Last December I came to St. Alban’s Strasbourg to license The Revd. Dr. Mark Barwick as Chaplain. Returning this September, I was again struck by the loveliness of the Dominican chapel in which the community gathers. And this time it was a joy to see the evident flourishing of the highly diverse international community under Mark’s care.
The specific reason for my visit was to license two new Readers, to serve alongside David Cowley (foreground), who has been a Reader at St. Albans for over 20 years.
Catherine Emezie (left) has worked for the Council of Europe for nearly 20 years. She is the founder of an ecumenical Bible Study, which she has built from just a handful of women in the beginning to a major, well-attended event. Ozichi Baron (right) also works for the Council of Europe. She has been involved in music and youth work at the chaplaincy.
Ozichi (left) and Catherine (right) have heroically completed the six modules of Reader training in just over two years, compared with our expected three. They combined their study with significant family and work responsibilities, sometimes studying in the early hours of the morning to do this. They have relied on supportive spouses. They have evidently been a great encouragement to each other. They represent new, younger Reader candidates who embody the future of ministry in our Diocese.
It was a big day for them both. Catherine’s family (above) had travelled from the UK and Germany to celebrate with her.
St. Albans has great potential for growth in this important university city and political centre. Its diversity reflects the multi-cultural nature of Strasbourg’s English speakers. Pray for Mark Barwick (second left), with his team of Readers and Bishop Vanuste (top right) as they lead and nurture this dynamic community.