Ordination of Charlotte Sullivan on Saturday 17th March 2018 (including photo album link)

Saturday – Ordination Service

We had a glorious Ordination Service last Saturday in Bordeaux when Charlotte Sullivan was ordained by the Rt. Revd. Robert Innes. Charlotte will now be resident in Bordeaux as part of the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine Ministry Team.

Below is an excerpt from Bishop Robert’s blog:

An ordination is always a special event. For the weekend of 17th/18th March, Helen and I took the train to Bordeaux for the ordination of Charlotte Sullivan on the Saturday and a confirmation service in Bertric-Burée on the Sunday. We travelled on one of the new Euroduplex ‘InOui’ branded trains that cover the 528km between Paris and Bordeaux in just two hours, and the train arrived on time, to the minute.

A further half hour train ride to Libourne, then an hour in the car took us to the peaceful Abbaye de l’Echourgnac convent where Charlotte had been on her pre-ordination retreat in the company of our Advisor on Women’s Ministry, Carolyn Cook

After an overnight stay with Chaplain Tony and Ingrid Lomas, we drove on the Saturday morning for nearly two hours through the beautiful wine-making area of St. Emilion to the worship centre in Bordeaux. Aquitaine includes 14 Anglican worship centres. Charlotte is to be based in Bordeaux itself, which is a major city and rather different in character from the smaller towns and villages in which the other worship centres are located.

The ordination service opened with a confident rendition of ‘My Jesus, My Saviour’ by the children’s choir. The music for the rest of the service was supported by a very good adult choir. Amongst other items, they sang John Ireland’s ‘Greater Love’, an anthem which sets out the message of the gospel as clearly and powerfully as any other English-language music I know, and finished with a spirited rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Charlotte’s ordination as a priest is a cause of huge thanksgiving for the Aquitaine chaplaincy, where she is much loved and respected. She was supported by family and friends and many chaplaincy members in a full church.

Later in the service we commissioned Tony Lomas as Area Dean. He will look after the clergy and congregations of South Western France. Distances are big in this part of the diocese, and I hope Tony will be able to support and encourage fellow clergy working in isolated circumstances.

Supplementary Postscript from Bishop Robert

Aficionados of Anglican Canon Law will be aware that Ordinations may only be conducted on certain major feast days. It may be wondered whether March 17th, the Feast of St. Patrick, has sufficient weight to count as a proper major feast. In the event, St. Patrick’s Day coincided with the last game in the Rugby Six Nations, in which Ireland decisively beat England to take the Grand Slam. Bordeaux being a keen rugby city, the anxious would have been left in no doubt that St. Patrick’s Day 2018 in Bordeaux was a major feast !

Sunday – Holy Communion Service

The Revd Richard Bromley, Mission Director of ICS, led our Sunday Worship Service and concluded his sermon with some exciting words:

Allow me to say three things to you in conclusion.

I believe this is your time, Now the hour has come… 

This Bordeaux church is at pivotal moment. With Charlotte, this is not about business as usual with a new priest. This is about so much more as we adventure forward.

Secondly, I pray this church continues to develop as a community of welcome. To be a community where the invitation is open. Making space for people to belong. Christ will draw all people… 

Finally I want to say.  It is time to dare greatly.

Daring greatly:  About vulnerability.  About risk.  About stepping out when everything in you screams no.  Refusing to play safe because it is the safe thing to do. About remembering what it is that Christ has called you to.

As Jesus put it… About dying to self.  About wheat falling in the ground, but life comes.

I finish with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt,  26th President of USA.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the person who points out how others stumble,  or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,  and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

A photo album of the ordination service and reception afterwards is available here

Bishop Robert's Lent Appeal 2017

A retiring collection will be taken throughout Lent for the Menedékház Foundation, founded in 2005 on the outskirts of Budapest, Hungary, which helps homeless families with children reintegrate into the workplace and society. This shelter is in great need of renovation to accommodate and meet the needs of some 160 people who do not fulfil the criteria of other established social assistance programmes. Please be generous in your offerings to this shelter which Bishop Robert and his wife visited personally last year.

Learn more about the Menedékház and their services to the homeless online at www.menedekhaz.hu


The Menedékház Foundation, Budapest, Hungary

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Menedékház, founded in 2005 on the outskirts of Budapest, helps homeless families with children reintegrate into the workplace and society at large. The name says it all: Menedékház, or shelter, originally referred to a temporary refuge in a forest or on a mountaintop placed there for those in need of cover during storms and at nightfall.

Last year my wife, Helen, was privileged to visit the Foundation. As she stood at the front door a family of six arrived who owned no more than a little cardboard suitcase. “Is this a prison?”, asked the 4-year old. Later in the day Helen came across the same family who had been admitted and were now crowded into a single bedroom, enjoying some hot soup provided by the project.

At the Menedékház a professional staff of social workers serves some 160 people, many of whom do not meet the criteria of other established social assistance programmes. Some clients
find their way to the shelter from impoverished villages in the countryside. Other clients are residents of Budapest who may have suddenly lost a job or been evicted from housing. Still
others make their way to the Menedékház from alternative shelters now abruptly unavailable to them for bureaucratic reasons.

The Menedékház is housed in aging Soviet-era military barracks. They provide minimal amenities and little privacy for the families served. It is a roof over the head – sometimes not much more — a place for families to catch their breath while parents seek employment and children try to continue their schooling during the crisis the family is facing. A significant
proportion of clients are of Roma family background. The Menedékház has also from time to time provided shelter to refugees and migrants.

The 2017 Lent Appeal Project

Whilst the Menedékház has washrooms and toilets, they are in poor repair and highly communal, offering little privacy or sense of security to families already traumatised. Built
decades ago for military recruits, the facilities are today wholly inadequate and run-down, with peeling paint, cracked flooring and tiles, and little ventilation.

Accordingly, this year’s Lent Appeal Project at the Menedékház in Hungary aims to fund the comprehensive renovation of the family washrooms, providing individual cabins or cubicles for
family groups to change, wash, and shower. We estimate the cost of renovation to be in the range of ten to fifteen thousand pounds sterling.

The proposed renovation will include:

  • Three large bathroom areas, one on each floor of the building
  • Ten to twelve cabins or cubicles in each washroom with doors and locks for individual and family use
  • One or more baby-changing and washing stations
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Tile flooring
  • New walls
  • Ventilation
  • Showers
  • Upgraded electricity
  • Upgraded plumbing
  • Windows

Sometimes it is the smallest things in life that count the most. With this project, we hope to improve the lives of those served by the Menedékház. Washing-up and toileting facilities may
not seem exciting in the grand scheme of things but they are essential and much appreciated among those who are vulnerable or otherwise just getting by.

Learn more about the Menedékház and their services to the homeless online at www.menedekhaz.hu

Please do consider how you can support my appeal. I wish you a holy and spiritually fulfilling Lent.

With every blessing,

+Robert Gibraltar in Europe


Lent 2017

As we LISTEN TO HIM together so we can WALK WITH HIM together as a Church


Week 1 – In the desert Matthew 3:17 to 4:11

Week 2 – * In the upper room John 13:1-16

Week 3 – At the last supper Matthew 26:26-29

Week 4 – To the Garden of Gethsemane Matthew 26:36-46

Week 5 – To the high Priest’s palace Luke 22:54-62

Week 6 – To Golgotha Luke 23:26-46

Week 7 – * To the Tomb Matthew 27:33-50

Week 8 – On the First Easter Evening John 20:19-23