The English Church 

Ostend and Bruges



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Dear friends,

Welcome to the summer edition of the e-newsletter from the Anglican parish of Ostend-Bruges. In this issue, we've included a letter from our chaplain, Reverend Augustine Nwaekwe, details of the forthcoming services in Ostend and Bruges and information about our visiting choir. Do join us on one of these occasions.

We are also delighted to share positive news about the restoration of the English Church in Ostend and details of our new mission cause for April to June and July to September.

After a successful Annual General Meeting in April, we announce the appointment of Katherine Miccinilli as the new churchwarden for Bruges. She will be working closely with Bryony Caron, the churchwarden for Ostend. Read more about Katherine in our 'Meet the Congregation' section. We also welcome Grace Dickson to the Chaplaincy Council, who replaces long-serving member Audrey De Ridder-Bagnall. Audrey has devoted the majority of her life to serving the English Church in Ostend and we are all deeply grateful for her dedication and devotion. And whether you are travelling or staying at home over the summer season, do spend a moment reading Bryony's thoughtful prayer for the coming months.

Don't forget to check the 'Dates for the Diary' section for forthcoming service news and events, and for regular worshippers, the prayer and readings rota is at the foot of the page. 

Finally, we share our new parish photograph, taken outside our temporary home of the Onze-lieve-vrouwkerk in Mariakerke. 

In case you don't know us yet: the Anglican parish of Ostend and Bruges is part of the Church of England, in the Diocese of Europe. In Ostend, we’ve been known as ‘The English Church’ for just over 150 years, and our church in Bruges is called St Peter's. We are a multi-cultural community who worship in English under the spiritual leadership of the Reverend Augustine Nwaekwe. Our churches are open to all, and a very warm welcome awaits you.

Join us for Sunday worship at 10.30am in Ostend (temporary home: Onze-lieve-vrouwkerk, Lijsterbeslaan, in Mariakerke) or 6pm at St. Peter’s Chapel in Bruges ('t Keerske, Keerstraat 1).
Follow Reverend Augustine on Twitter: @RevNwaekwe
Follow us on Facebook (and like our page!):
We hope you enjoy reading about our life in our parish.
Helen Simpson
Secretary, Chaplaincy Council

Please note: our website is no longer operational. This will be replaced by a brand new site in the autumn. In the meantime, keep up-to-date with our activities via Facebook and the newsletter.

Summer greetings
from the Reverend Augustine Nwaekwe
Dear friends and parishioners, summer is here once again: time for a well-deserved break and refreshment. Praise be to God who made the different seasons, ‘time to work, and time to rest’.

First of all, it is my pleasure to congratulate and welcome all those who have recently joined our church community. I trust that you will find love and spiritual fulfilment within our church family.

We hope to welcome visitors and tourists to our churches, many of whom come to enjoy the serene cities of Flanders during the summer months. On 14 July, we look forward to hosting the Queen Elizabeth Singers from Kirkby Lonsdale, England, at Onze Lieve Vrouw in Mariakerke for a concert of sacred music (see below). We also welcome Dan and Kay back in July after a month in the United States. Kay will continue to play the organ at St Peter's. We also look forward to welcoming Terry and Jane Randells in St Peter's Bruges on 14 August. I am sure our regular members show hospitality to all who come through our church doors over the holiday season.

As many of our members will be travelling this summer, I am praying that God Almighty will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back safely, refreshed and energised for the months ahead.

I trust you will find some sunshine….

Every blessing,
Augustine Nwaekwe
Date for the diary:
Queen Elizabeth Singers

An Evening of Sacred Music
Thursday 14 July 2016
Onze Lieve Vrouw Koninginkerk, Mariakerke
Jenny Hartley, conductor, writes: The Queen Elizabeth Singers are from Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale in the north-west of England.  The choir began as a small barbershop group in 2004 and has grown to a mixed choir which takes between 30 and 40 members on tour every couple of years.  This will be our fifth tour abroad, and our third visit to Belgium, which is always our favourite destination!

In the past we have sung in several esteemed venues, including Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk and San Salvador in Bruges, Cologne Cathedral, the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels, and the Ringkirche in Wiesbaden. The choir specialises in a cappella, finding that it opens possibilities of gospel and spiritual music as well as some more challenging Renaissance and 20th-century repertoire. 
As many of you will remember, we have a new mission plan through which we support four deserving causes per annum. For the first quarter of the year, we contributed to the work of the international charity, Mercy Ships. From April to June, 10% of our chaplaincy fund went to a cause much closer to home: Poverello in Ostend. Run entirely by volunteers, the organisation serves 50 meals a day to people in need. See: In July, August and September, we are supporting the Akpodim Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind and Disabled in Nigeria. More information on the latter to follow. It is our wish to support two international and two local causes per year, on a rotating basis. Please give generously to the work of these deserving organisations!

If you would like to suggest a charity for us to support through this on-going programme please do not hesitate to contact Reverend Augustine, or the churchwardens.
A Summer Prayer by Bryony Caron,
Churchwarden for Ostend
Dear Lord and Father,
We offer our prayers for the season ahead, when there will be people travelling for pleasure across the world.

We thank You for these opportunities to meet others with whom we would not normally come into contact, to learn about and appreciate different cultures, different scenery, different food.

We lift up to You people who have saved hard throughout the year to be able to pay for a holiday. May they be refreshed and hold happy memories after their return home.

We lift up all those who work in the travel industry, in whatever capacity, thinking of workers on land, on sea and in the air. Make them aware of the importance of their roles in the lives of holiday makers, and help them to provide the best possible service to those with whom they come into contact.

We lift up those whose travel arrangements are disrupted at short notice due to natural disasters, technical difficulties, acts of war, strikes or personal illness. May they be given courage and determination to adapt to new circumstances.

We lift up those who have never had a holiday, those whose lives are a daily struggle for survival because of drought, political corruption or armed conflict. May they know Your peace in their hearts, and trust in Your constant support and love.

Help us, Father, to show kindness and helpfulness to those from elsewhere whom we meet in our local areas, so they may return home with positive thoughts about the region in which we live.

 We offer these prayers to You, believing in Your wisdom and compassion and trusting that You are at the heart of each situation.

Meet the congregation:
Katherine Miccinilli
Newly-appointed churchwarden for Bruges
Katherine Miccinilli, who was recently appointed to the position of churchwarden for Bruges, explains what brought her to Belgium, how she discovered our parish, and what it means to be able to worship in English in her adopted city.

Just like my name and surname show, I am half Italian (from my father’s side) and half English (from my mother’s side). I grew up in Rome, Italy, which is also where my family lives, and did my studies in London. I came to Bruges at the end of August 2013 to take up a short-term position at the College of Europe. Little did I know, at the time, that I would have stayed so long! In fact, that short-term position, transformed itself into a few more short-term positions, until, just over a year ago, I got a permanent contract. That was probably the time when I agreed to become a Council member, as I could see myself committing to staying a bit longer than expected in Bruges.
I found out about St. Peter’s Bruges while I was still in Italy. Looking for English-speaking churches was part of my preparations prior to departure. I found only two English-speaking churches online (although I am quite sure there are others too, just less advertised). I didn’t concern myself about the Christian denomination I would join. Although I was brought up in the Anglican faith, I have attended a variety of different churches, especially since re-committing to Christ when I was 18. Anyway, on my first Sunday in Bruges, I decided to “try” the two churches. Even though they differ from each other, I really liked and like the communities in both churches. This was noticeable especially in St. Peter’s where, despite the small congregation, I really felt welcome! On my second Sunday in church, Rev. Augustine arrived, and with his big smile, he made me feel even more welcome. Since I couldn’t choose a church, I decided to attend both. Gradually, though, given the small size of the congregation in Bruges, I started taking more responsibilities, which led me, last month, to become churchwarden.
I always thought that these kind of positions in a structured church weren’t meant for me. Coming to Bruges has been (and still is) a test to my faith. It is the first place where I found myself without Christian fellowship of my age. I also lacked the various volunteering activities to which I was used – this is also because I didn’t know the language. However, now I see that I can serve God in other ways, by trying to serve the church having taken a role that normally I never would have, and (hopefully, eventually) by reaching out to the larger community. I am still not sure about my life in Bruges, my work, and my personal life, I just pray that God stays patient with me and keeps leading me to the next step. I pray for His grace for me as I take up this role and I hope that you too might pray for me, Rev. Augustine, and the other people in leadership in this parish.
Houtland Instituut, Tourhout
Every year students come from Houtland Instituut to learn about Anglicanism. They enjoyed a day of instruction on the subject from Reverend Augustine on 10 May.

British theology students visit Ostend and Bruges
Six students training for ordination (ordinands) at Cranmer Hall Durham visited Belgium on exchange programme with the ETF (Evangelical Theological Faculty) in Leuven. On Thursday 23 June, they spent the day learning about our ministry at the coast. Thanks to Yvonne and Bryony who took them on a tour of our parish and to some beautiful sites around Bruges and Ostend. It was a memorable day and a good conclusion to their exchange programme before their return to the UK.

Baptism of baby D'Maya on Easter Sunday
Picture at the Baptism Service of baby D'maya Maria at O.L.V. Koninginkerke on Easter Sunday.
Reverend Augutsine writes: D'maya was the first to receive baptism in our new church location. The service took place in the main church, instead of the side chapel, due to the large numbers of people who participated in the service, including parents, godparents, families and friends of baby D'maya.

Congratulations to Vivienne McKenzie on her 96th birthday!
Vivian, seated at the head of the table in the photograph below, is the eldest member of our congregation. Recently, some of our members went to Middelkerke to visit and celebrate with her.

Sunday School
The children in our congregation meet for Sunday School in Ostend at 10.30 am. In a side room to the chapel, they learn about Christianty through word, song and creativity. They join the adults during the Eucharist, where they receive a blessing from the priest. The photograph below shows them singing in church.

Cor Serenata Ladies Choir sing at St Peter's, Bruges
Top photo: Cor Serenata Ladies Choir from Wales; left:  Lissie and Matt (organist and conductor) with Reverend Augustine after the Eucharist.

Our music at St Peter's Bruges on 24 April was led by Cor Serenata Ladies choir from Wales. This was part of their tour of Belgium in which they also presented a concert at the EU Parliament in Brussels. The choir was conducted by Matt Lewis while Elisabeth (Lissie) Scourfield Jones played the organ. The opening hymn featured Calon Lan  which is a traditional Welsh song of praise. It was a very beautiful service as the church overflowed with music.

The Blessing of the Sea in Ostend
As part of Oostende voor Anker, Reverend Augusting participated in the annual ecumenical Blessing of the Sea ceremony. This year it took place on Saturday 28 May 2016.

Meet the congregation:
Grace Dickson
Newly-appointed member of the Chaplaincy Council

Grace writes: It is my greatest joy to be voted in as a member of our Chaplaincy Council.  My gratitude goes to Rev. Augustine and all members of our church who have considered me worthy to serve as one of the council members. I pray God to grant me the grace to be able to perform as a worthy member of the council to the best of my ability. Thank you.

Two members of the Chaplaincy Council welcome their first grandchildren
Left: Amelie Davidovna Caron Kramaley
Right: Lemmy Matthew
Bryony Caron, churchwarden for Ostend and member of both the Chaplaincy Council and Kerkraad, and Katherine Evans, of the Chaplaincy Council, both welcomed their first grandchildren into the world this spring. Here, Bryony writes about the joy of the new addition to her truly international family: 

Bryony and Raymond (deceased) Caron's first grandchild, a girl, was born on Sunday 17 April, at 7.27pm, weighing 7 pounds 10 ounces.

She has been registered with the names  Amelie Davidovna Caron Kramaley.

My daughter Annelise has Belgian and English parentage, and her partner David has Russian and Ecuadorian parentage, making Amelie truly international!

Her 2nd name is traditionally passed in Russia from father to child, this being the female version. Kramaley is David's Russian surname, although he also has Tenemaza, the Ecuadorian surname. It was felt this would be a step too far for Amelie!! Whatever happened to SMITH?! I was naturally really pleased that it was decided to have Caron as one of her names - a continuing bond with her maternal grandfather.

She has been surrounded by a world of love and prayers, with David's family visiting from Ecuador and New York, and my travelling from Belgium to be in Swindon. The prayers and love offered by individuals as well as the congregations in Ostend and Bruges and in Swindon supported us through a difficult labour and birth. I am overjoyed to say that mother and daughter are now both doing very well indeed, thriving in fact. I was privileged to be present at Amelie's birth, an indescribable experience.

Because Amelie has such an international heritage, I felt a link to yet another country would be acceptable. My mother, who died when I was only thirteen, had a Hungarian father who himself died when she was only 14. I decided to look up the name of grandmother in Hungarian and found it is Yanya, which I liked. I think it will be easy for a child to pronounce, and it is a continuing bond with Amelie's maternal great-grandmother's heritage.

She is a miracle in our lives and we all love her very much indeed.

Robin and Katherine Evans' grandson Lemmy Matthew was also born on 17 April 2016, and is the son of Tom and Sofie Vermeersch Evans.

Congratulations to both sets of parents and grandparents!

The Alpha course in Ostend:
find out more about the basics of Christianity via informal talks, discussions and Bible study 
Our post Pentecost Bible study continues with Alpha Course, taking place every Monday at 6pm in Ostend. This is an opportunity to explore the meaning and questions of life in a relaxed and friendly context. For more information, please contact the chaplain or any of the church wardens. Reverend Augustine:  We look forward to seeing you!
Above: the Bible study group
Ostend Archives
Digital copies of the historical archives relating to the English Church in Ostend have been lodged with EVADOC, the Protestant-Evangelist Arcive and Documentation Centre at the University of Leuven. These cover births, marriages and deaths in the parish from the early 19th century up until the mid-20th century. Using a wide range of approaches, EVADOC aims to inform the wider public and the Evangelical Protestant community about the archives and publications that help and have helped to build the identity of Evangelicals in Flanders, both at an individual and at a community level. They also support local initiatives such as exhibitions and celebrations by providing historical information and materials. For more information:
Good news! Update on the restoration of the English Church in the Langestraat, Ostend
Jody Paulus, treasurer of the Kerkraad and project manager for the restoration of the English Church in Ostend, reports on recent developments.
It is my great pleasure to report that the Flemish Community has approved our funding application for the restoration of the English Chuch in the Langestraat. We are liaising with the City of Ostend and the architects and hope to be able to issue a tender for the renovation work very soon. It is wonderful to know that the building will be made safe for generations to come, and we are grateul to everyone who has supported us in our mission to restore the church. I hope to have more news for you in the autumn. 

The English Church Ostend and St Peter’s Chapel Bruges
Rota of Services/Readers: July and August 2016
The English Church Ostend and St Peter’s Chapel Bruges
Rota of Services for July and August 2016
Copyright © 2015 The English Church Ostend Bruges, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
c/o Helen Simpson, Secretary, Chapliancy Council, Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 197, 8400 Ostend

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Parish of Ostend and Bruges · Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 197 · Oostende 8400 · Belgium

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