THE DICOCESAN EUROPEAN ECUMENICAL COMMITTEE
The ecumenical committee exists to build links between our diocese and our European neighbours at a parish and diocesan level. Our work involves developing existing and new links between parishes, facilitating formal and informal visits between parishes and diocesan representatives, participating in and organising conferences overseas, informing the wider Diocese of events taking place in our European partner churches and praying for a growing unity between Chichester and our European neighbours.
Bishop Eric Kemp founded the DEEC to forge and promote active ecumenical church links between the Chichester diocese and our European neighbours. A committee of about a dozen members, including Bishop Geoffrey Rowell (former Bishop of Europe) as chair, meets regularly to fulfil Bishop Eric's vision. In the recent past, our remit has expanded to look after the links that exist with the Syrian Orthodox church.
Individual visits - We encourage lay and ordained Christians across Europe to learn from and work with each other by regular face-to-face contact - especially musical and theological exchanges. Organists, choirs and theological students have visited, studied and performed in each other’s churches and countries and still do so regularly. The Committee oversees an annual budget to help fund essential travel to European countries and accommodate official visitors to the Diocese.
Official Links - Alongside a very strong link with Germany as reflected in the biennial Coburg conference (see below), Chichester’s civic twinning with Chartres in France is reflected in very warm relations between the two Cathedrals. We also now have links with Syriac monasteries in the Mardin and Tur Abdin area and the Community of the Will of God, at Crawley Down.
Parish twinnings - Alongside the more formal links at a Diocesan level, the DEEC also encourages various European links at a parish level. Please get in touch if you would like the committee’s help in establishing such a link. There are a number of very active links working together in a variety of ways and the related resources panel carries details of some of the activities in our parishes here and overseas.
The first ecumenical conference held in Chichester in 1984 to celebrate Bishop George Bell proved so valuable that the regular ‘Coburg conferences’ were born. Held every other year, delegates from the Diocese of Chichester, the Evangelical Kirchenkreis Bayreuth, the Lutheran church in Berlin-Brandenburg, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bamberg meet for discussions, lectures and workshops on a variety of topics and current issues. It is an opportunity to share and solve problems together and exchange news of parish links. A very strong bond of support, fellowship and understanding has developed. There are resources relating to Coburg available in the related resources side panel of this page.
The committee also supports the Feuerstein conference - a week of study attended by theological students and newly ordained clergy from Chichester, Bayreuth and Bamberg as well as sponsoring a delegate to attend a study course in Josefstal, Bavaria every year.
Want to find out more?
Various items of news from the diocese and our European neighbours can be found on the related resources tab of this page.
Get in touch
Committee chair – Rt Reverend Mark Sowerby firstname.lastname@example.org