A Christingle Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve morning, a cheerful team of Christingle volunteers worked in the Chaplain's kitchen to prepare the candied oranges that are blessed and distributed to the children at the Christmas Eve Christingle service.
Christmas arrived in Monte-Carlo a bit after 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve when our children carried Baby Jesus to the Crèche and placed him in the manger ...
Then it was time to celebrate, candied oranges lit, and the light of the new born babe of Bethlehem carried out into the world: Tidings of Great Joy!
The annual Children's Christingle service on Christmas Eve has become an important part in the Christmas celebrations for many of our families. The smiles on this group of our Sunday Club children speaks volumes.
Click here for more of Lorenzo Turco's photos from the Christingle service.
Worshippers raise the roof with carols ...
The annual Carol Service took place Sunday evening, 18 December, with the expanded Saint Paul's Choir and the congregation, filling Saint Paul's with the cheerful sounds of the Christmas Season. The choir was particularly appreciated for its joyous rendition of "Ding, dong merrily on high" and other seasonal favourites. At the conclusion of the service, Liesel Jürgens and Hervé Feraud, soprano and trumpet, joined our organist Gottfried Kappen in a glorious performance of the "Laudate" from W.A. Mozart's Mass in C Minor.
As has long been his custom, Archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco was on hand to lend encouragement and support to our community once again this year for the Carol Service at Saint Paul's. He was joined by the Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Monaco and a longtime friend of our church, Père Patrick Keppel.
Click here for more of Tim Humphrey's photos from the 2016 Carol Service...
A Christmas Pageant
Nicole Feaster's wonderful cast for "A Christmas Pageant", our 2016 edition of the annual Nativity Play, provided a beautiful production of the story of Bethlehem and baby Jesus for the congregation gathered at Saint Paul's on Sunday morning, 18th December. Baby Jesus, portrayed by Joshua Benjamin (4 months old) was particularly wonderful in his role, as was last year's Baby Jesus, Amadea Turrell, who was "The Star" of the production, brightly leading the wise men on their journey find the new born king.
Click here to watch the cast sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas!"
Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from this years Nativity Play.
Mince Pies in the making ...
On Saturday, 17 December, Sarah Leydet-Mirc and her assistant Emilie Nichols, put in quite a few hours to prepare and bake some 350 mince pies for the annual Christmas reception to follow the Carol Service.
The Christmas Decoration Team
A cheerful and hard working crew of volunteers launched Saint Paul's Church well into the season of Christmas with our annual church decorating session on Monday evening, 12th December. Saint Paul's is now ready for our biggest Sunday, in church attendance, of the year. On 18th December, the children's Nativity Play at the 10:30 service and the annual Carol Service and Christmas Reception, beginning at 19:30, will draw some three to four hundred members of our extended community to begin the celebration of Christmas in earnest.
Messiah Returns, Triumphant Yet Again!
Maestro Errol Girdlestone and his "Ensemble vocal et instrumental: Ristretto" delighted the capacity audience that filled Saint Paul's Church on Saturday, 10th December, for the fourth perfomance of Messiah at Saint Paul's in the past five years. Click here or on the photo for a video of the majestic Hallelujah Chorus.
Festive Lift Cocktail Fund Raiser
The Chaplain's apartment, Saint Paul's House, was the site of another fund raising event organised by Samantha Stirling (above left) and her hard working Library Lift Campaign committee. Sarah Mirc organised the catering for the party and more than 40 members of our community joined in the festivities.
Wildlife artist Spencer Hodge, pictured above centre, joined artists from the "Odd Group" in very generously contributing work for sale at the Library Lift Cocktail, raising well over €1,000 in art sales alone during the evening.
Confirmation Class of 2016
Many friends and family of the 2016 Confirmation group joined other parishioners for the celebration of Holy Confirmation on Sunday, 4th December at Saint Paul's. Bishop David Hamid presided at the liturgy and 9 young people from Monaco stood before a very full church congregation to "confirm" the faith of their Baptism.
Bishop David preached a much appreciated sermon, that included a rather humorous take on John the Baptist, asking what the chaplaincy would think were they to find Father Walter, dressed in animal skins, snacking on grasshoppers, marching to and fro in front of the Casino preaching, "Repent, the end is nigh!" Click here to listen to Bishop David's sermon.
The Annual Ecumenical Kermesse 2016
Easily one of the largest groups of Saint Paul's volunteers pitched in to make this year's Ecumenical Kermesse a great success, measured less in net result (income) as in net value (community spirit and fun!)
Jane Roffe and Ruth Knight anchored the washing up team while over a dozen helpers pitched in to help clear tables, wash dishes, and dry them afterwards.
It was particularly great to welcome Bishop David to this year's Ecumenical Kermesse, where he and Father Walter enjoyed a beautiful lunch in company with Archbishop Bernard Barsi and other ecumenical colleagues in Monaco.
Click here to see all of Simon Wynne's fabulous photos from Kermesse 2016.
No Finish Line Success Story
Ben Rolfe, captain of "Pussy Footing Around", the No Finish Line team that Saint Paul's was proud to sponsor, reports:
Once again a fantastic innings at the No Finish Line for Team Pussy Footing Around. After a huge effort on Friday night to Saturday night for the 24 hours, we went into Sunday morning in a solid 12th place, but around 9.30am the drama ratcheted up as Fondation Cuomo overtook us and then put on 250km ahead of us very quickly. The efforts of the hardcore team members battling 7 days of fatigue who managed to regain 12th and then put over 200km between us as we went into the last half an hour secured us the 12th spot. In all we had 97 runners and walkers in the team, and we averaged over 62.6km per person over the 8 days, which put us in 3rd place in the "per capita" stakes, as only Fondation Sancta Devota and the ACM bettered us, and they had a significant portion of the 8 day racers on their teams.
Fr Meurig Williams, Archdeacon of France & Monaco, became an honorary member of the Pussy Footing Around contingent (pictured here with members of the church council on the team.)
As a team we managed to come first in 5 age group categories, with a whole host of top 10 finishes through the field. We just topped 6000km, raising €6000 for charity, although as a team our sponsors have pledged quite a bit more than that, as well as very kind donations for the t shirts (and a couple of people that loved them so much they were happy to pay the €20 despite not being on our team!)
Anglican Chaplaincies of the Riviera
The Anglican Chaplaincies of the Riviera (ACR) gathered at Saint Paul's on Sunday evening, 20th November, for a service of readings and hymns celebrating the different seasons of the church year (featuring: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Pentecost). Archbishop Bernard Barsi and the new Anglican Archdeacon of France, Father Meurig Williams (centre right and left, respectively) joined in this service where Father Meurig was warmly received as the new Archdeacon of France.
Following the service, about 60 representatives of the 8 churches on the Riviera (Menton, Monaco, Beaulieu-sur-mer, Nice, Cannes, Saint Raphael, Orgues, and Marseille) enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared for them by Sarah and Stéphane Mirc (below).
Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from the ACR evening in Monaco.
Archdeacon Meurig Williams visit Monaco
Father Meurig Williams, the newly appointed Archdeacon of France, visited Monaco in mid-November. His visit coincided with the celebration of the "Fête du Prince", Monaco's national day. Father Meurig is pictured here with Father Walter, attending the annual High Mass and Solemn Te Deum at the Cathedral.
Monaco's Médaille d'Honneur for Henny Wickes
In the lead up to Monaco's national day, "La Fête du Prince" (19 November), Henny Wickes was invited to attend an award ceremony at the Palace. During the ceremony, Prince Albert II of Monaco was pleased to present Henny with Monaco's prestigious "Médaille d'Honneur" in recognition of her dedication and exceptional services, over 50 years, to the Principality. Of particular note, Henny's involvement in the needlework guild, "De Fil en Aiguille." Saint Paul's has benefited recently from Henny's dedication and service in the replacement of the needlepoint cushions that garner the Communion Rail in our church.
Lift Launch: work now underway!
The ground was broken 2 weeks ago in the project to install a lift from the street level beside the church to the floor level of the Saint Paul's Library. Here (below) is the architect's image of what the completed Library Lift will look like.
Samantha Stirling and her Lift Project team are organising a fund raiser cocktail party to take place on 6 December at 6 p.m. Let Sam know if you would like to attend: email email@example.com
Saint Paul's Sponsors NFL Team
The Saint Paul's Church Council voted unanimously to sponsor one of the teams participating in this year's No Finish Line (NFL) charity event which runs over nine days from Saturday, 12 November through to the following Sunday, 20 November. Chaplaincy Council member, Ben Rolfe, is the captain of the NFL team "Pussy Footing Around" and Saint Paul's is one of the team sponsors this year. For each kilometer members of the team walk or run along the 1.4 km NFL track in Fontvieille, one Euro is donated to the charity "Children & Future". As a sponsored team, Pussy Footing Around agrees to raise enough to cover the donations for all the kilometers the team logs in the 9 days of the NFL event. Saint Paul's has made a commitment to cover the donations to the charity for 2,500 kilometers logged by the team this year.
If you would like to join the Pussy Footing Around
team, it's as simple as naming this as your team when you register for
the NFL event. Let Ben Rolfe know that you plan to join the team and he
will keep you informed of special team activities and events during this
year's NFL campaign. Send an email to Ben at
Send an email to Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look for the Saint Paul's logo on the t-shirts members of our NFL team
are wearing and give these sturdy volunteers a loud "Cheers!"
Look for the Saint Paul's logo on the t-shirts members of our NFL team are wearing and give these sturdy volunteers a loud "Cheers!"
Because of tightened security, there are only 3 access points along
this year's circuit. Please consult the following map before going down
to the event.
Because of tightened security, there are only 3 access points along this year's circuit. Please consult the following map before going down to the event.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)
(Click on the image for a larger version.)
Remembrance Sunday edition 2016
The annual Remembrance Sunday service took place on 13th November with the traditional march up Avenue de Grande Bretagne to Place Winston Churchill, followed by the Remembrance service back at Saint Paul's Church.
Click here for more photos from this year's Remembrace Sunday observance.
The 19th Edition of the Monopoly Tournament
The 19th edition of the annual Monopoly Tournament for Charity took place on Saturday afternoon, 5th November in the Church Library. The winners of the tournament are pictured above (adult and children's competitions). Donations collected will go in response to the annual Bishop's Advent Appeal.
Father Walter announces his retirement
At last night's meeting of the Church Council (Tuesday, 18th October), Father Walter made the following announcement:
It is with very mixed emotions that I announce to you today that I have decided to retire from full-time ministry as the Anglican Chaplain in Monaco, effective in the summer of 2017. In January I will celebrate both my 68th birthday and the 9th anniversary of my arrival in Monaco as the Chaplain at Saint Paul's. I am truly thankful for the time I have served as the Chaplain at Saint Paul's, and I am especially thankful for the many in our community who I am honoured to consider my friends. However, I must confess that I do look forward to retirement, after more than 50 years of employment, and I am excited about the next stage in my life and ministry as an Anglican priest.
During my annual holiday in Canada this past August, I was able to purchase a retirement home (the grey house, photo below) in a country township about an hour east of Quebec City where many of my oldest friends have their homes. Following discussions with the newly elected Bishop of Quebec this summer, my former curate, I feel I can look forward to an active retirement, continuing in ministry, on a part time basis, in the Diocese of Quebec and at the Cathedral in Quebec City.
The Church Council will now initiate the process that will lead to the recruitment and appointment of my successor. The new Archdeacon of France, the Venerable Meurig Williams, will visit Monaco in November and will meet with the Church Council to set the timetable and procedures involved in the appointment of the next Anglican Chaplain in Monaco.
Kindly be assured of my great affection for the people of Saint Paul's and of the support of my prayers for the future of our community. It has truly been an honour to serve here and when the time comes to close the door behind me and move back to Canada, I am certain that this will prove to be a rather emotional and wrenching parting of the ways. Thank you very much for the friendship and support you have shown to me and my ministry among you over these many years.
Father Walter Raymond OGS, Chaplain
Some 50 members of the Saint Paul's community and their guests, filled the church Library for a delicious meal, featuring Sara Megginson's famous Chicken Cacciatore. More than €2600 were collected support two charities working with refugees: the Anglican Alliance, working through the Anglican chaplaincy in Athens, and iConnect Monaco whose efforts are focused on children in the camps in Turkey.
Christophe Sosso from iConnect Monaco made a compelling case for Christian involvement in bringing aid to refugees during our Sunday service. He then visited each of the tables during the charity lunch to share photos from iConnect-Monaco's last trip to bring relief to the refugee children in Turkey.
Many thanks to Sara Megginson & Mary de Vachon for organising this year's charity lunch, and thanks as well to Jane Roffe, Juulia Siikala, Carol Michelot, Pauline O'Neill, Anna Cataldo and others, who were part of the lunch team.
Click here to see Simon Wynne's photos from this year's Charity Lunch.
We were very pleased to welcome Bishop Michael Marshall who joined us for the Sunday service on 9th October. Bishop Michael is the retired Bishop of Woolwich and, true to his reputation as a preacher, he graced us with a very fine sermon. Click here to listen to the sermon during which the bishop reminds us of how Jesus always works to cut through the lines of race, culture and creed that separate us and keep us apart, all in order to draw us closer together as one people, regardless of differences, in God's Kingdom. The bishop's assistant, Father Soon-Han Choi from Korea served as his chaplain for the service.
After the prayers, Sarah & Stéphane Mirc came forward to sign the church Wedding Register, which they were not able to do at their wedding in St Martin de Peille in July. After which, Bishop Michael was pleased to offer a blessing!
Following the service, Angela (photo left) was particularly pleased to greet her former vicar. Bishop Michael served for many years at Holy Trinity Sloan Street, Angela's parish church in London. Later, (photo right) Bishop Michael made use of his considerable gifts as a pianist to offer a birthday serenade for Sylvia.
Sarah and Stéphane were pleased to offer lunch to a large group of friends to celebrate the signing of the church wedding register and the bishop's blessing.
A wide range of animal friends joined their human companions and all of the members of Saint Paul's for the annual Blessing of the Animals on the first Sunday of October (2nd October) as part of our annual celebration of the Feast of Saint Francis (4th October.)
Animal friends of all sizes and shapes were on hand for the annual Blessing of the Animals at Saint Paul's Church, including 2 hamsters, 2 cats, and 9 dogs.
Young people preparing for Confirmation at Saint Paul's (4 December) helped with the readings at the service. Eric read the text from Genesis; Emma, Oliver, Dan and Bruce lead in the reading of Psalm 148.
As a special treat, the brass ensemble Sointu Seitsikko from Finland, who joined us for the service thanks to Juulia Siikala's invitation, blessed the congregation with a lovely rendition of Louis Armstrong's "What a wonderful world" -- very appropriate for the theme of the day! Many in the congregation stayed in the church, following the service, for a short recital offered by this traditional brass band from Finland.
As a special treat, we celebrated Sofia Benjamin's birthday (this week on Saint Francis Day, 4th October) with the singing of "Happy Birthday to you, to Jesus be true" accompanied by members of the Sointu Seitsikko brass band. Sofia is pictured here in the arms of her dad, Simon.
Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from the Blessing of the Animals!
Sermon Page update
After a rather long delay, Father Walter has finally gotten around to updating the sermon page on the chaplaincy website. Click here to visit the sermon page where sermons offered by Father Walter, Mary de Vachon, Frank Megginson and guest preachers can be found in mp3 format for easy download and listening.
As has long been the custom at Saint Paul's, members of the congregation came to church on Harvest Thanksgiving with quantities of goods in response to our annual appeal for contributions to support the Fourneau Economic, a hot lunch ministry in Nice. In addition to the donation of food items for this ministry, more than €600 were given to support the Fourneau in the Sunday collection.
The highlight of our Harvest service, Bishop Dominic Walker OGS, delivered a wonderful message of hope and encouragement in his sermon to us on Harvest Thanksgiving that included a the reminder that we as Christians are a people of thanksgiving and that we do have much indeed to be thankful for. Click here to listen to Bishop Dominic's very fine sermon.
Harvest Thanksgiving saw the return of many of the children in our Sunday congregation following the summer break. Mirella Favory, the new Sunday Club leader, was as pleased to welcome the young people back to the club as were they to profit from Mirella's enthusiasm and skill as a teacher.
Yet another wonderful Church Picnic!
Members of our Saint Paul's Church community had a lovely time together at this year's ever popular church picnic. Again this year, the Rolfe family hosted the event opening their pool side yard and home to picnickers arriving on the chartered bus or in their own cars. Following a picnic service of worship, a fabulous array of bring-and-share salads and treats were served along with English sausages and hamburgers provided by the Rolfe family.
Click here for Simon Wynne's photos taken at this year's Church Picnic.
A trail racer is born: Bravo Emily!
Following (literally) in her father's footsteps, Emily Rolfe completed her first ever trail race coming in first in her age group. The "Trail per Cami" event took place on Sunday 4th September in the high country behind Nice, on a 13 km trail, in and around the village of Belvédère, and climbing to an elevation of 1,000 meters.
Well done Emily, congratulations proud parents Ben and Sally. This looks to be the beginning of a very promising trail racing career!
Sharon & Geoffrey O'nion were pleased to host the wedding of their daughter Samantha and her husband Mark Webster at Saint Paul's Church on Saturday 3rd September 2016. The church was packed with wedding guests, many from the Monaco area where the O'nions have lived for nearly 30 years. In fact, Sharon & Geoffrey (photo right, below) were themselves married at Saint Paul's in September 1989, and Samantha was baptised here as well.
Errol Girdlestone guest organist
Maestro Errol Girdlestone -- director of the Ristretto choir and orchestra -- served as our guest organist for two Sundays this summer (21 & 28 August 2016) replacing our church organist Gottfried Kappen who was on holiday. Errol is pictured here (2nd left) with Father Lawrence MacLean, who was filling in for Father Walter, also on holiday. Errol's South African friend and colleague, Deon Irish (photo left) came along for the service on 28 August. Deon is the choir master at Saint Michaels in Observatory Cape. The Saint Paul's lead chorister and choir director, Drew Hopkins (photo right) was on hand to lend his support.
MacLeans serve locum in Monaco
Father Lawrence MacLean, his wife Jacqueline and youngest son Ben arrived in Monaco late Sunday 14 August to serve a two-week summer locum, covering for Father Walter while he took his annual holiday (serving as a summer locum as well) in Canada. Father Lawrence was the Anglican Chaplain at Saint Mark's Church in Florence for many years, where he earned the moniker "Lawrence of Florence"! He returned to England a few years ago and now serves the vicar of St Barnabas in Hove and is also priest in charge at St Andrew’s, Hove. On top of that, he is the diocesan development officer for property sustainability issues and adviser for fundraising in the Diocese of Chichester.
Joshua Benjamin has arrived
Ira and Simon Benjamin are pleased to announce that Sophia now has a baby brother! Their son Joshua was born Saturday morning, 6th August, at 9.04am, weighing 7.9 pounds at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco.
The Rossi-DiGiacomo twins are here!
Susan & Carlo Rossi are delighted to announce that their daughter Tanya gave birth to two lovley twin girls on Sunday, 31st July in Nice. Chloé Rose (2.85 kg and 48 cm) was the first baby to arrive, pictured here on the right, and her sister Victoria Madison (2.7 kg and 47 cm), the second. Their father Vincent DiGiacomo and older brother Ryan were more than pleased to welcome them!
New Octogenarians at Saint Paul's
The Sunday congregation on 31st July was pleased to celebrate our two newest octogenarians at Saint Paul's. Lindsay Birrell (left) -- a sometime member of our community -- and the very faithful member of Saint Paul's, the lovey Regina Healy, pictured with her husband Michael. Happy birthday Lindsay & Regina!
Sarah and Stéphan are wed!
Joy filled the air at the Easun country home "La Gorra" on Saturday 9th July as Sarah Keable and Stéphan Mirc celebrated the blessing of their marriage in an open air chapel created for the occasion. Surrounded by family and friends, some travelling from the farthest corners of the planet, joined many from the Saint Paul's Church community on this truly great occasion! Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from the wedding.
Nick Humphreys is ready to work!
Report from Nick Humprheys: I wanted to give an update of progress of my preparation for the Guyana charitable teaching year for everyone at St Paul’s church who donated so generously to help me reach my fund-raising target.
I have just returned from the Isle of Coll, which is a small, very wet and very wind-swept island off the west coast of Scotland, where I have completed my training to go overseas. I have learned about how to survive in a very different environment to where I normally live and about how to teach.
I will be spending 12 months in the middle of the Guyanan rainforest doing primary school teaching in a small very rural village called Kato. This is a change to the original village where I was due to go but it is still very remote and is situated in the south west of the country.
I will be living in the school compound, with my volunteer partner
from Project Trust, where the living conditions are very basic, I will
spend the year using a pressure cooker, I will have no wifi, only
limited electricity and I will have to hand wash all my clothes (a
completely new experience for me – at the moment I put my clothes in the
washing basket and they miraculously reappear clean!).
During my training I was taught how to manage and teach a Guyanese primary school class, I was also told about the life in the country and safety risks I need to be aware of. The village I will be staying in is just on the border with Brazil and I will be teaching the same class for the duration of my stay.
Do you need a helping hand?
I am delighted to say that I am very close to reaching my fund-raising target but I still need to raise a few hundred euros. I am spending the next few weeks in Monaco and would like to offer my services to anyone who would like help of any nature (shopping, walking dogs, doing manual chores etc) in return for a donation. If you would like to get hold of me, please could you email Humphreys@monaco.mc or ring 0678 635 778.
I am feeling a mixture of excitement and also a bit of trepidation about my voyage into the unknown. I will keep you updated as best I can - although I am not sure how good the postal service is in the rainforest! - and will come and talk to everyone at St Paul’s when I get back. Many thanks again to everyone at St Paul’s for their support and generosity.
Wedding Saturday 9th July at La Gorra
Family and friends will gather on Saturday 9th July for the blessing of the marriage of Sarah and Stéphane Mirc, regular members of our 10:30 congregation. The blessing celebration will take place at the La Gorra farm in Saint Martin de Peille, home of Sarah's dear friends, Irene and William Easun and their children. Father Walter will officiate at the short ceremony and the guests will no doubt delight in a feast organised by expert cook Sarah!
Cyara-Oasis host the Long Beach Choir
The church filled with music fans for a wonderful choral and instrumental concert offered by the visiting Long Beach High School Choir and Orchestra. A varied and lovely programme of music, ranging from Renaissance to modern fair, won the enthusiastic appreciation of everyone present.
At the conclusion of the concert, Paul & Muriel Geraghty took pains to outline the mission of their non-profit ministry Cyara-Oasis. Click here for information about Cyara-Oasis.
PeaceJam with Rigoberta Menchù Tum
Emily Rolfe's report on the 2016 PeaceJam workshop (11-12 June) in Monaco:
On Saturday we met Rigoberta Menchù Tum and she taught us all about mother nature, and many Mayan beliefs about the sky and earth and regeneration of the cycle of life, which she spoke about in her speech. On Sunday I presented my project to Rigoberta and everyone present. They all seemed very impressed that I had raised 2700 euros alone selling cookies in church. She congratulated me and then I displayed my three paneled board with details on my project in the corridor of the Lycée Technique. Many people didn't know much about malaria and they were very shocked that it was a big issue. During my presentation I also read a poem I wrote to illustrate the effects of malaria and consequences.
Malaria, The Largest Killer In the World
Transmitted by its faithful messengers,
Like a tiny, invasive stranger.
As it breaks through the skin’s seam,
It enters the human bloodstream.
Every day, thousands of men, women and children
Are left unprotected, vulnerable and weakened
By the enemy that flows through their veins
And embodies death that will murder them in vain.
The killer may have already, consciously,
Decided the destiny of an unborn baby
That seeks protection in its mother’s infected womb,
While all we care about is the power to consume.
A child might be unwillingly battling to reach its fifth birthday.
Suffering, as the enemy takes more lives every day.
Deaths, caused by the lack of simple protection,
Whilst all we worry about is a strong wifi connection.
Children are left orphaned,
As the parasite deteriorated their families’ organs,
Snatched their neighbors’ souls
And already found other hosts to enroll.
Malaria, the largest killer in the world.
-Emily Rosie Rolfe
A truly special Father's Day celebration attracted a very large congregation to Saint Paul's Church on Sunday 19th June. The children in the Sunday Club took on much of the leadership of the service: welcoming the many who came in the door, giving the readings, leading the prayers, taking up the collection and distributing a special Father's Day gift to all the the dads in the church.
The main attraction for the service was the baptism of 2 baby girls, Olga (right) 9 months old, and Léa, 7 months old. Léa's mother Amy was herself baptised at Saint Paul's more than a few years ago! And about 80 family and friends joined her family to celebrate Léa's Christening. Olga's family has lived in Monaco for a few years, and a number of family and friends came out as well to support her on the day of her Baptism.
Léa is pictured her receiing the Light Of Christ, which her dad and mum, Jonathan and Amy Francart, received on her behalf.
The children in the Sunday Club lead special prayers for Father's Day, asking God to bless the fathers present and fathers everywhere. The children prayed "For fathers everywhere, who have given us life and love, that we may show them respect and love."
Father Walter told the story of "Jairus and his daughter" (Luke 8.41-42, 49-56) to the children (young and a little older) attending the service. He said Jairus, the father, was surprise to learn just how much God the Father loved him.
At the close of the service, the community at Saint Paul's took time to honour Anne Casey and her daughter Philippa, both of whom celebrate their birthdays in the coming week. Anne begins her 98th year on Wednesday, and her daughter Philippa is, of couse, much younger! The choir, which sang a magnificent motet during Communion, completed the celebration by singing the Blessing of Aaron for Anne & Philippa, and also for all of the fathers present for Father's Day at Saint Paul's!
Aline Porteus from the A Rocha centre at Les Courmettes, is staying on in Monaco to staff an activity centre at the annual environmental fair Monacology taking place through to Wednesday 15 June in the Port of Monaco. She is pictured here (left) with Dr Bob Sluka, A Rocha Marine Biologist, and (right) with students visiting the Monacology fair.
Honouring Her Majesty at Saint Paul's
A congregation of about 70 took part in a speciah service of thanksgiving in honour of the official 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. This joyful expression of thanksgiving featured familiar hymns, "Jerusalem" and "Guide me o Thou great redeemer" and a special birthday fanfare composed by Thomas Hewitt Jones for the occasion. Click here for a performance of the Fanfare on YouTube ...A Rocha environmental study centre "Les Courmettes" at Tourrettes sur Loup. Some members of the A Rocha delegation were students from Regent College in Vancouver, attending a course at Les Courmettes.
Dr Chris Walley, the Mediterranean Conservation Science Coordinator for A Rocha International, offered a very fine sermon, punctuated with a very dry and much appreciated sense of humour, reflecting that the respect, faithfulness, and generosity we owe the Queen must also be extended God and the world he created. Click here to listen to Dr Walley's sermon ...
Ben's Book certain to inspire
From www.monacolife.net (7 June 2016) ... N.B. Ben Rolfe is a member of the Saint Paul's Chaplaincy Council
MONACO PEOPLE: Monaco resident and endurance runner Ben Rolfe's autobiography Running High, Running Low, Running Long is out now…
It starts with a routine medical in 2004, when Ben Rolfe was told he wouldn’t see 40 unless he changed his lifestyle. An overweight, sedentary smoker, Ben had a young family and busy career with little time for anything else. Fast forward a decade, transforming himself from “fatty to fitty”, losing 35 kilos along the way, and you’ll see pictures of Ben crossing the finish line of the world’s toughest ultra-marathons, including the Ultra Trail of Mont Blanc and the Marathon Des Sables. He has also participated in Monaco’s 24-hour No Finish Line.
However, Ben’s biggest challenge came in 2013, when hit with life-changing news that his 11-year-old daughter, Alice, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The father of three decided to undertake his toughest test to date: to prove to Alice that anything was possible. One evening, departing from the bright lights of Monte-Carlo, he headed towards the mountainous terrain behind the Côte d’Azur to run an unsupported 100-km trail run.
For most hardened ultra-marathon runners this would be a feat in itself, but for Ben he had something else to prove: choosing to descend the rugged terrain he had already climbed and run the Cro Magnon Trail – the 130-km mountain trail ultra-race.
“I wanted to prove to my daughter, that even though she had a life-changing – and potentially life-threatening – condition, that she could do anything she wanted if she put her mind to it.”
Ben had already chronicled his adventures on pussyfooting around.net and was encouraged after his double-ultra to put his stories together in a book. “Having changed my own lifestyle, I hope my experience will encourage and inspire others to get off the couch and get outside.”
Running High, Running Low, Running Long is available in paperback and hard cover. Click here for the amazon.fr listing ...
The Smith family returned to Saint Paul's for a short visit on Sunday 5th June at the 10:30 a.m. service. Rhona & James Smith left Monaco to live in Perth, Australia, in the autumn of 2009. Their oldest daughter, Ella was born in Monaco and Christened at Saint Paul's as a baby. Click here for a photo from Ella's Baptism in 2008. Ella was pleased to introduce her little sister Jasmine who was born in Perth.
Emily wraps up her PeaceJam project
On 5 June, Emily Rolfe concluded her campaign to raise money for "Nothing but Nets" by selling delicious chocolat cookies at Saint Paul's after services. Click here to read the original report on Emily's project, for more informaiton.
Henny Wickes completes repairs to historic stole
On Sunday 5th June, Henny Wickes was pleased to present Father Walter with one of the historic stoles in the Saint Paul's collection, which she and a colleague have completely repaired. The stole had suffered serious wear and tear over the years and Henny, with the help of her colleague Brigitte Blais managed to repair the damage so that this beautiful piece of Anglican liturgical art can once again be used for services at Saint Paul's.
Brexit as seen from Saint Paul's, Monaco
The Church Times asked Anglican chaplains in other EU countries how the referendum debate was viewed by locals and expats. The results were published in the edition of 3rd June. Click on the photo for the Monaco response.
Art of Preaching Course in Rome
Mary de Vachon had to leave early on the last day of the course to catch her flight home to Nice, and she missed receiving her certificat for completing the course. Father Walter was pleased to present Mary with her certificate at the Sunday service on 5th June 2016 during which Mary offered the sermon she had worked to prepare in Rome (Click here to listen to Mary's sermon).
Archdeaconry Synod in Brittany
Approximately 120 Anglicans representing Anglican congregations throughout France and Monaco travelled to St-Jacut de la mer for the 10th annual meeting of the Archdeaconry Synod to take place at the historic St-Jacut Abbaye, in Brittany. St Paul's Archdeaconry Synod delegate Dani Carew is picture here (right) with synod delegates from Menton, Father David Hart and Valerie Aucouturier, aboard our flight to Rennes where we joined Samantha Stirling, our second lay delegate to synod, and a car was hired for the drive to St-Jacut.
"Migration" was the timely theme of the Archdeaconry Synod this year with two speakers bringing contrasting experiences of work with migrants and refugees in Europe. Max McClellan shared his own experience working on behalf of the United Society (USPG) and the Anglican Alliance, with refugees and migrants in Greece. Doris Peschke from the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe, provided more a geo-political report on the steady flow of refugees and migrants towards Europe, and Europe's attempts to respond to this crisis.
Synod was also blessed with daily Bible studies lead by the Revd Dr Richard Briggs, Old Testament scholar from Cranmer Hall, Durham University; and a report from Ian Carter outlining diocesan Safeguarding policy -- concerned with the safety of children and vulnerable adults in our churches -- for which he is now responsible as the new Safeguarding Officer for the Diocese in Europe.
One of the highlights of this year's Archdeaconry Synod the commissioning of a new lay reader, Patrick Sturges from Aquitaine, who is pictured here (back turned) with his chaplain, the Revd Gill Strachan (right), Suffragan Bishop David Hamid and his chaplain, the Revd Deacon Frances Hiller.
Earth Sunday celebrations at Saint Paul's took place on 8th May and were organised and led by the Sunday Club again this year. The Earth Sunday service began with the Baptism of the newest member of our Sunday Club, Freya Rose Llewellyn (5 months old), with the help of her older sister Aura. Freya's parents are Stuart and Lianne, and her godparents are Johanna & Dino Rossi.
Members of the Sunday Club gave a group reading of the story of the Creation (Genesis 1) and they provided an "Eco Challenge" in the place of the sermon, with each child representing one important element in God's creation: trees, water, air and more. A colourful poster helped illustrate their message, and the message was quite clear, politics aside, we have a responsibility and it is in our best interests to care for the beautiful world God has provided as our home.
During the service the children distributed seeded hyacinths in biodegradable pots to each of the households represented at the service; the Sunday Club children also served as greeters, helped take up the Sunday collection, and led the congregation in some very joyful singing!
We are particularly grateful to Mirella Favoury, our Sunday Club teacher, Nicole Feaster and Jonny Richardson for coordinating this year's Earth Sunday celebration. Click here for photos and video from the Earth Sunday service.
Dani Carew, one of our Archdeaconry Synod Delegates, and Delegate for France at the Diocesan Synod, was pleased to welcome representatives from the Anglican Churches on the Riviera (ACR) to the annual Ascension Day Picnic that took place in Orgues again this year, thanks to the hospitality of Peter and Shirley Mason.
The picnic began with the celebration of Ascension Day Holy Communion and continued with a delicious "bring and share" lunch in the Mason family gardens in Orgues.
New Bishop in Quebec
Father Walter was delighted to join other members of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd (OGS) and representatives from across the Anglican world for the consecration of Bruce Myers OGS as a Bishop in the Church of Christ on Ascension Day (5 May 2016). Bishop Bruce served his curacy as a newly ordained deacon with Father Walter at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City, where the consecration took place. Father Walter was honoured to assist the robing of the new bishop by placing the Bishop's Pectoral Cross and chain.
In November, Bishop Bruce was elected "coadjutor bishop with the right of succession" by the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec and he will become, God willing, the 13th Lord Bishop of Quebec when the current bishop retires in 2017.
Father Walter was honoured to assist, along with Commander Michael Healy, in the annual observance of ANZAC Day in Antibes. ANZAC Day commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served." Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. A new tradition in Antibes, this was the fourth year in which ANZAC Day was observed with the support of municipal government and the French and British veteran associations. Members of the Australian & New Zealand Defense Forces also participated in the ANZAC Day ceremonies which took place at 5:30 and 11 a.m.
The Annual General Meeting of Saint Paul's Church in Monte-Carlo* took place on Sunday 24 April following a shortened Sunday service. The meeting set something of a record for brevity, closing after a session of barely 30 minutes. The assembly found little in the annual reports to question or criticise.
People's Warden Tim Humphreys (pictured above left) was able to report on the Lift Project, to install a lift to ease access to the Saint Paul's Library for seniors and the disabled. He reported that the project had been stalled for awhile in the process of gaining government approval and the necessary permits. He and Association President Frank Megginson (pictured right) met recently with planning officials and they now believe the way will clear allowing work to begin by the Autumn of this year, with completion hopefully before Christmas.
*The AGM was the meeting of the Church of England chaplaincy of Saint Paul's, Monte-Carlo, and the Monaco cultural "Association de l'église anglicane de Saint Paul" which together share responsibility for the governance of our church. Click here for the electronic version of AGM Report & Accounts for 2015.
Two members of our chaplaincy community were elected to vacant seats on the Association and Chaplaincy Councils. Lay Reader Mary de Vachon (photo left) is a member of long standing at Saint Paul's. As a Lay Reader she is an ex-officio member of the Chaplaincy Council, and was elected at this year's AGM to the Association's Administrative Council as well. Tom Terrell (photo right, with his family) played a vital role in the organisation of a very successful ALPHA programme that took place at Saint Paul's in the autumn of 2014. He and his wife, Saphira -- and their one-year-old daughter Amadea -- are very faithful new members of our church community. Tom was elected to serve on both the Chaplaincy and Association Councils.
Chaplain's Warden, Rupert Katritzky, having completed his first 3-year term on the Association Council was elected to a second and final 3-year term on the Association Council, and he was returned to the Chaplaincy Council as well. Rupert is pictured below with Tim Humphreys, the People's Warden at Saint Paul's Church.
Easter Morning 2016 shone glorious at Saint Paul's, if not in sunny weather most surely in the hearts and minds of those attending Easter Sunday services.
The annual Easter Egg Hunt had a few new participants and helpers in 2016.
The expanded Saint Paul's Church choir lifted the hearts of the Easter Sunday congregation in worship and praise, singing wonderful music including the annual favourite "Glorious Saviour", words and music composed respectively by Patricia Cerrone, Choir Secretary, and Gottfried Kappen, Organist.
Here are links for the Easter Sunday recordings:
- Father Walter's Easter Sermon "Risen Indeed!" (begins with the last verse of the hymn "Jesus Christ is Risen Today!")
- "Glorious Saviour" - Patricia Cerrone, words, & Gottfried Kappen, music
- "Laudate Dominum" - W.A. Mozart - Saint Paul's Church Choir
- "Thine be the Glory" - G.F. Handel - Saint Paul's Choir & Congregation
- The Choral Blessing - The Saint Paul's Church Choir (in honour of Wilfred Groot's birthday)
- Trumpet and Organ Voluntary - Gottfried Kappen, organist
A Fond Fare-thee-well for Pasteur Meyer
Monaco's ecumenical community gathered Palm Sunday afternoon, 20th March, to bid a fond farewell to Pasteur Didier Meyer (pictured 4th from the right) who has faithfully served the Reformed Church communities in Monaco and Menton for the past 14 years. Members of the Reform Church congregation in Monaco and, on behalf of the ecumenical community, Archbishop Bernard Barsi, gave warm testimonials reflecting the deep respect and admiration which Pasteur Didier has garnered through his ministry in the Principality and our region.
Pasteur Meyer is leaving his ministry in Monaco and Menton to take up a new pastoral charge in Freiburg, Switzerland, and a group from Pasteur Didier's new congregation drove down from Freiburg to join in the farewell celebrations.
Once again the Anglican and Roman Catholic communities in Monte-Carlo joined forces for the annual celebration of the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday 20th March this year. Approximately 200 of the faithful flourished palms, sang songs and processed through the streets of Monte Carlo to celebrate the Palm Sunday tradition.
Click on the images (below) for larger versions ...
The Anglican Procession of the Palms returned to Saint Paul's Church for the annual reading of the Passion Gospel, telling the story of the arrest, trial, torture and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. Father Walter gave a meditation inspired by one of Saint Paul's beautiful stained glass Stations of the Cross.
At the end of the service, the congregation delighted in singing blessings for Amadea Turrell, pictured here with her parents, on the occasion of her very first birthday, with our version of the birthday song, "Happy birthday to you, to Jesus be true. May all of God's blessings abide within you."
An evening of Victorian harmonies
An enthusiastic audience filled Saint Paul's on Saturday evening, 19th March, for a magnificent performance of John Stainer's oratorio "The Crucifixion" -- one of the gems of the Victorian choral tradition. In addition to the oratorio, the choir sang the majestic "I saw the Lord" also by John Stainer, and a very new composition "In Paradisum" by Errol Girdlestone, music director of the Ristretto Vocal Ensemble and Orchestra. The audience was also treated to a wonderful demonstration of the range and textures possible from the newly refurbished church organ, thanks to a solo performance of Variations from Mendelsohn's 6th Sonata.
The Monaco Christian community came out in good numbers to attend an ecumenical celebration of Anglican Evensong at Saint Paul's Church on Sunday 6th March. This annual service of ecumenical prayer in the season of Lent has rarely attracted as many as it did this year and Père Patrick Keppel, Ecumenical Office for the Diocese of Monaco, was quick to suggest that the service of Lenten Prayer return to Saint Paul's in 2017.
Pictured above, second left to right, Archpriest Michel Seliniotakis, Greek Orthodox; Pastor Didier Meyer, Monaco's Église Réformée; Archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco; Pastor Gaston Claudel, Église Réformée; Canon Patrick Keppel, Diocese of Monaco; and Father Marc Gherardi, St Charles Church. Also present, not pictured, Père Radu Totelecan, Romanian Orthodox.
Most impressively the enlarged Saint Paul's Church Choir sang beautifully despite the challenge of the somewhat unfamiliar music of traditional Anglican Choral Evensong. Many attending commented not only on the beauty of the choral singing but on the much improved sound of the newly refurbished organ.
For more photos, including those from the Evensong reception, click here.
The children and young people in the Saint Paul's Sunday Club very capably helped lead Sunday worship on Mothering Sunday (6th March). The group pictured here led the congregation in prayers of thanksgiving and praise for the gift of our mothers. The service closed with the blessing and distribution of beautiful flowers to the mothers attending the Mothering Sunday service.
|Sofia helping hand out the flowers||Sonja's very first Mother's Day.|
For more photos, from Mother Sunday this year, click here.
Emily Rolfe took a few minutes at the end of the service on 28th February to present a project she has taken on in preparation for the annual Monaco "Peace Jam" Conference, that will take place over the weekend of 11-12 June. Each year PeaceJam honours one of the Nobel Peace Prize recipients, presenting a documentary on their life and work as part of the annual Monte-Carlo Television Festival. The series of PeaceJam conferences began 2 years ago with Archbishop Tutu as the guest honouree. This year PeaceJam will honour Rigoberta Menchu Tum who received the Nobel Peace prize in 1992 for her work as a peaceful advocate of native people's rights in Central America.
As part of the conference, the young participants are asked to develop a project to promote, in their own way, the goal of peace on our planet. Emily has chosen to focus her efforts on raising funds in support of the work of the UN foundation "Nothing But Nets". This charity provides mosquito bed netting to protect children in areas where malaria and now the zika virus are rampant.
To raise funds for this charity, Emily came to church with a tray full of delicious chocolat chip biscuits which she sold for €2 each for the charity. Biscuit lovers had to move quickly because the plate emptied in very short order, and Emily came away with quite a good start to her PeaceJam fund raising efforts. If you missed your chance to enjoy one of Emily's tasty biscuits, do not worry, more are being prepared for sale, following Sunday services at Saint Paul's in weeks to come -- and other children in the Sunday Club are pitching in to help as well. Great work Emily and good luck with your PeaceJam project!
On Sunday 28th February, our Sunday Club coordinator, Jonny Richardson was pleased to present Robie Angeles-Ramirez (centre) with a commemorative Bible in recognition of her work as our Sunday Club helper for the past 5 and a half years. Robie began this very special ministry at Saint Paul's in September 2010 and over the years has been on hand, week after week, to help our Sunday Club volunteer teachers with the Sunday lessons. Among other things, Robie sets up for Sunday Club sessions, often does the teaching herself, and helps the children learn the songs they sing for special services. Because our Sunday Club parents take turns leading the lessons each week, Robie has provided continuity from Sunday to Sunday. She knows all of the children really well, and the children have grown to love her very much. We wish Robie well as she moves on to other duties at her church in Nice, but she will be dearly missed!
A lecture on the life and work of the important Riviera architect Aaron Messiah (1858-1936) attracted the interest of many from the Riviera community on Thursday evening 25th February.
Messiah was the architect and builder of many important buildings on the Riviera including Saint Paul's Church which he began to design in 1914 and eventually supervised its construction in 1924. Daniel Jessula, Messiah's great grandson, introduced his illustrious ancestor's family history: the family's migration from exile from the Spain of Queen Isabella, to Gibraltar via Morocco, and eventually to settle in Nice, on the French Riviera. Mr Jessula also spoke about his great grandfather's character, work ethic, and interests.
Dr Judit Kiraly joined Mr Jessula for the public lecture, a student of the architecture on the Riviera, Dr Kiraly outlined the career of Aaron Messiah, focusing in particular on the many famous villas, gardens and public buildings designed by this great figure in the history of Riviera architecture.
Click here for more photos from this fascinating evening.
Recently, Henny Wickes brought two needlework specialists to visit Saint Paul's, her co-workers in the project to replace our communion rail cushions. (Click on the photo for a larger copy.)
It took the team of Henny Wickes, Jeanine Ontivero and Claudine Xhrouet from the Monaco needlework guild "De Fil en Aiguille" nearly 3 years of hard work to create these fine cushions. The cushions were modelled after those which Comptess Nina del Bove created for Saint Paul's in the 1950s and which had become worn and in need of replacement.
- Click here for a report from January this year on the final cushion
- Click here for a report from Easter Sunday on the new cushions
- Click here for a report from last March on the 'De Fil en Aiguille' guild
Organ builder Saverio Tamburini, photo right, is the fourth generation in his family to work with pipe organs. For the past few weeks he has undertaken a major restoration of the pipe organ at Saint Paul's Church. This restoration has involved a thorough cleaning of the instrument, replacement of the bellows and, most importantly, a complete re-wiring of the instrument to meet the requirements of the building code (the addition of grounding) and to bring the electronics of the instrument up to 21st century standards.
The work has taken up most of the month of February, with the result that on two Sundays (14 & 21 February) an electric piano was used to accompany the hymn singing and choral music at our 10:30 Sunday morning Family Communion service. Click here to visit the website of Fabbrica d'organi Tamburini.
Nick Humphreys, who grew up in Monaco and was an active member of our Sunday Club, returned to Saint Paul's on the First Sunday in Lent, 14 February, to present the congregation with his plans for a very special "gap year".
For many young people, a gap year (a year out of school, usually between secondary school and college) is little more than an excuse to travel the world, gather experiences, and spend a lot of time partying.
Nick Humphreys has a very different idea about his own gap year opportunity. Recruited by the highly rated and respected charity "Project Trust" last September, Nick will spend a full year (2016-17) making an important contribution as a volunteer primary school teacher working with the children in the small Anglican village of Chenapowu in a rain forest in Guyana. Click here to read more about Nick's gap year project with the chatity Project Trust.
Nick now needs to raise 6,000 GBP to finance his year of teaching in Guyana. If you have it in your heart to encourage and support Nick in this truly noble gap year project, click here to make a donation online. You can also send us your cheque, made out to Saint Paul's Church, with a note indicating that the donation is for Nick's gap year project.
On Monday, 1st February, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco paid a much appreciated visit to Saint Paul's to attend a cocktail fundraiser for the new Library Lift. Prince Albert has agreed to serve as the Honorary Patron for the Lift Campaign and kindly made himself available for this fundraising event.
No doubt thanks to the patronage of our Prince, the fundraising campaign got off to an excellent start with more than €52,000 raised as a direct result of this cocktail fundraiser.
The proposed Library Lift will make it easier for the elderly and the disabled to attend events and meetings in the Church Library (our parish hall). The lift will be located beside the church with access from the street level just beyond the "east end" of the building and all the way down to the level of the Library floor. Click here for more information about the Library Lift.
Click here for the Monaco Life news report on the cocktail fundraiser.
Kindly note, the organising committee was given only one week to put together a cocktail for HSH Prince Albert, and in the limited space of the Chaplain's Apartment. Sadly, this meant that not everyone who should have been, could in fact be invited. The original plan was to hold a major event with His Serene Highness in attendance in the church itself, for 100-150 guests representing all of the groups that make use of the Library, but time simply did not make this a reasonable option on such very short notice.
Because Shrove Tuesday this year comes during the school winter break, the Sunday Club chose the Feast of Candlemas to celebrate the annual pancake party, with a pancake lunch on Sunday 31 January, 2 days before Candlemas.
A special collection was taken at the end of the church service and during the lunch in support of the World Day of Lepers and the work of the Fondation Raoul Follereau. More than 1,400€ were collected for this important cause.
Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from this year's Pancake Lunch.
The Sunday Club families were hard at work on Saturday afternoon, 30 January, to prepare for the next day's Sunday Club Candlemas service. This year the children decorated candles which were blessed and given out to the congregation during the Candlemas service.
Santina Morrelli was happy to join the Sunday Club chorus for the singing of "Shine Jesus Shine" at the close of this year's Candlemas Service.
Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from the Candlemas service.
The 2016 edition of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January) was launched with an ecumenical prayer service unique in the world because of its setting: The International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo. Clergy and faithful attending the service represented a wide range of Christian traditions from along the French and Italian Riviera. Three of this year's circus festival acts participated in the service adding a dynamic lift to our collective worship!
Click here for more of Simon Wynne's photos from this year's Circus Church!
On Sunday 17 January our 10:30 Sunday congregation was pleased to welcome Jean-François Mouhot and his family. Jean-François is the director of the A Rocha International field study centre at Domaine les Courmettes above Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Founded in 1983 by Fr Peter Harris, an Anglican vicar from Merseyside, A Rocha is an international Christian nature conservation organisation. The first field study centre was set up in Portugal, hence the name which means ‘the rock’ in Portuguese. A Rocha now has a presence in 19 countries on five continents where it undertakes scientific studies, practical environmental conservation work and educational activities.
Domaine les Courmettes is one of two study centres operated by A Rocha France. It is a private property of 600 hectares, open to the public, with the Pic de Courmettes rising to 1248 m. Les Courmettes provides outstanding views of the Mediterranean and the Mercantour massif, and the trails on the property take hikers through forest and habitat that includes ancient oak trees dating back more than a thousand years.
Jean-François gave a brief overview of A Rocha and Domaine les Courmettes, and then concluded with a reflection on Psalm 36, the psalm of the day. He affirmed that the love of God can be understood in the terms of God’s creation: it is as high as the highest heaven, as deep as the deepest ocean, and as solid as the mighty mountains ...
Hopefully, Jean-François’ visit will lead to an important relationship between A Rocha Domaine les Courmettes and Saint Paul's, and many attending the service expressed the desire to visit the A Rocha site (about an hour’s drive from Monaco) and get to know the work of A Rocha better, possibly sharing in some of its conservation and educational activities.
The Congregation on Sunday 10 January took time to admire and dedicate new cushions for Saint Paul's Church. More than 30 cushions have recently been installed to replace worn and tattered cushions in the side aisle pews, choir loft and Baptistery. However, the main focus of our attention was the dedication of a beautiful new cushion completing the set of three for the Communion Rail in our church -- the first two cushions in the set were dedicated at Easter.
Henny Wickes (above right) lead the project to create the new cushions which took nearly three years to complete. Jeanini Ontivero and Claudine Xhrouet joined Henny in the creation of the new set of Communion Rail cushions and with Henny are members of "De Fil en Aiguille Monaco". This prestigious needlework guild was created at the request of Prince Rainer, 27 years ago, in order to complete several beautiful needlework projects that Princess Grace had undertaken but were left unfinished with her untimely death. Princess Caroline inherited her mother’s passion for needlework and serves to this day, as the honorary president of the guild.
Comptesse Nina del Bove (above left) joined Henny Wickes for the dedication of the newest Communion Rail cushion. Nina created the original cushions in the 1950s and helped Henny copy the pattern used in the original set for the creation of the new cushions. We hope that these beautiful cushions will serve for yet another 50 years or more and become an important part of our material heritage at Saint Paul's Church.
Lindsay and David Fast were delighted to welcome the birth of their first child, Kennedy Kathleen Fast, on 12th December, weighing in at 7lbs 9oz. Many will remember Lindsay and David who were active members of Saint Paul's during their 2-year stay in the Principality. They returned to Florida a year ago.
Congratulations to Heather and Tony van Ekris on the publication of a full page article (click here or on the image above) in the world's largest wine magazine "La Revue du Vin de France" giving the coveted "coup de Coeur" to their Château Mille Anges, Côtes de Bordeaux 2012. Heather and Tony are members of Saint Paul's Church and the proprietors of Château Mille Anges, Bordeaux.
Children's Christmas Eve Christingle
The annual celebration of the children's Christingle service has become a much loved and very popular Christmas Eve event at Saint Paul's. Children accompanied by parents and grandparents take great delight in this simple ceremony that includes a procession around the church with the Baby Jesus, placing him in his manger bed in the Saint Paul's Crèche.
The Christingle work party ...
Bringing Baby Jesus to the Crèche
The service concludes with the lighting of the candied Christingle oranges, symbolic of the bright light of Christ reaching out to the four corners of the globe. Singing "Gloria in excelsis Deo", we carry out the bright light of our Christian Hope flowing forth from our celebration of Christmas and spreading in loving charity all around the world.
The Carol Service inspires ...
A joyful congregation filled Saint Paul's again this year, and found inspiration waiting for them at our annual Christmas Carol Service. The church, beautifully decorated, was bathed in the warm glow of the new LED lighting system installed in the days before the service.
The Saint Paul's Choir sang a beautiful Carol Service with music drawn from the traditional "Carols at Kings" repertory and that featured, among other gems, a wonderful rendition of "The Seven Joys of Mary". The service concluded with a magnificent solo performance of "Let the Bright Seraphim" from Handel's oratorio "Samson" featuring Liesel Jürgens, soprano, Hervé Feraud, trumpet, and Gottfried Kappen, organ. Click here for a video of this magnificent Carol Service finale!
Father Walter was very pleased to welcome fellow clergy in Monaco to the annual Carol Service. Archbishop Bernard Barsi (second right) rarely misses the Carol Service. Beside him (right to left), Father David Hart, Anglican Chaplain in Menton; Pastor Didier Meyer, French Reform Church of Monaco; and Father Marc Gherardi, Pastor of Saint Charles Catholic Church up the hill from Saint Paul's. Pastor Meyer attended his last Carol Service this year, as he will soon leave the Principality to take up new work as a Reform Church pastor in Fribourg.
As always the congregation thronged into the Library for the annual and much appreciated traditional English Christmas Reception. Once again this year, Helen Tugman (photo upper left) took the lead in organising the Carol Service reception, with the help of Jane Roffe and a truly wonderful team of volunteers!
Click here for more photos from this year's Carol Service and reception.
The story of a band of kings wandering the Judean countryside in search of a new born king was the theme for this years hugely successful Sunday Club Nativity Play. Director (and script writer) Jonny Richardson (pictured above) distributed spoken parts to most of the cast members and, with the help of their parent coaches, they mastered their lines and delivered them very well!
The cast of this year's very enjoyable Nativity Play are pictured here waiting for the play to begin. Parents Nikki Johnson, Vanessa Turco and Natsha Chisholm stand ready as the stage managers of the performance, without their hard work, this year's Nativity Play success would simply not have been possible.
Click here for more photos and film footage from this year's Nativity Play.
The Saint Paul's Sentons ...
Several teams of volunteers contributed to preparing Saint Paul's for the special pre-Christmas celebrations that made 13 September the biggest Sunday of the year at Saint Paul's. Several volunteers helped with the decoration of the church and the Christmas tree. Gillian Flint-Johnson and Jane Roffe spent an entire morning setting up the traditional Crèche with Santons that Anne-Marie Bolla and her mother created over some 50 years -- on loan to Saint Paul's since 2011. Indeed, many hands helped "deck the halls" at St Paul's again this year.
Despite a soaking rain, the 2015 - 46th edition of the Ecumenical Kermesse was a great success. It's believed that the weather and other events in Monaco cut the overall number of visitors to this year's Kermesse. However, income at the Saint Paul's Coffee, Drinks and Cake stand just managed to break the all time record of income for our stand, set the previous year.
Congratulations to the many Saint Paul's volunteers serving not only at the Coffee, Drinks and Cake stand, but at many of the other stands offering everything from household jumble, electronic gadgetry, books and seasonal delights at this year's Ecumenical Kermesse.
Archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco (second right) joined clergy representing the various traditions that make the Ecumenical Kermesse "ecumenical", for the annual clergy lunch offered by the Greek and Spanish cultural organisations at the Kermesse -- with coffee and drinks from Saint Paul's!