A Ministry in Europe? A Company of Servers Special
Recently, the Company of Servers held a one-off engaging morning as they met and welcomed Deacon Frances Hiller, Chaplain to the Bishop of Europe. The London Chapter, which welcomed its Southwark counterparts from across the river, also met for a spring social at St Saviour’s Church in Pimlico.
Deacon Frances Hiller, Chaplain to the Suffragan Bishop of Europe, Bishop David Hamid, spoke about the unique operations and ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Europe. In setting out the operations of this relatively unknown part of the Church of England, Frances highlighted the size and scope of Anglican ministry which, in geographical terms, covers one quarter of the Anglican world and stretches from Casablanca in the south to Iceland in the north, Madeira in the west to Moscow in the east.
The Diocese of Europe has a presence in over 40 countries with 330 congregations, 165 licensed clergy and 110 Readers, with 500 priests licensed to officiate. Deacon Frances explained the long history of Anglican worship in Europe, with its roots going back to before the Reformation, and of the many changes in movement of people and their needs that had, in turn, required a response.
In most of Europe, the C of E is not an established church and receives no funding from either the state or the C of E in the UK. Church communities are almost entirely based in urban areas and a great deal of travelling is involved both for clergy and for congregations. Although its only authorised liturgy is that of the C of E, it needs to respond to the fullness of church life, worship and witness ‘where we are’ and this is both a challenge and an opportunity that allows for a wide variety of traditions and the fulfilment of an ecumenical role.
The joint chapter meeting learned a lot about what the Diocese of Europe ‘was’ and what it ‘was not’, and the fascinating talk about a part of the C of E about which most of us had known very little, and by its conclusion we were left rather in awe of how much pastoral care and worship was conducted by this dedicated band of individuals in a large area of the world currently facing many challenges.
After Deacon Frances’ talk, the Eucharist was then celebrated by the London Chapter’s Chaplain, Fr Matthew Catterick, for which she acted as the deacon.
The next meeting is the Chapter’s Summer Social which will be held at St Saviour’s, Pimlico, on Wednesday 20 June 2018 preceded by Evensong and Benediction commencing at 6.30pm with Bishop David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of Europe (and Deacon Frances’ ‘boss’). A training and interactive workshop will take place on Saturday 3 November 2018.
More joint meetings with the Company of Servers’ London/ Southwark Chapters’ will take place in future, and meetings for the remainder of 2018 see ‘Local Chapters’ on the CoS website or contact the London Chapter Secretary, Fiona Andrews.
Photos: David Beresford, Company of Servers London Chapter.