On Friday, 9 April, Buckingham Palace announced the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. We join with people around the world in mourning his loss.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no books of condolence in the UK or overseas. Members of the public wishing to express their condolences may do so here – www.royal.uk.
Prince Philip, who was born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921, was named Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church. He became a member of the Church of England in 1947, renouncing his membership of the Greek Orthodox Church and his Greek and Danish royal titles on his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, who was to become Queen on the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.
The Archhbishop of Canterbury celebrated and preached at a Eucharist and Service of Remembrance for The Duke of Edinburgh at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday, 11 April. A recording of the service can be found on the cathedral website.
BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sunday’ programme on 11 April 2021 devoted segments to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Christian faith and how it informed his views on the environment. You can find it on the BBC Sounds website or the BBC Sounds app.
17 February marks the beginning of Lent. We are not having our own service, but there are two opportunities to join other services online:
Our sister church in Berlin, St George’s, has invited us to join them for their streamed Ash Wednesday service.
The service will be livestreamed at 19:30 CET (on Facebook and available later via YouTube).
The Diocese in Europe Service of Evening Prayer is also at 19:30 CET.
Rev’d Sam Van Leer (Acting Archdeacon of NW Europe) will lead the service. Bishop Robert is the preacher. The liturgy includes an invitation to light three candles at the start of the service and extinguish them at certain moments during the service.
You can watch the service being livestreamed on the diocesan YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/S79rMG_zEWA
Mark’s group will continue to look at some saints, this time saints who are ‘linked’ to Germany, not necessarily German saints, and not necessarily canonised, but who are celebrated on festival days in the Church of England. He would like to share with you a basic biography of a few of these personalities, namely: Alcuin, St Elizabeth of Hungary, Tyndale and Margery Kempe. After each talk, there is a chance to share views of these theological figures, as well as to meditate and draw lessons from their example in our own lives. The sessions are about an hour long. These Lent talks and thoughts will be on Tuesdays (23 February, 2 March, 9 March and 16 March at 7pm via Zoom). Please email Father Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and he will send you a Zoom invitation.
Issue 77 of our parish mag, Becket News, is out. It’s turned out to be a bumper issue with a distinctly Christmassy theme that somehow suits the dusting of snow many of us have received this week. There are plenty of other subjects covered, too, such as safeguarding, racial diversity, the Church Recording Project and, of course, our new Chaplain designate.
Our Archdeacon, Ven Dr Leslie Nathaniel, has written us a pastoral letter encouraging us to persevere through the Covid-19 pandemic, moving forward with confidence towards Easter. You can read the full text here.
Why are we making such a fuss about a virus? Surely we don’t really need to close the church!
Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease that in severe cases causes acute breathing problems and even death. Although older people, especially those with existing medical conditions, are most at risk, Covid can hit younger people badly, too. Not everyone with the virus develops symptoms, but they can still infect other people without realising it. If we’re not careful, a church service could become a way of passing the virus on to lots of people. It’s up to us to do all we can to keep others safe, and so that’s why the church is closed at the moment.
Some people don’t believe Covid-19 is that serious, comparing it to seasonal flu, and there’s a lot of misinformation and conspiracy theories on the Internet. If someone asks you for a source of reliable information about the virus, you could recommend the public health information from Hamburg’s health ministry (in English). If they’re interested in learning about the science, you can refer them to insidecorona.net, a website operated by the University of Hamburg’s Coronavirus Structural Taskforce.
In view of new, tighter restrictions on church services, the churchwardens have taken the decision to extend the closure of the church until at least 14 February 2021.
The text of the 19 January desicions of the Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz (in German) can be found here.
In view of the rising Covid-19 case numbers and the new restrictions in Hamburg and elsewhere, the churchwardens have taken the decision reluctantly to close the church with immediate effect until at least the end of January. Even though churches have not been instructed to close, it is up to us to do all we can to keep people safe, and so we believe that closing the church is the only reasonable and rational thing to do.
Even though we cannot now meet physically, there are other opportunities to gather virtually. A group meets for compline or evening prayer every Saturday at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If you would like to be sent the weekly link, please email Yotin and Arwen at music (at) anglican-church-hamburg.de and ask to be added to the list. There are also online resources – for instance, Canterbury Cathedral broadcasts the daily offices and Sunday services on its YouTube channel. Please see the Covid19-update page on this website for further information.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, reflects on the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket in this video on Canterbury Cathedral’s YouTube channel. On 29 December 1170, Justin Welby’s predecessor as Archbishop of Canterbury was killed during vespers in the cathedral by four knights, possibly sent by the king. His shrine became one of the greatest European sites of pilgrimage.
“Christmas will be simpler this year. And for many it will be sadder,” writes our Bishop, The Right Reverend Dr Robert Innes, in his Christmas Message 2020. He continues, a “well-known … carol speaks to us about ‘tidings of comfort and joy’. In 2020 we need to hear these tidings. For Christmas is at heart the story of a God who draws near to us in Jesus, sharing the sorrows and joys of human experience … He is ‘Immanuel’ – the God who is with us.” You can read his message in full here.