Friday, August 5, 2016

♫♫…Summertime…♫♫ Part 3

In my final month as a YASC missionary in Rome, I was enormously fortunate to take part in a two-week multi-city tour around several Episcopal and Anglican parishes around Europe. Far from being a pleasure trip, each of the cities I visited is home to congregations with especially strong ministries among refugees or other ministries of import to my budding future in the church. I did, however make a brief detour to Scotland for the wedding of one of my closest friends, the Rev. Sarah Dunn to the Rev. Nathan Syer!

"Everyone deserves, not only to survive
but to LIVE"
The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe hosted its annual convention in October at its cathedral in Paris, and I was blessed to be in attendance. Dozens of Episcopal/Anglican laypeople and clergy from across the continent gladly shared hours of information with me about the diverse contexts and ministries they serve in their very different countries. Likewise I was honored to tell them about the Young Adult Service Corps and about my ministry in Rome. At the convention, the sole resolution was to work together more closely an intentionally in support of the diocesan ministries among refugees.

Christ the King, Frankfurt
The most direct-reaching Episcopal ministries among refugees are through ours in Rome, Munich and Waterloo Belgium, closely followed by Frankfurt and others. In July I was fortunate to visit each of the other three cities. There I learned about how our Munich parish invites refugee families to church, not for conversion but for fellowship and community. This remarkable outreach method was recently chronicled by a wonderful report in Episcopal News Service. I have been fortunate to discuss this amazing ministry with their rector, (Fellow Yale Divinity alum) Fr. Christopher Smith on a number of occasions. 

All Saints, Waterloo Belgium
Christ the King in Frankfurt passionately donates money, supplies and volunteers to aid nearby refugee centers as well. Although their parish sits in a part of Germany that has a somewhat smaller refugee population, the parish has taken an active role to support migrants in the largest financial industry capital in Europe. I am fortunate to be a friend of their excellent rector, Fr. John Perris and several of their parishioners visited St. Paul's for our Youth Across Europe convention in May. Very special thanks to Christoph Herpel and especially the Richter family for hosting me in their home while I visited their lovely city!

Conversation & Belgian waffles with Rev. Sunny!
Parishioners in Waterloo Belgium (just outside Brussels & the site of Napoleon's Battle of Waterloo) distribute clothing, supplies and hot meals each week at the city's train station. This program, also chronicled by Episcopal News Service, announced a wonderful grant from Episcopal Relief and Development on the very Sunday when I visited! Many thanks to the Rev. Sunny Halanan and parishioner Felicity Handford for hosting me, showing me around town and telling me all about this growing ministry.

Over the years, I am fortunate to have made many friends from seminary and elsewhere who are now Anglican clergy in England. As I personally progress through the ordination process in the United States, it is fundamentally important to me to learn in depth about the Church of England, as it is essentially the “Mother Church” and the ecclesiastical center spoke of the worldwide Anglican Communion circle. 

With my friend Rev. Seb Harries
Through some of these friendship connections, I was also able to visit a number of congregations in the city, suburbs and exurbs of London, getting to know much about ministry in England, which is often very different from the United States and mainland Europe. Except in the most urban areas, ministry in England is less oriented toward direct mission among refugees and is more spread among a number of pastoral and spiritual ministries in each particular context. As young clergy, they told me all about their first years in ordained life, and in particular the challenges and surprises therein.

My friend Rev. Rebecca Lloyd's
parish in the London suburbs.
As I follow down the same path on American shores, it is a real blessing to get to form and strengthen these strong bonds with partner ministers and ministries in so many different parts of Western Europe. It is so special to see the work of God and the love of Jesus Christ embodied in so many willing hands and hearts across the vast expanse of so many cities and countries. I can’t wait to see how God will continue to manifest in all of these diverse congregations and so many others across Europe, America and across the globe.

No comments:

Post a Comment