Bishop Robert: "The mission of the Church across our diocese is to serve the peoples of Europe"


Bishop Robert has reaffirmed our Diocesan mission to serve the peoples of Europe, as the UK leaves the EU.

Speaking in an interview published in this week’s Church Times, the Bishop commented:

“I was delighted to go along to an event hosted by the Mayor of Brussels on the eve of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The love and warmth towards the UK at the event were plain for all to see. The EU and its member states regret deeply this UK decision. So do I."  At the same time, the Bishop added he believed that “we now need to move on from these recent years of division and discord.”

Looking ahead, Bishop Robert said:

“The mission of the Church across our diocese is to serve the peoples of Europe, as we have been doing for over 400 years. As Anglicans in Europe, we will use voice, influence, and social action across our 300 congregations wherever we can, amongst those who need our support and care.”

The Bishop spoke of the mission of the Diocese in Europe across age groups and boundaries. He stressed commitment to helping the elderly in our communities who wish to remain living in the EU to do so after Brexit, and to supporting the continuing provision of opportunity for young people from the UK to live in and experience the rest of Europe, culturally and educationally.

Bishop Robert also told Church Times:

“Our voice will be heard in defending the rights and dignity of those on the margins of society and shaping our communities as places of welcome across Europe, especially for refugees and migrants fleeing the destruction of their lives and persecution”.  He also committed that “in our mission and engagement across European institutions, we will combat racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in all their forms.”

Bishop Robert stressed the importance of our ecumenical relationships across the Diocese in Europe, saying “in all of these areas, we will join in common cause with our brothers and sisters in European Churches at all levels and make our voice heard across the EU, and by the UK Government, as it seeks to negotiate a new phase of partnership with the EU beyond 2020." 

Bishop Robert described post-Brexit challenges ahead for Europe as “huge and unprecedented"; and that "they go to the heart of how we sustain enduring future relationships rooted in the peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations that are our Christian calling.” 

Brexit day

Brexit day on 31 January was marked by services and events in the Diocese, as over 45 years of UK membership of the EU came to an end.

In Brussels, a service was held at the Chapel for Europe (pictured):

Sarah-Jane King, who helped to organize and lead the service told us:

“It was packed out. People queued to get in and were standing at the back and on stairs. We had people from Holy Trinity, Brussels and St Paul’s, Tervuren and other churches, but many attending were non-churchgoers which was wonderful. People really engaged and feedback from messages and conversations afterwards was that they found it meaningful and helpful, the mood and tone were just right: God with us.”  

The service was covered by a range of UK, European and international media, including Sky News, Los Angeles Times, Austrian, Danish, and Italian media. 

In its main Brexit piece on 1 February, the Financial Times reported:   

“In the EU quarter of Brussels, officials and their friends and family were among those gathering for a service commemorating Brexit day at the Chapel for Europe. Attendees at the packed church described an emotional service, with some worshippers breaking down in tears, as they offered prayers for a continued spirit of co-operation and harmony between the EU and the UK.”

In Luxembourg, meanwhile, Chaplain, The Revd Geoff Read and friends at the Anglican Church of Luxembourg (pictured below) co-organised an event with BRILL (British Residents Living in Luxembourg), the international English-speaking Roman Catholic community, Pulse of Europe, and Europa-Union Lux.

The city centre Roman Catholic Church was open during the day with a message board, and candles to light.   In the evening, there was a 90-minute Brexit Vigil between 2230-midnight in a reflective event attended by 150-200 people of all nationalities, including the UK Ambassador.

Short reflections were offered on three questions:

-While Britain has been part of the EU I have valued ...

-Now Britain is leaving I feel ...

-Now Britain is leaving I hope ...

There were two minutes' silence at 23:58, the tolling of the church bell, singing of Auld Lang Syne accompanied by a bagpiper, and a Coupe d'Amitié.

RTL news Luxembourg followed the event:



Photos are reproduced with grateful thanks to Sarah-Jane King and The Revd Geoff Read.