where it is requested whilst maintaining our clear position and policy, that we do not engage in proselytism of Christians from other traditions but work with our sister Churches wherever we are with ecumenical solidarity and commitment.

After the mass in Randazzo there was a convivial community meal of pizza, local wine and some delicious Sicilian desserts. The congregation, made up of people of all ages, seemed to feel uplifted by the visit, judging from a quote from the parish website: "the visit of the bishop reminds us that our community is part of the great family of the Church of Jesus, following in the Anglican tradition. We thank the Lord for this pastoral visit and confirmed in faith we continue our path in the Anglican way, with conviction and enthusiasm".

Padre Giovanni
I, too, was heartened by the warmth, the faith, the commitment and the palpable love of this congregation. Pray for its continual growth and development.

The feast day of St Albert of Trapani is 7 August. The collect for the feast:
Lord God,
you made Saint Albert of Trapani
a model of purity and prayer,
and a devoted servant of Our Lady.
May we practise these same virtues
and so be worthy always
to share the banquet of your grace.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Greater Lisbon Chaplaincy is a warm home for people from around the world

The Greater Lisbon Chaplaincy consists of 2 congregations, St George's Lisbon, and St Paul's Estoril. Together they serve the English-speaking community in the Greater Lisbon area, and the members are a diverse community from around around the world. Anglican worship in Lisbon can be dated back to 1654!

I visited the chaplaincy on the weekend of 2 - 3 September. It was an excellent opportunity to meet with the Church Council and with a wide range of parishioners and to see how the new priest, the Revd Dr Frank Sawyer, and the chaplaincy were forming an excellent relationship with an encouraging and renewed common vision for the future emerging. (Fr Frank is, ahem, a fellow alumnus of Trinity College Toronto!). During my visit I met parishioners from every continent, except Antarctica.

Children make their First Communion
Fr Frank is ably assisted by two honorary assistant priests, the Revd Paula Rennie, and the Revd Frances Le Blanc. During the Sunday Eucharist I was also able to authorise João Soares as a Congregational Worship Leader, to be part of the ministry team. The Sacrament of Confirmation was also celebrated and Fr Frank used the festive occasion to admit some young children to Holy Communion.

João Soares authorised as a Worship Leader

Fr Frank Sawyer with parishioners originally from Pakistan

Friday, 22 September 2017

7 Interim ministers trained

Seven priests have just completed training to be interim ministers at a programme led by the Director of Ministerial Development, the Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, and the Archdeacon of Gibraltar the Ven. Geoff Johnston.

Interim ministers are a fairly new concept to the Church of England and are deployed in churches during a vacancy  to provide some transitional ministry where there has been a period of conflict or other parochial challenge. Thus, interim ministers are rather different from the normal locum priests who cover periods of interregnum, but who are there to simply "keep the show on the road". In contrast, interim ministers are given a specific brief by the relevant bishop and archdeacon, to work with the parish on some particular transitional matters, some often quite serious, in order to prepare it to welcome and work with a future permanent appointment. The Revd Molly Smith, a trainer with the US-based Episcopal Church’s Interim Ministry Network gave key leadership for our own diocesan training programme.

“This is an exciting and pioneering project,” Archdeacon Geoff said. “Interim ministry is really taking off and it is great to know that the Diocese in Europe is the first in the Church of England to offer this kind of professional training programme. “The fact that there are so many priests who are interested in developing their ministry in this way augurs well for the future.”

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Susan Boyd is admitted and licensed as a Reader to serve in Trondheim

The Revd April Almaas presents Susan to be admitted to the office of Reader
At one of the eucharists at the Nordic and Baltic Deanery synod, I admitted Susan Boyd to the office of Reader and licensed her for that ministry in the Anglican Church in Norway. Her ministry will be exercised mostly in Trondheim where she lives. The Revd April Almaas, our priest in Trondeim presented Susan for admission to this lay ministerial office.

Susan now joins a colleague Reader in Trondheim, Priscilla Beck, who works together with Mtr April in caring for our congregation there. The Revd Darren McCallig will soon become the Senior Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Norway, and will be based in Oslo. He will oversee the clergy and people in the daughter congregations of Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim.

(L to R) The Revds Darrem McCallig, April Almaas, Nick Howe, Kirk Weisz and Archdeacon Colin Williams with new Reader Susan Boyd
It was a splendid occasion as the service was held in the ancient Stavanger Cathedral, with music provided by the cathedral girls' choir.

Synod members after the licensing eucharist

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Children and the Kingdom: Theme of Nordic and Baltic Deanery Synod

Area Dean for the Nordic and Baltic Deanery, the Revd Nick Howe
Extending from Iceland to Estonia, the Nordic/Baltic deanery must be one of the most extensive in the Anglican world. Its synod, over which Area Dean Nick Howe presided, was recently held in Stavanger in SW Norway. Besides the usual business of deanery synod, this year the members looked at aspects of children's ministry. Technology enabled the synod members to hear a presentation on this subject by Professor Haddon Willmer of the Child Theology Movement, and Tony Cook, the Head of Youth and Children's Work for the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

The Revd Peter Hogarth introduces Professor Willmer who joined the synod by Skype
One of the synod eucharists was celebrated in St Swithun's Cathedral. The bishopric of Stavanger was founded in 1125 by a missionary from Winchester, who brought with him relics from that city's most famous saint, St Swithun. The cathedral has been in continuous use for 900 years.

The Revd Bjarni Thor Bjarnason (of Iceland) in front of Stavanger Cathedral
The synod has a good representation of members of our church who are of minority ethnic background (that includes me, of course!). We decided to have a picture together after the mass in the Cathedral to demonstrate just how colourful the Church of England is!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Trondheim Anglicans (and a bishop) at the consecration of the new Bishop of Nidaros

On Sunday 10th September., in the ancient Cathedral of Nidaros, in the presence of HM King Harald of Norway and a packed congregation of over 1000, Herborg Oline Finnset was consecrated bishop of Nidaros (Trondheim).

I was among the bishops invited from the Porvoo Communion of Churches, along with colleague bishops from Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and of course Norway itself. The Presiding Bishop of the Church of Norway, Helga Haugland Byfuglien, was the chief consecrator. The service was in Norwegian of course, but with prayers, readings and hymns in South Sami, Swedish and English.

Presiding Bishop Helga places the pectoral cross on Bishop Herborg (photo by Ole Martin Wold) 
One distinctive feature of episcopal consecrations in many Nordic countries including Norway, is that the new bishop must preach the sermon at the consecration mass! Quite daunting as the first task, not least in front of the King and 1000 people in the Cathedral. Bishop Herborg spoke of grace, that the Church's role is to extend God's grace to all, grace which allow us to live for God and in service to each other.

King Harald greets Bishop Herborg after the Mass (photo by Ole Martin Wold)
Our Anglican congregation at the Høymesse (literally High Mass) for the consecration was represented by the Revd April Almaas, the priest, and Mrs Priscilla Beck, the Reader. The Anglican services are held each week, either in the Cathedral, or in the nearby Church of Our Lady, which is connected to the Cathedral.

Nidaros Cathedral is built over the burial site of Saint Olav, the king of Norway in the 11th century. It was completed sometime in the 13th century.

The procession out (Photo by Eivind Almaas)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Fr William Lister re-licensed for Florence and Siena

Normally in our diocese the issuing of a licence happens in a priest's own congregation. Given the scattered nature of our diocese, however, this sometimes has to take place elsewhere, depending on the diary of a bishop or archdeacon who normally must preside at this brief, largely, legal rite.

As the Chaplain of St Mark's Florence (with St Peter's Siena), the Revd Fr William Lister, needed to have his license renewed for a further term, a recent visit to Rome provided the opportunity for me to invite him to journey south for this ceremony. This was able to be done before the icon of Christ the Light of the World in All Saints Church which was consecrated by Pope Francis when he visited our Anglican chaplaincy in Rome last February.

Fr Lister is also Area Dean of Italy and an Assistant Director of Ordinands in the diocese.

Monday, 4 September 2017

6 young adults placed in Diocese in Europe parishes to test their vocation

For the third year running, our Diocese in Europe is participating in the "Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme" (CEMES) which offers year long placements for young adults (under 30) wishing to test their vocation to the sacred ministry. This year 6 persons will be placed in our parishes in Lyon, Leuven, Brussels, La Côte (near Geneva), Ostend with Brugge and Vienna. They will be given practical experience in ministry, some time of theological reflection and exposure to the challenges of Anglican life on the continent of Europe.

Our Director of Ordinands, Canon William Gulliford, oversees the CEMES programme in our diocese, and works with a team of volunteer priests and laity in the supervision of the participants. A special orientation session for this year's cohort was held on 31 August to 1 September in Rome, hosted by All Saints Church.  

The scheme is part of the Church's effort to encourage more young people to consider Holy Orders. 


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

International Ecumenical Fellowship marks 500th anniversary of the Reformation

The International Ecumenical Fellowship (IEF) is a community of grassroots Christians from different countries and traditions, who through prayer and worship, theological study, discipleship, fellowship and friendship are spiritually encouraged to work for Christian unity. Their vision is summed up by the phrase "Living Today the Church of Tomorrow".
The 44th conference of the IEF was recently held for a week in Wittenberg, Germany, the place where Martin Luther, by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Schlosskirche in the town, gave birth to the Protestant Reformation in 1517. On the 500th anniversary of that event the IEF programme brought together Christians of every tradition to reflect together on the theme "From the true treasure of the Church(es), rediscovering the gospel together 1517/2017".
On Sunday, the final day of the IEF conference, I represented the Anglican Communion at a celebration of the Eucharist according to the Lima Liturgy, held in the Stadkirche (city parish church). Other celebrants came from Old Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Moravian and Methodist traditions. The chief celebrant was the Revd Dr Olav Fyske Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. Other participants in the rite came from the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

In his sermon, Bishop Professor Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm of Munich made an impassioned plea which received an applause from the packed congregation: "The church can not be a place where those who are called sisters and brothers remain separate at the Lord's table".The Stadtkirche (dedicated to St Mary) is the building where the Reformers Martin Luther and Johannes Bugenhagen preached. It also saw the first celebration of the mass in German rather than Latin. It is thus considered to be the mother church of the Protestant Reformation. The Lima Liturgy is a eucharistic rite based on the convergence on the eucharist reached in the Faith and Order text Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (BEM). It was first used at the Faith and Order Plenary Commission meeting in Lima, Peru in 1982. I had parts to preside in Spanish and English. Other parts of the liturgy were in German, French, Swahili and Polish!