15 May 2018

New Chaplain for Luxembourg

Photo courtesy of Geoff Thompson

The Anglican Church of Luxembourg recently welcomed a new Chaplain, the Reverend Geoffrey Read, on 5th May. Bishop Robert presided at the licensing service, and was joined by many other participating clergy including: Abbé Jean Ehret, Director of the Luxembourg School of Religion and Society, Panagiotis Moschonas, Episcopal Vicar of the Orthodox Church in Luxembourg, the Venerable Paul Vrolijk, Anglican Archdeacon of North-West Europe, the Venerable Annette Cooper, Anglican Archdeacon of Colchester, and many others from churches in Luxembourg, Britain, Belgium and Switzerland.

Paul Lesch, Chamberlain in service to HRH the Grand Duke, represented the grand-ducal House; the Irish Ambassador and US Deputy Chief of Mission were among many representatives of civil society in Luxembourg, joining about 80 members of Geoff's regular Sunday congregation.

The service took the form of a Eucharist, preceded by a ceremony at which the Churchwardens who had, with the Bishop and Archdeacon, conducted the recruitment process, presented the new Chaplain and asked the Bishop to institute him. The Chaplain made solemn promises in connection with the work he was called to do, and then nine representatives of the congregation or local community came forward to offer him symbols of ministry – such as water for baptism, bread, wine, a Bible, a lighted candle.

In his address, Bishop Robert referred to the Gospel passage in which Jesus describes his followers as branches of a vine and compared Geoff's work to that of a careful winegrower with his vines – looking after his congregation, keeping them safe and nurturing them so that they will be fruitful.

After the celebration of the Eucharist, several people came forward with messages of welcome and good wishes for Geoff's future career. He received greetings from the congregations in Essex (UK) and Basel, where he worked before coming to Luxembourg, and from Abbé Jean Ehret, Revd Paul McMinimy of All Nations Church, Rabbi Alexander Grodensky of Luxembourg's liberal Jewish community in Esch-sur-Alzette, Eric Risch, Secretary of the Shoura Assembly of the Muslim community, and Kristi Roberts representing the American Embassy.

Geoff has been in Luxembourg since early March and has had a busy start to his work here, taking Holy Week and Easter services and chairing the AGM as well as getting to know his parishioners and the many weekday activities the Anglican Church runs. Geoff is British; he studied law at Bristol University and theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. After ordination and work in the Guildford Diocese (UK) he was Chaplain of Freiburg-in-Breisgau in Germany from 1998 to 2000 and Chaplain of Basel in Switzerland from 1998 to 2013. From 2013 to 2018 he worked in the Diocese of Chelmsford in England with responsibility for clergy development.

He is married to Marie-Louise, who comes from Bitburg in Germany. They met in Bristol and married in the Konvikt Chapel, Luxembourg, in 1985. They have two daughters and are enjoying being back on the Continent. Geoff’s areas of interest include clergy development and wellbeing, clergy consultancy, coaching and review and working collaboratively in local church mission and ministry.