French Connections

Les grandes vacances in August are underway!  We look back here at some highlights so far this year on a whistle-stop 'tour de France' with a selection of news and updates from around the Archdeaconry.


A walk across Pas-de-Calais …  and beyond!

Pulling on their walking shoes and pledging to walk a number of kilometres during the season of Lent, Pas-de-Calais churches joined together for a virtual pilgrimage. Raising money for Restos du Coeur, Calais Lifeboats and l'Arche as well as the Bishop's Lent Appeal. 

Their total number of kilometres meant they were able to walk from Hesdin to Calais via Boulogne, cross the Channel to Worthing to ‘pick up’ a walker, cross back, stop in Brussels for a coffee with Bishop Robert, continue on to Liège to meet the new Chaplain Guy Diakese and pastoral assistant Ruth Nivelle and then have tea and virtual biscuits with the Area Dean, Debbie Flach, in Lille.

Find out more:


…  a Joint Declaration on refugees in Northern France

Ahead of World Refugee Day 2021 on 20 June Bishop Robert co-signed a Joint Statement made by Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops from Dioceses on both sides of the English Channel. In which, they express concern about the situation in Northern France and urge a “climate of welcome and understanding”, as well as those “who gather in places of worship along the frontiers of European states to pray and gather information to support pleas for better treatment of all vulnerable men, women and children”.

This Anglican and Roman Catholic group of Bishops represent the Anglican Dioceses of Canterbury and Europe, and on the Roman Catholic side, the Archbishops of Southwark and Lille, the Bishop of Arras, Boulogne & Saint-Omer, and the Bishop of Bruges.

A licensing service in Paris

Grateful for the new EU Covid-19 passport for travel, Bishop Robert licensed Dr. Jeffrey John to his new ministry at St. George’s, Paris on 20 June.

A Sunday lunch visitor in Pau

Moving from Paris to Pau chaplaincy in south-west France ...  As Pandemic restrictions begin to ease, the congregation at Mazères, 65700 on Sunday held their first after service BBQ lunch on 11 July.  They were joined for the meal by Mgr. Brouwet, the Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes (on the left of picture). He was amazed as he visited the historic 12th / 13th century St Jean-Baptiste church in Mazères (pictured), and thanked the congregation for bringing it to his attention and using it for worship again.



Celebrations in Cannes for Bastille Day

Fireworks, festivals and friends: July 14 marks the national day of France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris during the French revolution. In 2021, with restrictions in place, the normal fêtes and celebrations on Bastille Day were unable to take place as normal.  At Holy Trinity Cannes, they marked the day in their Compline for that evening. You can watch the live stream here:

The Cannes Film Festival was in full flow over the National Day of France, those who were in Cannes and living nearby were able to enjoy the spectacular firework display launched from rafts in the Bay of Cannes.

Photo: Steven Sossouhounto on Unsplash

Prayers for Nice

There were prayers offered across France for those affected by the terror attack in Nice on 14 July 2016.  

A new priest in Marseille

On 4 July, The Revd Roxana Teleman was ordained priest by Bishop David at a service held at All Saints’, Milan. Roxana will continue to serve as curate at All Saints’, Marseille. In an interview with European Anglicans magazine, Roxana said she feels particularly called to nurturing the spirituality of young people and children, as well as reaching refugee and migrant communities.

New French residency permits

The Diocese in Europe UK Nationals Residency Support Project has provided wide and well-received support in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, and across the regions of France.  The Project team have now supported over 6400 enquiries across its online and call Helpline services, as well as through in person visits to the elderly and vulnerable to help them apply for the new French Residency permit under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.  The deadline for applications was 30 June, but applications may be permitted up to 30 September.  If you’re a UK National who hasn’t yet applied, or know someone who needs support to do so, you can get in touch with our Project Team who are ready to help.  Please do not delay. For information and contact details visit:


A (virtual) meeting for Church Officers in the Archdeaconry:

Archdeacon Peter Hooper tells us about this Archdeaconry-wide event: 

On the evening of 1 July, forty-two Church Wardens, Associated Clergy, Chaplains and PTO holders gathered over Zoom for their first Chaplaincy Wardens Online Meeting.

The Zoom medium allowed for some scene setting and introduction to the defined role of Wardens as set out in the Church of England Canon. A rather weighty set of responsibilities, however with the opportunity to create ‘break-out rooms’, six smaller sub-groups then had the opportunity to reflect on how the warden’s role in France related to the guidance for the role in an English Parish!

A short plenary section highlighted differences such as responsibility for the Chaplain’s accommodation, challenges of following both Church Rules and French Law, and the frequent request to lead worship in the absence of the Chaplain. A further break-out time was then used to reflect on what additional support or training would be helpful to the wardens in fulfilling their duties.

In the subsequent plenary, ideas around training in conflict resolution, handling vacancies and French Law were suggested, these being examples of a very comprehensive list that will be further actioned by the Archdeaconry Standing Committee.

It is hoped that a rolling yearly programme of training / supportive events can be organised. The evening finished with an opportunity for those elected wardens who hadn’t had a chance to make their Declaration of Office to do so, and then for all the Wardens present to affirm their commitment to the role. It was a very successful meeting, one that will definitely be repeated in the future.”


For more information on the Archdeaconry and links to its chaplaincies visit:


Story: Damian Thwaites, Jamie Ellis

Graphic: Amber Jackson