Our ministry covers an area from the Aveyron to the Aude and from the Lot into Tarn and Garonne, including the Tarn, Haute Garonne and Ariège.
We are an Anglican Chaplaincy and part of the Church of England Diocese in Europe.
There has been an Anglican presence here in this part of France since the early 1960's. In the last five decades this has developed into the present day Chaplaincy with seven worship centres and a large ministry team.
All guests who present themselves are to be received as Christ, for He will say: I was a stranger and you took me in. (St Matthew) The Rule of St Benedict
We are a scattered community and people drive long distances to attend church on a Sunday morning or afternoon. Our worship styles reflect the diversity of those who come, as not all are Anglicans by any means.
Common Worship Services
...open the way for people in the varied circumstances of their lives to experience the love of God in Jesus Christ in the life and power of the Holy Spirit. Preface to Common Worship
The Holy Communion is celebrated regularly throughout the Chaplaincy using Common Worship but often with a variety of hymns and music reflecting our different church backgrounds. We also celebrate life in all its wonder and fullness through Baptism and Marriage and at the end of life with a Service of Thanksgiving or a Funeral.
Come and See
If you have recently moved to this part of France to live or work, if you are just passing through or here on holiday look at the interactive map to find your nearest worship centre.
On Monday March 13th Bishop Robert, Archdeacon Meurig, Margaret Cross and David Heyworth met together at Chaplaincy House to conduct the interview for the post of Chaplain.
There was one candidate, and after long and searching discussions a unanimous decision was reached :
“ There was insufficient evidence that he was the right person to lead the whole of the Chaplaincy forward to it’s next stage of life and ministry. Although this is disappointing in many ways, we are hopeful that the right applicant will emerge and that we should re-double our efforts to find that person. “
Archdeacon Meurig sends this letter:
Whilst it is obviously disappointing for us all that a chaplain has not yet been appointed, I am confident that we are on the right lines, working together to ensure that a good appointment is made to Midi-Pyrénées and Aude. The hard work you have put into your parish profile etc. will serve the chaplaincy well and I am confident that a way forward will emerge.
The priority now is to ensure that the worship and community life of the chaplaincy continues, building on the strengths of ministry past and present, remaining united as we journey through Lent towards Holy Week and Easter. Bishop Robert wants you to know of his support to ensure future ministry for the chaplaincy. Together we will outline a new timetable for the appointment which, with your agreement, need not be as lengthy as the last one.
I look forward to being with you at the Eucharist and AGM on April 30th.
This comes with my prayers and good wishes,
Meurig. (Archdeacon of France)
Please continue to hold the Chaplaincy and it’s representatives in your prayers, in the hope that the right candidate will very soon come forward.
Lay Chairman Chaplaincy Council
We are delighted to be welcoming Canon Chris Samuels who will be coming for Holy Week and then a month in June/July to be our Locum.
During his first visit Chris will be leading services in Brens, Toulouse and Caylus, these services are shown in the diary.
Chris sends this résumé of his career as an introduction:
Being unaccustomed to writing about myself, I want to say from the very beginning that I have been, and am, truly blessed.
I have tried to make the most of every opportunity/challenge presented to me from going to boarding school at six years of age to the present day. After school, I spent twelve months of factory floor experience before Ordination training at Kings College London. I then went to serve my title in Rochdale. The parish was in fact a post war housing estate under the leadership of Canon William Vanstone, a man of great godliness, pastoral skill and with a brilliant mind. I and my wife Sarah, whom I married in 1967, the same year as my Ordination in Manchester Cathedral, became great friends with Bill Vanstone until his death. He taught us so much.
After five years in Rochdale, my life's adventure continued when I was asked to take responsibility for the church on a London overspill estate at Parkside, near Luton and Dunstable where Chrysler and Vauxhall had new factories. They were looking for a large workforce and the estate was built. When we first arrived there were only houses ready for occupation, no church, shops, school, pub or other amenities. Robert Runcie, then Bishop of St Albans, made arrangements for us to live in a four bedroom Council Town House to run the church from there. What a rich part of our adventure that was! Being the ‘only place to go’ so to speak, resulted in folk running every club we could think of during the week. Worship was held several times on a Sunday interspersed with Sunday School in shifts. During those early years, there were no doctors, social workers or other professionals around at night or at weekends so Sarah especially found herself called to domestic skirmishes to render first aid, and give time to local druggies. After a few years a school was built. Then on Sunday mornings we loaded the pram with kneelers, hymn books, bread and wine and two babies and set off through the estate to hold our morning services at the new school!
It was then from the 'chalk of Dunstable Downs' to 'the cheese of Cheshire' that I had my first opportunity to take on a parish - Tarporley - and become a 'Gumboot Parson' being responsible for four country churches. So very different from anything I had experienced but such a joy. Sarah and I with our two children, Jonathan and Clare, loved our time in this community. We had a garden for the first time, the opportunity to meet and minister to a huge variety of people in a rural setting as well as having time 'to take stock'. It was from here we both did our Relate training and began many years of counselling.
After seven very good and happy years, I began another phase in life’s adventure of ministry when I was asked by the Patron, the Duke of Westminster, to take on the big suburban city parish of St Mary without the Walls, Handbridge. This kept me busy for twenty three years, until my retirement. It was an amazing parish where the Lord provided us with so many additional opportunities for service in the Diocese and much further afield. For example, with the help of the parish, I was able to fill and drive lorries full of food and humanitarian aid to Poland during those desperate days under Communism when there was literally nothing in the shops. A few years later I was able to lead a convoy of aid to Albania, Romania and Bulgaria when they were each going through particularly hard times. This was with the then newly formed Charity Children In Distress of which I am now Chairman of the Trustees. St. Mary’s Handbridge was no sinecure as I soon found myself a Canon of the Cathedral and Area Dean, and in the city, President of Rotary and Chair of the King's School Governors. I was also extremely honoured to serve as one of the Chaplains to HM The Queen.
I was greatly blessed with very understanding parishioners who gave me the time every now and then to undertake more adventuring and lead Pilgrimages to Israel, Palestine and Jordan. This Sarah and I still do and love meeting and catching up with our Palestinian friends in Bethlehem, as well as introducing people to the Holy Land. My next Pilgrimage (do you hear the advert coming!) is from 14 - 28 May 2018. Hopefully there will be a number of people from the Chaplaincy who would like to join us? Click here if you would like more information.
My links with the Diocese of Europe are rather tenuous but very important to me. My father often talked about his childhood in Belgium and how his English family drew great strength and comfort from the Anglican Church at St Boniface in Antwerp. He always spoke with affection for the church and its friendly people. He was proud to tell me that he was the first baby to be baptised there in 1910. I have returned to the church a couple of times and always received a warm welcome. My other link is as a locum in Spain with several churches in the Malaga area.
Dunkirk has been on my agenda for many years as I was the National Chaplain to the Dunkirk Veterans and would lead Veterans in prayers and take memorial services on the beaches and in the cemeteries in June each year. (The link comes from my mother, who, as a Nursing Sister, was evacuated from the beaches.)
Sarah has been, and is, a wonderful companion on my adventure and journeying and put up with so many of my crazy enterprises not least a recent car rally I did when I bought an old London Fairway cab and drove it on the Crumball Rally over The Alps to Venice for Charity. Needless to say she didn't join me on this 'jolly'!
Her own life is exceedingly busy as a grandmother, writer and art dealer. She has been selling gorgeous paintings and sculpture for twenty-six years. We have two grown up children, Jonathan a Presenter on Sunrise with ‘sky news’ and Clare an actor, running her own business ‘ted’ involving training in an interactive way for businesses and companies.
Finally Sarah and I are really looking forward to our visit over Holy Week and Easter and also for four weeks in the Summer. We have had very warm and welcoming phone calls and e-mails from you and can't wait to meet you and visit your various communities. It will be a huge privilege to join you in worship and fellowship.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."
1 Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)
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