BISHOP DAVID’S DIOCESE BLOG
BELOW: BISHOP ROBERT’S REPORT ON HIS VISIT TO OUR HARVEST FESTIVAL ON 3 OCTOBER IN PALMA DE MALLORCA.
At this time of the year, churches everywhere are celebrating Harvest Festival. I came to our chaplaincy of St. James and St. Philip Palma, Mallorca to join in their harvest celebrations. The church was beautifully decorated for the festival.
In my sermon I preached on the gospel text: ‘Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink…for is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothing.’ I noted just how much there has been to worry about over the last 18 months – physically, psychologically and economically. I suggested that Harvest Festival reminds us of God’s fatherly care for us. I said that the proper response to this care is an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving. I took, by way of example, the Pilgrim Fathers celebrating their first ‘Thanksgiving’ almost exactly 400 years ago, in October 1621, having survived their first winter in the New World. For us, although life has been hard, and although we are not yet out of the woods – with the island of Mallorca facing a difficult winter ahead – there is still much to celebrate and much for which we should give thanks.
One of the things I particularly like about the building of St. James and St. Philip is this triptych which decorates the inside north wall. To left and right are the chaplaincy’s patron saints, and in the centre is a Madonna with a halo representing all the ethnic groups of humanity.
Looking out on the congregation it seemed to me that the vision of a chaplaincy that would be a place of international and intergenerational welcome was on the way to being fulfilled. This group of worshippers was keen to be photographed together with the bishop.
Churchwardens are key lay leaders in any chaplaincy. They are ‘officers of the bishop’, and we have just published a Guide to what it means to hold this important office in the Diocese in Europe. As bishop, I am very grateful to Nita de Petersen and Shirley Roberts (above) for their care for the Chaplaincy during its recent vacancy and for all they are doing to help the new chaplain and his family settle in.
I was delighted to meet for the first time The Reverend Bill Boyce and his wife Eleanor. They are newly arrived from Belfast in Northern Ireland. Bill is licensed as Assistant Chaplain and has responsibility for the congregation in Puerto Pollença in the north of the island.
And it was a particular pleasure to become acquainted with the new Chaplain of Palma de Mallorca: The Very Revd. Dr. Ishanesu Gusha, formerly Dean of Harare Cathedral. The picture shows Ishanesu, his wife Caroline and two of their three young sons.
Caroline is a trained chef. She not only prepared a delicious meal but also gave me a huge fruit cake that she had baked to say ‘thank you for coming’. Getting this wonderful cake home safely, in the hold of my Ryanair return flight, was a risky process, but I’m glad to say it survived the flight fully intact.
It was a long and complicated process for the chaplaincy to bring this delightful young family to Palma from Zimbabwe. Their arrival promises much in terms of strengthening the intergenerational and international nature of the community.
25 MARCH 2020
The Pope’s invitation to all Christians
|The Annunciation, (unknown), the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.|
Addressing the leaders of all Christian Churches, communities and confessions worldwide, the Pope invites us all, on 25 March at 12 noon in each local time zone, to recite the prayer of all Christians.
“In these days of trial, as humanity trembles at the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, I would propose that all Christians join their voices together to heaven to invoke the Almighty, the All Powerful God, by reciting contemporaneously the prayer that Our Lord Jesus has taught us”.
25 March is the Feast of the Annunciation. Its central focus is the wondrous moment in history when the Eternal Word became flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in short God became one of us. The feast marks the dramatic entrance of the divine into our everyday world, God with us, Emmanuel. As we remember the closeness of God to us – God who took on our very flesh – Pope Francis encourages us in reciting our common prayer to remember the closeness of God to doctors, nurses, health workers, volunteers, the authorities who have to make difficult decisions for our common good, the closeness of God to those who are stricken with this disease and those who are alone.
As the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) suggests, Anglicans see the value of a ministry exercised by the Bishop of Rome as a sign and focus of unity within a reunited Church. We experience this ministry of unity in the call of Pope Francis to all Christians to join together in praying the Lord’s Prayer at this difficult time for people everywhere.
Spread this call to prayer on the Feast of the Annunciation through your networks and social media.
|Annunciation by Nigerian artist Paul Woelfel|