Chaplain Writes

Anglican Church Twente


St.Mary's of Weldam

Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Europe

The next limited public service will be on July 26th, 10:30 hrs . . . . . limited space still available . . . . If you want to attend a service please pre-book with Jeanet Luiten (see contact page) . . . . Sunday Services in the English Language - Weldam Chapel - 10:30 hrs are also available as a video / audo recording later on the day . . . .

The Chaplain writes

Dear Friends,
I suspect that many of you will have read of the final report by the outgoing UN
special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, who retired a
short while ago. In truth, he asserts, despite much talk over recent years of
imminent eradication of poverty, the goal being by 2030, the path chosen by the
World Bank and influential governments will only exacerbate the problem. He
criticises, for example, the World Bank
’s key measure of an income of around 1euro
70 a day as the international poverty line as by no means adequate. The consequences
of what he describes as
“this highly unrealistic picture of progress against poverty”,
is clearly nothing less than devastating.
At the heart of the problem, as Alston presents it, is an agenda of supporting the
growth of financial power of the wealthy as the best road to poverty alleviation.
This, through pro
-growth deregulation, privatisation, lower taxation of the wealthy,
including corporate taxes, easy cross border movement of money, and favourable
legal protections for capital. In short, it would seem, the social contract has been
totally upended and has,
“redefined the public good as helping the already
[obscenely] rich get richer”.
I think, for most of us, we ask,
“Yes, but what can
I do about it?”. We are filled with
despair and heartache as we remember the all too familiar images of utter and
wretched destitution by which our senses are daily assailed in the media. Despair is,
however, not an option for us as individuals or as the Church. So, what can we do?
We cannot all become activists or orators or throw vast amounts of money or
resources to the cause, (while some of us could and, perhaps, should). We can,
though, live up to our calling as faithful followers of Christ. As such, we must be
rooted in being before doing. St. Thomas Aquinas gives us a helpful maxim in
this: agere sequitur esse (action flows from being), which means what we do flows
from who we are. When we know Christ intimately and love him, we learn what it
means, in solidarity with him, to be honest and truthful about what we see going on in
our own lives, and in all that surrounds us, for the sake of ourselves and of others.
It is, I suppose, a kind of arrogance that leads us to say,
“Jesus, this is what
I would
like to do for you.” Perhaps, in the spirit of St. Paul, we should say,
“Lord, what
would you have me do?” (Acts 22:10). This subtle shift of paradigm is, perhaps, key
to our genuine response. When we possess a more appropriate personal attitude, I
think we might find ourselves more effective in making a real and significant
difference. ‘The pebble in the pond’ certainly seems apposite, don
’t you agree?
As I said last month, be well, be safe, be inspired, love and be loved, and find
happiness in the untroubled contentment of a generous spirit.
Love, as ever, Brian

Copyright © Brian G Rodford 2020




6 March 2020


To the Clergy of the Diocese


Dear Sisters and Brothers 

We wrote to you at the beginning of February regarding good practice concerning coronavirus and control of infectious diseases in general. We want now to update our advice in the light of changing circumstances over the past month.

The Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:


We have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of our congregations and in the light of medical advice we have received. We preface this advice by re-iterating that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Our advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies. 

  1. We encourage individuals and congregations to follow good hygiene practices, including:
    a.Carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, and binning the tiss
    b. Washing hands with soap and water (for 20 seconds) or using sanitiser to kill germs.

  2. If possible provide hand gel at entrances and ensure there is a good supply of soap or hand gel in cloakrooms and kitchens. In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based sanitiser. Sidespeople/welcomers and those serving refreshments should take similar precautions.

  3. Try to clean hard surfaces such as door handles and communion rails regularly.

  4. The exchange of a gesture of peace prior to sharing Communion is for many, a much-loved moment in the service. However, we recommend that, for the time being, this gesture is restricted to a smile and words of peace to those in closest proximity rather than physical contact (kiss or handshake) with everyone in the church.

  5.  We recommend that communion is distributed in the form of bread/wafer only. Both elements will be consecrated but the wine should not be distributed. Congregations can be reassured that this does not diminish the nature of the Eucharist. It is a clear principle of Anglican theology that the sacrament of Holy Communion is present and complete in either of the consecrated elements. (We are aware that distribution of the elements in one kind only has already been adopted by some chaplaincies.)

  6. We recommend that the use of holy water stoups is discontinued for the time being.

  7. a) In some regions, most notably parts of Italy, the authorities have disallowed religious gatherings. These rulings have to be obeyed. However, in these circumstances we encourage congregations to stay in touch with each other, to look out for older and vulnerable parishioners and to find imaginative ways of sustaining worship. (See, for example, the ‘Virtual Eucharist in Genoa’

  1. b) The Swiss authorities have introduced a regulation requiring members of congregations to ‘sign in’, so that possible spread of the disease can be traced. It is possible that other countries may follow suit, and these regulations must be respected.


Infectious diseases seem to cause higher levels of public anxiety than other threats, perhaps because we can’t see them or sense them. And although social media can satisfy our desire for information they have the capacity to fuel anxiety. Avoiding panic is a key part of responding to coronavirus for all of us in positions of leadership.

This guidance is intended as a prudent response to an unusual challenge. It represents a set of sensible precautions to promote health and wellbeing in the conditions of our diocese.

We will keep in touch with you as the situation develops and plan to write again in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions do contact us or your Archdeacon or our Chief Operating Officer.  We will continue to monitor the situation and guidance closely.  At the same time, our Diocesan website will continue to carry the latest updates from official sources – national governments, WHO and EU – so please keep an eye on this also.

Meanwhile, we pray that our chaplaincies and congregations can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope in times of anxiety. We continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for those who care for them, and for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.

Yours in Christ   

Was signed Robert and David