5 Dec 2020

Anglican Chaplain invited to audience with HRH The Grand Duke of Luxembourg


The Revd Geoff Read, Chaplain of the Anglican Church in Luxembourg was invited to an audience with His Royal Highness Grand-Duc Henri (pictured) on 27 November to explain to him the impact of Covid-19 from the church’s perspective.

This meeting was part of an initiative by the Grand-Duc to engage with a wide range of community leaders, including those of cultes conventionnés. In 2015 the Anglican Church became an officially recognised religion within Luxembourg under a new government Convention. Bishop Robert sent greetings to the Grand-Duc in a letter handed over by Geoff, as the Bishop's representative.

Geoff outlined to the Grand-Duc the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on “internationals” in the wider English-speaking community in Luxembourg, for whom distance from family has been made more acute by travel restrictions over a long period. These have included the pain of missing significant family events, including funerals. As in many parts of our Diocese many such people in Luxembourg have not seen family and friends for over a year. They will feel this even more acutely at Christmas, something which the Grand-Duc also shares with many of his family also living in different parts of Europe.

A second area Geoff talked about is the Church’s concern for the emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of children, young people, and families. This plays out in a significant increase in referrals to school psychological services. Geoff also expressed his concern about Junior Church and Youth work. While still possible via Zoom there has been a drop in church attendance by families because of the fatigue felt through juggling work, school and social life online.

But with challenges have also come opportunities to reimagine what mission and ministry can look like for churches. Like many other Church of England churches church life in Luxembourg has become hybrid, moving between face-to-face and online in response to government regulations. The Grand-Duc cares deeply about the spiritual wellbeing of his country and was interested to hear about, for example, the chaplaincy’s best attended Alpha course yet, which is online. This led to a discussion about all that the Church of England has learned in recent decades about engaging with wider society from a marginalised position in society: the Mission Shaped Church report, Fresh Expressions, conscious steps to foster vocation to ordained ministry among younger people, and what is needed to engage with a generation who think in a post-modern way.


Photo: Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue