The trains were packed last Saturday as I made my way to Cologne for my most recent duty as Area Dean for Germany. I went for the final service of the Rev’d. Andrew Sillis, as vicar of St. Boniface Church, Bonn, and All Saints Church, Cologne. He recently accepted a call to St. Thomas Church in Stourbridge, which I believe to be near Birmingham. His departure will leave Bonn and Cologne with a vacancy as the search for a new vicar could take some time. There is another priest there, the Rev’d Richard Gardiner, who can fill in during the vacancy, so they should feel comfortable during the long search process. Every situation like this brings forth a wide variety of emotions. We are happy he has been called to a new and exciting ministry in England. We are sad that he will no longer be here as part of the Deanery of Germany. We are sorry we didn’t have more time to work together, but we are excited to see whom God will send someone to replace him. Some, not I, are even angry that he is leaving them. They feel abandoned. Others feel much calm knowing that in God’s time, all will be well.
I went as Area Dean to represent the Archdeacon and the Bishops and to remind the people that they are not alone. We are united in a ministry that begins on the congregational level, but extends through the Deanery, and the Archdeaconry, to the Diocese, the Province, and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are all in this together. We are all united in Jesus Christ, our one Lord, through one baptism, proclaiming one Faith, with billions of voices, which sing, if not always in absolute unison, make some very interesting harmonies.
Go well, brother Andrew, into a new field where the harvest is ready and labourers are needed. Be patient, Bonn and Cologne, for the new pastor will arrive at the right time. Give thanks, all Christians, that we are One in the lord, Jesus the Christ.
p.s. And thanks to Brigitte for doing the Anglican parts of last Sunday’s joint service with the Old Catholics. From all reports, the choir anthem was superb, and we got to welcome a continuing procession of newcomers who are arriving in Stuttgart, and showing interest in our congregation.