During August I was fortunate to take part in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and to see, again, the places associated with the life of Jesus Christ. Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, is now a sprawling Arab town, but in the first century was only a village of perhaps 500 people. Capernaum and the places around Lake Galilee have retained their peacefulness and beauty across the centuries. And Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, which was once the ‘little town’ spoken of in the Christmas Carol now houses the large ‘Church of the Nativity’ built by Constantine, a bewildering array of gift shops and the terrible and much graffitied wall that separates Palestinians from Jews.

To visit these sites is to be reminded that Jesus was born in a physical place and time. His parents had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census. The Bethlehem ‘inn’ described by St. Luke would have been a large room in which visitors would have unrolled their sleeping mats.

Despite St. Luke’s comments, the room at the inn would be unlikely to have been completely full, as you could always squeeze in another body. But a crowded hostel floor was no place for a young woman about to give birth. So it seems the innkeeper – far from being the grumpy character that he has become in our infant nativities – found Mary somewhere more decent, in all likelihood his own family’s cave. Caves made good homes, as they kept cool in the summer and relatively warm in the winter. At the ‘Church of the Nativity’ you can visit the cave where, by tradition, the birth took place. It appears that Mary gave birth in the relative privacy of the part of the cave allocated to the animals.

Luke tells us that Mary placed her newborn baby in a manger. The only ancient Near Eastern manger I have seen was used both as a reservoir for water as well as a being a feeding trough. And it was made of stone.

Attending to the details of Mary’s circumstances perhaps helps us to ponder again the earthy reality of the Saviour’s birth. Jesus was born in a cave, surrounded by animals, and the newborn baby was laid in an elevated stone basin intended for the nourishment of the animals. St. John reflects that ‘the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth’. The divine Word is enfleshed, puts on humanity, in an utterly physical and natural manner.

Yet this baby embodies the logos, the Word of God. The divine Word takes flesh. The invisible, transcendent second person of the divine Trinity speaks into our human existence.God’s speech is known in the life of this human person, and if we want to know how God speaks we are directed to Jesus. There is an integrity between the life and actions of Jesus and the word and will of the eternal God. This birth is an extraordinary divine ‘speech-event’.

In our own day, speech and communication are as powerful as they ever were. Words are used to influence and persuade, to heal or to harm, to encourage or undermine, to nurture hope or generate fear. With the internet and social media the whole world now feels like one global speech community with a myriad of voices vying for attention, prominence and influence.

What is so frequently lacking is a consonance between what is spoken and the physicality of real people. Disembodied voices with anonymous names or email addresses offer comment without responsibility. And public figures whose image has been created by marketing consultants deliver messages massaged by spin doctors that seem unconnected with their own personal histories. As a result we experience ourselves caught up in powerful communications networks where we can’t easily distinguish truth from lies and struggle to find firm foundations for trust in what we are hearing.  

Words are precious, and powerful – sacred even, if we trace them back to the divine Word. The event of Christmas invites us to model our lives and our speech on the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, rather than be fashioned by the powerful networks of discourse swirling around us.

Addressing Christians at Ephesus, the second century Father of the Church Ignatius wrote:

“Pray without ceasing on behalf of other people. For there is in them hope of repentance that they may attain to God. See, then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way. Be meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting; in contrast to their error be steadfast in the faith, and for their cruelty manifest your gentleness. While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found their brethren in all kindness.”

Faithfulness or trustworthiness, humility, gentleness and kindness remain the hallmarks of Christ-like communication.

So amongst all the Christmas gifts, we prepare to celebrate the supreme gift – God’s greatest ever gift to the world. It is the gift of a person full of grace – of loveliness, goodness, graciousness. And this is a gift, a person, full of truth – reality, integrity, trustworthiness. In fragile flesh he comes and dwells, being born in a cave amongst the animals, laid in a manger. God who is outside space and time speaks into human reality to transform it from within.

Wherever you live in our European diocese, I wish each of you and your families a very happy Christmas. And I hope that during 2020, whatever the year ahead brings, God will irradiate your lives with his presence and his peace.

The Bishop in Europe: The Right Reverend Dr. Robert Innes

+Robert Gibraltar in Europe

Christmas Service of Nine Lessons and Carols 2019

Christmas Service of Nine Lessons and Carols

Christ Church, Kyiv  (Anglican / Episcopal) 

Meeting Sundays, 3:00 PM at: St. Katherina’s, Lyuteranska 22, Kiev

24 November 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine

Dear Friends,
Christ Church, Anglican, Episcopal, wishes to invite you to our traditional
Christmas Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.
The format is simple. The congregation choir leads us in traditional, well-known
Christmas carols, accompanied with organ music. Interspersed between the
carols are Bible readings that tell the nativity story: the angel’s visit to the virgin,
the wise men, and the birth. The service ends with a very short address, after
which we share mulled wine and ginger bread in the Christmas spirit.
Please come and join us at 6 PM on Sunday, December 8 th , in St. Katherina’s
German Lutheran Church at 22 Luteranska st., Kyiv.
You also may wish to join us on December 25, 2019 at 3pm for the Christmas
Service with Rev.Rosie Dymond in St.Katherina’s German Lutheran Church at 22
Luteranska st., Kyiv.

Church Council


This Sunday, 17th Nov , our Area Dean Rev. Malcolm Rogers, from At. Andrews Church, Moscow

This Sunday, 17th Nov , our Area Dean Rev. Malcolm Rogers, from At. Andrews Church, Moscow will  celebrate Holy Eucharist in our regular Church service.

Timetable for the Eastern Archdeaconry Synod

Timetable for the Eastern Archdeaconry Synod


Ramada Encore Hotel, Kiev/Kyiv
September 20-23 (24), 2018

Thursday 20 September
4.00 pm Informal time together,
6.00pm Evening Prayer and Address – Officiant and Preacher :
Archdeacon Colin
7.00 pm Dinner
8.00 pm Opening Session
Introductions, -Welcome from our hosts, Housekeeping,
General Information and Introduction,
Archdeacon’s report on the Agenda
8.45 pm Getting to know each other (possibly with time together in
the Games Room)

Friday 21 September – St. Matthew
Being the Church
7.30am Eucharist
8.15am Breakfast
9.15 Bible Study – Canon Philip Mounstephen
The mystery of God’s will: studies in Ephesians 1-3

10.15am Coffee/Tea
10.45am Setting the Scene – Being the Church in Ukraine – the Rev’d
John Calhoun (assisted by Canon Simon Stephens)
12.15 Break
12.30pm Lunch followed by down time
3.00 pm The Rev’d Dr. Christian Hofreiter – Being the Church in the

midst of secularization (1)

4.30pm Tea/Coffee
4.45 pm The Rev’d Dr. Christian Hofreiter - Being the Church in the
midst of secularization (2)
6.15pm Evening Prayer
6.45pm Dinner
8.00pm Being the Church throughout the Archdeaconry - Chaplaincy

Saturday 22 September
Serving the Church
7.30am Morning Prayer
8.00am Breakfast
9:00am Bible Study – Canon Philip Mounstephen

The mystery of God’s will: studies in Ephesians 1-3

10.00am Coffee / Tea
10:30am Bishop Robert – Serving the Church in the Diocese in Europe
(During this session, Bishop Robert will introduce us to Kate
Davenport, newly arrived to a senior post in the UK Embassy in Kiev)
12.00pm Break
12.30pm Lunch followed by down time
2.30pm Michael Fegan – Serving the Church in the Diocese in
Europe by financially resourcing its growth

4.00pm Tea/Coffee
4.30pm Synod Business Meeting
6.00pm Evening Prayer
7. 00pm Synod Dinner
Evening together informally

Sunday 23 September 17 th Sunday after Trinity
7.30am Morning Prayer
8.00am Breakfast
9.00am Bible Study – Canon Philip Mounstephen

The mystery of God’s will: studies in Ephesians 1-3

10.00am Break (We will need to leave very promptly for the venue of our Synod Eucharist

11.00am Synod Eucharist – President and Preacher: Bishop Robert
This will take place at St. Catherine’s Lutheran Church in the
centre of Kyiv, the regular venue for worship for the Anglican
Community of Christ Church. We will in particular be giving
thanks for the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the
Anglican community in Kyiv
1.00 pm Lunch (at St. Catherine’s)
For those staying on, an afternoon programme is being organised
Dinner in a Restaurant in Kiev

Monday 24 September


Link to Venue Website
Ramada Encore Hotel, 103, Stolichnoe Shosse, Kiev 03131
Tel: +380 44 205 1515

Our Speakers
The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Robert Innes has served since 2014 as Bishop of
Gibraltar in Europe

Canon Philip Mounstephen is Executive Leader of the Church Mission
Society (CMS). It has recently been announced that he will shortly begin
to serve as Bishop of Truro, serving churches and congregations in
Cornwall in South West England
The Rev’d Dr. Christian Hofreiter is Director of the Vienna-based
Zacharias Institute.
The Rev'd John Calhoun is Co-Ordinator of International Ministries at the
United Methodist Church in Kiev
Michael Fegan is Interim Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese in Europe
The Rev’d Canon Simon Stephens, formerly Chaplain at St. Andrew
Moscow, will be acting as Locum at Christ Church, Kiev in September and will act as Sacristan for our worship;

Colin Williams
11 September 2018


ASH WEDNSDAY - 14th Feb 2018

Ash Wednesday - 14th of Feb. 2018. Fr. Simon Stephen, Pastor Wolfgang Heldt-Meyerding,


October 2017

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


This year’s Advent Appeal aims to support homeless refugees and asylum seekers in Rome with humanitarian assistance (a daily, cooked breakfast and essential items for personal dignity and warmth) for 6 months. We are doing this through a well-established and well-run project established by our Episcopal sister church of St. Paul’s Within the Walls.


The Joel Nafuma Refugee Center is the major outreach ministry of St Paul's Within the Walls Episcopal Church in Rome.  The center assists approximately 17,000 people per year, and is the only day center open to receive homeless asylum seekers and refugees in Rome. Every day, JNRC welcomes 200-250 guests. The guests come from many different nations, including Mali, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Pakistan, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. Half of them are homeless, sleeping in parks or on the pavement outside train stations.

Many are vulnerable, depressed and traumatized. They are sometimes completely alone. They can be as young as 18 or 19.  70% have come to Italy to flee active conflict, political or religious persecution.  Approximately 85% are men, and 15% are women or accompanied by a child. 

While they wait for shelter, they are welcomed at JNRC, given a nutritious, cooked breakfast, as well as items for their personal dignity (toiletries, second-hand shoes, clothes and blankets), and offered legal advice.  If they wish, they can join a language lesson, learn to use a computer or simply watch the news on the TV.  JNRC has a multi-faith prayer space where guests can meditate and pray. 

JNRC is the only place in Rome that takes in homeless and dormitory-housed refugees during the day, giving them a safe refuge from the streets.  Often, once they have a dorm bed, they return to take classes, write a CV in Italian and begin the search for employment.  Some guests attend music and art therapy or see a counsellor for individual sessions.  JNRC prides itself on being able to track the progress of many young people who transition from humanitarian assistance, to being able to fend for themselves in Rome. 

Under the terms of the Dublin Regulation, refugees who entered Italy first in Europe must receive and renew refugee status documents in Italy.  This means that in 2017, JNRC has seen a rise in guest numbers due to the increased number of people journeying across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya, the closure of the Calais “Jungle” camp in France, and increased deportations from Scandinavia. 

We aim to raise enough money to support the breakfast programme and to provide basic supplies and sleeping bags for JNRC guests for 6 months:

For 6 months supply of:

Amount in Euro



     Cleaning supplies and costs


     Consumable supplies


     Kitchen Equipment


Underwear, toiletries and socks


100 Sleeping bags for January - March







As usual, you can give money to this appeal through your church treasurer, who will forward your gift to the diocesan office. Funds will then be transmitted direct to JNRC (

Please do consider how you can support my Advent appeal this year.

With every blessing,

+Robert Gibraltar in Europe                                             

Christian Services – Dec2016/ Jan2017 during residency of the Anglican Chaplin.

Fr.Alan.M.Cole, SSC, as Locum offers a special welcome to all staffs, families and friends of English speaking Embassies, Consulates, commercial & business offices to service of worship as listed below. The Anglican / Episcopal Diocese of Europe in all European capitals authorizes a priestly ministry to all baptized persons availing themselves of Christian friendship. Our Sunday services are Eucharistic (Mass & Communion) in a liturgy accessible to Anglican, Orthodox, Roman, Lutheran, Reformed or Evangelical Christians. All comers may express their religious faith with in our sociable & Joyful ambience. Offerings are received but no charge for attendance.

All Anglican worship is held at St.Catherine’s Lutheran Church, at 22, Luthernskaya street, Kyiv.

The Chaplin is personally available for spiritual care, confessions or Blessings. Do feel welcome to attend services or studies or speak with Fr.Alan.


Sundays at 15.00 hrs : Dec 4,11,18,25Jan 1,8,15,22

Holy Eucharist - Mass & Holy Communion

Tuesday’s Study Groups at 19.00hrs Dec 6,13,20,27Jan 3,10,17

Christmas ServiceSunday at 15.00 hrs, 25 December 2016

Blair Carlson in Kiev 2016

Good Friday 2015 in UK


The next bank holiday in England and Wales is

3 AprilGood Friday





The promises to Abram/Abraham

The promises to Abram/Abraham

Genesis 17:1-7,15,16

Do you have any promises that you are waiting to see completed?

          Spouse, children, boss

What about promises from God?

          Is there anything that God has promised, that you are waiting to see fulfilled?

          Isn’t it exhausting?

We wait on promises from God, sometimes a long time, and we get tired of waiting.

Abraham was 75 years old when he received the promise of God

Gen 12:1-3

1: Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee:

2: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing:

3: and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

That is an amazing promise!

What one of us would not want God to say something like that to us!?

          But…It took Abraham 25 years to see the promise of God fulfilled!

          Who among us would want to wait that long to see a promise of God fulfilled?


Abrams father’s name was Terah (delay or wait a bit)

Abram name means (exalted father) – remember he had no children at that time

Abraham sojourned in Haran (parched land)

          So the exalted father was sojourning in the parched land, with no children.

God says GO, and Abram goes, but 25 years go by before the promise is fulfilled.

Abraham was human, don’t think he wasn’t

          Don’t give him superman powers.  I’m sure there were many days he thought about the promise of God and how quickly time was slipping away.

He was tempted to “force the issue” – but that is rarely a good idea, usually it’s a very bad idea.

Sarai gives him her handmaiden, and Ishmael is born.

Ishmael – is the father of the Arab nations, the militant enemies of the Jewish nation

Not exactly the completion of God’s promise…

Hebrews 11:8-12

8: By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

9: By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10: for he looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11By faith even Sarah herself received power to conceive seed when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised:

12: wherefore also there sprang of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand, which is by the sea-shore, innumerable.

Abraham is listed as a man of faith, one of the shining examples.

Sarah makes the list as well

They left not knowing where they were going.  How many of you would do the same?

          Men- try telling your wife you are moving the family, when she asks where, tell her you don’t know.

Don’t underestimate what is going on here:

Abraham goes, not knowing where he was going, walking in faith.

Leaving everything and every place that he knows. (Later, he sent back “home” for his son Isaac’s wife)

He gets a new name Abraham (which means father of nations) and he still doesn’t have any kids.

Gen 12:4-6 

4: So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

5: And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

6: And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

Do you think you have it hard?

Abraham shows up in the land that God has promised, and it’s already full of people!

          Not just ordinary people, remember the Israelite spies – there were giants and such there.

“this is the land I am giving you”  (uh God, is there an empty piece you can show me?)

Rom 4:20-21

20yet, looking unto the promise of God, he wavered not through unbelief, but waxed strong through faith, giving glory to God,

21: and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.

Ok God, no problem.

I’m old, no kids, no personal army, not entirely sure where I am.  Sounds good, I’m just waiting on you God.

Gen 15:1

1: After these things the word of Jehovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

2: And Abram said, O Lord Jehovah, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?

3: And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

4: And, behold, the word of Jehovah came unto him, saying, This man shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

5: And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and number the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

6: And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.

God repeats His promise to Abraham, and you can sense a bit of frustration from Abraham.

-I am childless, what reward will you give, because I don’t have a proper heir to pass it on to.

But God speaks clearly to him, it will be a proper son

Gen 18:10-14

10: And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him.

11: Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12: And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13: And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old?

14: Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.

The Promises of God

          His name - Ne’eman V’Yashar  - Faithful and True (Rev 19:11)

We get fed up when God doesn’t conform to our ideas and time-frames

          But, God always follows through

          God often waits until it is impossible, to demonstrate that He can do the impossible.

                    So don’t get frustrated when it becomes impossible, that is when God is getting ready to act

Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.

Ash Wednesday Service

Ash Wednesday Service

St. Catherine’s Lutheran Church, Kiev

18 February 2015

Today is Ash Wednesday.  It marks the beginning of the season of Lent - the six-week period leading up to Easter. Lent is a time to make our hearts ready.  Ready for remembering the death and burial of Jesus, and ready to celebrate his resurrection with a joyous Easter Sunday. 

Many people think of Lent as a time to give up something.  Chocolate, maybe.  Or coffee, or wine, or meat.  Some comfort or habit.  And yes, Lent is traditionally a time of penitence – of being reminded of our sinfulness. Giving up something may be a way to express our desire for repentance and change.  We want to turn away from old habits and sins to more fully embrace the new life that Christ offers to us. 

On Ash Wednesday we are marked with ashes.  The ashes remind us that we are dust – we are mortal.  We are destined for death.  And these are the words we hear:  "For dust you are and to dust you shall return".   These are the words God spoke to Adam and Eve after they chose to turn away from God.  Death came into the world when they chose to do things their own way.

Lent reminds us that mankind’s relationship with God is broken. As human beings, our relationship with God needs to be restored.  We all need to be reconciled to God.  We need to be forgiven by God.  We cannot “fix” ourselves.   And so, Lent is a time when we reflect on ourselves –our sinfulness and our need for repentance, our need to be rescued and reconciled to God.

But remember, the ashes are put on your forehead in the shape of the cross. It is by Jesus’ death on the cross, and his resurrection from death that our broken relationship with God is restored.  “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  (II Corinthians 5:21)  Or put in other words:  “Christ never did anything wrong, but God put our wrong on Christ so that we could be put right with God.” (from The Message Bible translation) 

This is the good news! By Jesus’ work on the cross, God takes the dust that we are made of and gives it life!  He takes the death that we are marked with, and instead, offers us eternal life!

We see here that two things have happened through the cross.  God has taken our sin, our rebellion, and put it on Christ, the One who had no sin.  And he has taken Christ’s righteousness and put it on us.  Easter is about the great exchange.  Our sin was poured into Christ at his crucifixion, and his righteousness is poured into us when we receive him by faith.  When we respond to his offer, when we receive his offer of life, we are given a new identity.   We are made right with God.  We are restored to his family.

So Lent is really a time to focus on what Jesus has done for us.  Nothing we give up, no amount of regret or sorrow, no amount of being good or doing better or trying harder or punishing ourselves will ever restore us to God.  We are reconciled to God by believing and receiving what he has done.  If we truly embrace what he offers us by the cross, the way we think, the way we live, our way of being will begin to change.  

Because, you see, God’s work of reconciling us to himself is also also an ongoing work.  It’s a relationship, after all, and relationships grow as we trust the other with more of our true selves.  

Maybe Lent is a good time to talk to God about where we are in our relationship with him.   If you’re not sure you have been reconciled to God, I encourage you to receive the ashes as an act of faith -- to repent and receive his reconciling work for you this very day.

Or you may be so aware of your sinfulness that it is hard to see God’s love.  Receive the ashes as his promise to you that you have been received as his beloved child.  Look into his face and receive what he has done for you.  Then let him begin to renew you.

For all of us, this receiving of ashes can be a welcoming of his ongoing work in our lives.  All of us are in need of letting go those things that keep us from fully living in our identity as His reconciled children. 

Let’s each of us ask God to show us how to live in this new identity – no longer marked by death, but by life.   Let’s ask him where he wants to do a deeper work in our lives.   Maybe that will mean giving up something.  Or maybe it will mean taking up something life-giving.  Ask him to show you what that might be.    Let’s take a few minutes of quiet as we listen to what he may be speaking to each of us.



            The nine lessons and carols service from King’s College Cambridge is listened to by millions of people all over the world. It is one of England’s most distinctive and successful religious exports! For me, the service has especial resonance, because this was the college where I studied as an undergraduate and so the distinctive sound of the treble voices and fulsome reed organ stops brings back happy memories of student life.

Eric Milner-White introduced the nine lessons and carol service in 1918. He had been appointed as Dean of King’s at the age of 34. He developed the carol service because his experience as an army chaplain during the war had convinced him that the Church of England needed to introduce more imaginative worship. The nine lessons and carols format quickly became popular (indeed – how quickly do innovations become ‘traditions’!) and is today widely copied and imitated. In our European chaplaincies ‘the carol service’ is now one of the best loved services in the whole year and delighted in by people of many different nationalities.

The beauty of our Christmas music has the ability to touch and soften the hearts of those who would not respond to a more prosaic declaration of Christian truth. But offering a delightful aesthetic experience is not enough. We long that people would encounter God! And if Milner-White were alive today, I am sure he would again be urging us always to be vigilant to the need imaginatively to portray the extraordinary story of the birth of the Saviour in a way that would impress upon its sceptical 21st century hearers the incomparable meekness and majesty, suffering and glory of the first Christmas.    

We need again to feel the shocking reality of God becoming incarnate in conditions of extreme vulnerability and deprivation. For, as the evangelists tell us, God’s Son was born in a feeding trough far from home as the first child of an unmarried, and presumably very scared young mother. From his birth he was hunted down by a mad and bad tyrant. Whilst still small, he and his parents were forced to migrate into neighbouring Egypt where I suppose they lived as refugees. I always find it striking that in Matthew’s account of Christmas, the first half of chapter 2 which relates the adoration of new-born King by the magi, is counter-balanced by the second half which graphically relates the attempts by the hostile powers of his day to end this would be King’s young life before it has scarcely begun.  

2014 has been marked for many of us by commemorations of the outbreak of World War 1. It may be significant that Milner-White composed his carol service after war-time service both in Italy and on the Western Front. He certainly knew how to reclaim beauty from brokenness.

In our own time, we are massively aware of the tragedy of war. It is reckoned that about 14 million people have been displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. In Lebanon, one in four of the population is now a refugee. We Christians, whose Saviour began life as a refugee, have particular responsibilities to do what we can to help and to urge our governments to act together to provide aid. And we pray earnestly for those many men, women and children who face a winter without adequate food or shelter.  

It is in this sobering international context that this Christmas we celebrate in word and in song the great and wonderful mystery of the incarnation, the enfleshment, of God’s Son.

I am very aware that the Christmas season puts particular opportunities and pressures in the way of our chaplaincies. We are typically receiving lots of visitors who don’t normally darken the doors of our churches. At the same time, many regular church members are away at Christmas itself, visiting family or friends. So those that remain have to work especially hard to keep everything running and to provide a cheerful welcome. Whether we have the resources of a great church or cathedral or something far more modest, it is the authenticity of what we do and the warmth of our welcome that makes the biggest impact. So to all those who sustain and enable our worship over Christmas I give my warm and sincere thanks: to our clergy, lay readers and leaders, musicians, welcomers, wardens, caterers and cleaners. 

And may the God whose message of peace was sung by the angels to herald the birth of his Son, bring his peace to our hearts, our homes, our families and our world over this Christmas time.

            +Robert Gibraltar in Europe    

Bishop David’s Easter Message 2014

Bishop David’s Easter Message 2014

On 17 March there was an unprecedented announcement from the Vatican and the Anglican Centre in Rome. For the first time ever, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and the Sunni Muslim Community (represented by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar in Cairo) have joined efforts in a project of "practical and spiritual action” to combat the modern slavery of human trafficking. Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby, when they first met last June, shared a vision to build a world-wide movement to eradicate this injustice which enslaves and affects over 27 million people who are forced into labour, sexual exploitation and even into being sources of human organs. The initiative is called the Global Freedom Network.

The Passion of our Lord which we read in Holy Week presents a world filled with so many forms of slavery. There is the slavery of money – thirty pieces of silver were able to corrupt and "buy" Judas' treachery. The slavery of injustice is seen in the weakness of Pontius Pilate, who knew Jesus was innocent but chose not to defend him. The slavery of brutal and gratuitous violence is seen in the scourging and torture of Christ at the hands of the soldiers. And then there is the slavery of hopelessness seen in the utter despair of the disciples at the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus.

Easter celebrates God's action to deliver us out of slavery to freedom, freedom from sin and all that holds us back from being the people that God created us to be. On the night of the Great Vigil of Easter worshippers gather in darkness, the hopeless darkness that descended upon the world on the first Good Friday. The Paschal candle is lit from a new fire and the light of Christ is spread from person to person, eventually filling the church with joyful brightness, and we proclaim "Christ is Risen!"  The ancient song of Easter Eve, the Exultet resounds, “This is the night when Jesus Christ vanquished hell, broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave. This is the night when all who believe in him are freed from sin, restored to grace and holiness and share the victory of Christ”.

Our Resurrection faith declares that all the darkness around us, and even the darkness of sin within us, has been overcome by the Risen Christ. Thus our Resurrection witness is about working for all that sets people free from every kind of slavery. The Global Freedom Network is but one such effort. As Easter people it is our calling to proclaim forgiveness from sin. As Easter people we offer love, compassion and justice where hatred, pain and injustice persist. As Easter people we stand for the dignity and worth of every human being. This is a powerful message of Good News which the world needs and to which we can witness boldly, as we know that we ourselves are born again to new life in the Risen Christ.

May the deep joy which comes from the liberation of Easter fill our lives and enliven our communities, for

Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!


The Suffragan Bishop

The Right Reverend David Hamid

Sermon, December 8, 2013

Christ Church Kyiv

Sermon, December 8, 2013


Isaiah 11:1-10      Psalm 72      Romans 15:4-13    Matthew 3:1-12



A forest fire is a frightening thing.  You may remember the fires in the summer of 2003 in Siberia.   Satellites taking pictures of the earth found 157 fires burning at the same time.  These fires covered 110,000 square kilometers. That would be an area, a square 331 kilometers on each side – about the size of Bulgaria.  The smoke from the fires darkened the skies over Osaka, Japan, over 4,000 kilometers away.  And soot – dust in the air from the smoke was found in Seattle, Washington.  That is a vast fire.

Around the world, when forests have been destroyed by fires there is a pattern of recovery. This pattern is called “natural succession."  This term describes the stages which the land, plants and animals go through as they return to their original state after they’ve been destroyed.  The cycle of natural succession begins after a fire, or other natural disaster has destroyed an area's plant life.

Destruction followed by regrowth.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse.  There would be a little bright green stem that would come up from a stump.

Just prior to that shoot coming up, a tree had been cut down.  I’m looking at chapter 10 of the book of Isaiah.  This is the chapter that precedes our reading from Isaiah today.

Chapter 10 of Isaiah is the story of Israel’s path toward destruction.  Kings and priests led the nation of Israel into sin nationwide.  They made unjust laws.  The deprived the poor of their rights.  They robbed widows.  The people were proud and had forgotten God’s purposes in their lives in the life of the nation.

And so God would punish Israel for their sin.  And his rod for punishing the people of Israel would be the nation of Assyria.

And Assyria itself was a proud nation.  Assyria saw itself as a world power, and believed in its own strength and its own wisdom.

But God sees the heart.  God knew the pride in the Assyrians.  He would use the nation of Assyria as his rod to punish Israel.  But it was not because the Assyrians were better people.   They weren’t.  And God already knew that he would bring judgment on Assyria for their pride and their arrogance.  The Assyrian empire itself would be conquered, and would disappear from history.

Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it, or the saw boast against the one who uses it?” Isaiah asked.  Assyria proudly believed in their own strength.  Men are always inclined to trust in themselves rather than in God.

But God would use Assyria, and then she would be punished as well.

Israel would be destroyed, Isaiah wrote.  But there would be a remnant.  There would be survivors of the destruction of Israel.  And then God would show his mighty power to his people, the nation of Israel.

“My people, who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you . . .  Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.”

Israel would be punished for their sin, and Assyria would be destroyed for her sin.  The Lord promised to cut down the forests with an ax.  He would cut down Israel and Assyria.

And then, a shoot would come up from the stump of Jesse.  From this terrible and vast destruction, a new small sprout would come up from the stump of a broken tree.  And the sprout here comes from the stump of Jesse – Jesse, the father of David.

God had raised up David as his king.  But then the nation of Israel drifted.  They drifted far, far away from God.  This happens over and over in the Old Testament.

But this sprout came up from the line of Jesse. Then from this sprout came a branch.  And that branch will be the one who will bring justice to the poor.  He will rule over a righteous kingdom with wisdom and understanding.  The spirit of the Lord will be with him.  And the love and mercy of God would be known by all who live on the earth.  The kingdom of God would come.

No one would ever want to be near a forest fire.  No one would want to face the heat, the sting of a burning forest. 

But fire happens.

It is like the truth.  It is there, staring you in the face.

And John the Baptist came.  He was the Isaiah of his day.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

John the Baptist had read Isaiah.  And John knew this was the time that Isaiah had foretold.  “Prepare the way for the Lord,” he said.  Prepare your hearts, turn away from sin, because the kingdom of God is coming.

Isaiah in his day could do nothing but to tell of the future that was coming.  He warned them.  A fire was coming.

And now John can do nothing but tell what God had spoken to him. It was God spoke through John. 

Get ready!  Wrath and destruction are coming.  Turn away from your self-centered life.  Be ready for the kingdom of God.

John the Baptist created quite a sensation.  People came from all over to hear him.  They walked, or rode their donkeys for days and days to come and see him and hear him.  He attracted a lot of attention.

People have been coming to Kyiv from all over Ukraine these past two weeks.  They heard about what is going on, and they cam to Kyiv.  There is something big going on.  And you can’t keep people away.

Somehow people knew that John Baptist was out there preaching and baptizing.  They didn’t have radio and television and news on the internet.  Or on twitter.  And they came. 

When you repent, John said, then produce fruit.  You won’t fool anyone, you won’t fool God, if you say you have repented, and then your life has not changed.  Good fruit must come from your life.  And when you have turned away from yourself, you will escape the fire that is coming.  But if you do not produce good fruit, you will be cut down, and thrown into the fire.

Don’t think you could say to God, I came from a good family.  I came from a Christian nation.  That’s not important, John said.  If you think God will give you a break because of your family, or your nation, you are wrong.

John the Baptist.  They called him that of course because he came baptizing.  In the Old Testament, passing through the water was a symbol of God saving and cleansing a person, or a whole nation.  Noah and his family passed through the water of the flood.  Moses led the children of Israel through the red sea.   And in the book of Leviticus, someone who was spiritually unclean had to take a bath of purification.

The prophet Elisha told king Naaman, who was a leper, to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River.  This healed him from his leprosy.

John baptized people in water.  This was a visible symbol for what someone had already done on the inside.  Someone repented, decided to turn away from their sin, and to live for God and his purposes.

But john announced an even greater baptism.  He told of the one who would come after himself.  He “is more powerful and I.” and john said that he was not even worthy to carry his sandals.

The one who comes after john will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  People would pass through or dip themselves in water after they’d been renewed on the inside, renewed in soul and spirit.  And now, they would be baptized not only symbolically, but they would be baptized in the holy spirit of God.

A baptism into God himself.

And the one who turned himself around, truly turned away from his sin would be baptized with fire.

Hmm.  That is an unusual phrase, baptism of fire.  Again, we see reference to this fire through the old and new testaments.  The priests would offer sacrifices on the altar, and then those sacrifices would be burned.  That was an offering for atonement – atonement being the repairing of the relationship between God and man.  The sacrifice that was burned was completely destroyed by the fire.

And the fire of God shows us the presence of God.  In the burning bush.  And god led the nation of Israel in the desert by a fire.

And of course fire is a symbol of destruction.  Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire.  And God himself is described as a consuming fire.

The baptism by fire will either purify someone spiritually, or destroy them.  The one who will be purified will have his previous life – life apart from God – destroyed.  They will be renewed. 

The one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit is God himself.  And of course john was speaking of the one who would come immediately after him, our lord Jesus Christ. If I will go through the fire, I want to go through with the Holy Spirit living in me, and having complete forgiveness from Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ came to bring the Holy Spirit to the life of every believer.  And he came for many other reasons, too.  In our reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, we read from the New Living Translation that “Christ came as a servant to the Jews[a] to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them.”

He came for many reasons.  One of the reasons he came was so that everyone might see that the promises of the Old Testament would be proved, would be confirmed.

And we see that he came for us so that we might give glory to god, because god has been merciful to us.

The thought of fire is a scary thing.  But we do not need to fear the fire of God.  God is merciful.  He promises to take us through the storms and the fires of life without being harmed.

He came so that we might give glory to god.  When we worship, we give glory to god in our prayers, in our hymns, in our giving, in our reading and studying of God’s word.

Today is the second Sunday of advent.  In our lectionary readings we’ve had a superpower invading the land of God’s chosen people.  There was a tree that was cut down.  There was a man who was dressed in clothes made of camel hair, and who ate locusts and honey.  He came and preached in the rocky desert.  He was preaching “fire and brimstone.”

And we have some of the reasons that Jesus Christ came.  He was born surrounded by farm animals and put in a feeding trough, a wooden box used for feeding animals. 

Yet he was born a king.  He will judge all the people with perfect justice.  He will defend the sick, and the poor; he will crush the oppressor.  He will live as long as the sun, as long as the moon; he lives forever.

There will be a day of fire and destruction.  A fire even bigger than that fire that covered a forest the size of Bulgaria.

And Solomon wrote, he will be like rain falling on a field, like showers watering the earth. 

“In his days,” Solomon wrote of this king, “In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.  18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.  19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory.

Amen and Amen. 

Sermon, Dennis Bowen


Briefing Note for Parishes - Dec 2013

Briefing Note for Parishes - Dec 2013

Diocese in Europe Clergy, Readers, Church Secretaries and Churchwardens

To: Diocese in  Europe Clergy, Readers, Church Secretaries and Churchwardens

From: Mission & Public Affairs chair, Diocese in Europe

Re: Centenary of the First World War

Date: Epiphany 2014 

As we enter 2014, we approach the Centenary of WW1 1914-1918.   Serving as Christians in Continental Europe gives us a special opportunity and indeed, a deep responsibility, to engage as a Diocese (and especially locally and ecumenically) in marking this important centenary.  Prayerfully, thoughtfully, and with a clear focus on reconciliation and peace building.

At our Diocesan Synod in June at Cologne, I presented a series of questions to fellow Synod members which led in to lively group discussions:                                                                                     

    A hundred years on, what does the First World War mean for:

- humanity’s self-understanding?

- Europe and its place in the world?

- our understanding of God?

I enclose a new leaflet from the Church of England with some useful web resources, and which encourages a prayer focus on the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1,Monday 4 August 2014.  On this day there will be a special service at Glasgow Cathedral with Commonwealth Leaders(1000-1200 UK time) and a ‘Memorial Event’ at St Symphorien Mons Cemetery (1930 UK time), both with global TV coverage.    I have also recently been to a meeting of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England that is planning special liturgies for the Centenary.   However, all the Church of England material (including this leaflet) so far produced,  is very UK-centric, in my view. 

Please can you help me by sending in your ideas, visions and thoughts for this Centenary, and any local plans or special prayers and liturgies you may be developing.   I will then put these together for an update in The European Anglican and Diocesan website.    I will also feed this information into the mainland Church of England planning group, so that their material can have more of a European perspective and to encourage networking and publicity. 

Please can you send me this by email by the end of January. 

Many thanks,

Jonathan LLoyd



            As one of my last duties as Bishop of the Diocese I write to commend the Bishop’s Advent Appeal to you all. This comes with the endorsement of Bishop David and the Archdeacons and Senior Staff of the Diocese.

            The Diocese has a number of twinning links – with the Diocese of Visby and the Swedish Church Abroad, with the Diocese of Luweero in Uganda (linked particularly with the North-West Archdeaconry) and the Diocese of Peru (linked particularly with the Gibraltar Archdeaconry). Bishop Bill Godfrey of Peru, whom I know well, has visited the Gibraltar Archdeaconry Synod on a number of occasions, and this year’s Advent Appeal is for a project in his Diocese. It is focussed on the San Mateo Mission and School on the edge of a shanty town on the north-east of Lima. As you will see from the attached information this is a clearly practical project which will make a real and significant difference in a place of real need, and assist the educational and spiritual development of children. I need not say how important this is as part of Christian witness and service. As we prepare for Christmas, and remember with awe and wonder the love of God shown in his coming among us in the fragility and poverty of the child born in a cow-byre at Bethlehem, I commend this project to you for your support this Advent. Please give generously, and find imaginative ways of raising money for this.

With every blessing,


November, 2013

December 2013, Kyiv, Ukraine

Dear Friends,

Christ Church, Anglican, wishes to invite you to our traditional Christmas service of lessons and carols.

The format is simple. The Community Choir leads us in traditional, well-known Chrismas carols, accompanied with organ music. Interspersed between the carols are Bible readings that tell the nativity story: the angel’s visit to the virgin, the wise men, and the birth. The service ends with a very short sermon, after which we share mulled wine and ginger bread in the Christmas spirit.

Please come and join us at 6 PM on Sunday, December 8th, in St. Katherina’s German Lutheran Church at 22 Luteranska st., Kiev


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