|Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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Anglican Church of All Saints, Puerto de la Cruz 

The Diocese in Europe, of which we are a part, is an Anglican diocese that comes under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, in common with all the Anglican chaplaincies in towns and cities across Europe (and in Morocco) our chaplaincy here is privileged to welcome a great variety of international visitors, as well as people from the UK.

We are in fact quite a diverse collection of folk. On a Sunday morning you will hear regional accents from across the UK, as well as Spanish speakers and visitors from Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe. We are open to anyone who wants to take part in an English language service, or who just wants to relax in the presence of God, and we aim to be a fully inclusive community.

Our church is also home to the local German Lutheran congregation, who hold a service here every Sunday afternoon. I always try to go along to that, if my diary permits, and it is lovely to be able to worship with them, despite my ropey German.

And on the topic of international relations, it is confession time. I have had to admit to many people that I don’t really have any hobbies – a six-day-a-week job doesn’t leave much time for them. But I do enjoy watching a game of football, whether in a stadium or on television. So in these weeks of the World Cup I am once again feeling that strange intermingling of incautious optimism and grinding pessimism that is the lot of every England fan.

I grew up within earshot of Brighton and Hove Albion’s ground, and am still stunned that they are heading for a second season in the Premier League. Having then moved to Oxford (a typical second division team) I am well used to disappointment. But football has been a wonderful escape mechanism for me. You really can’t think of anything else when you are struggling to keep warm in an open stand in the middle of an English winter. And while working overseas, I once travelled a long way to watch a Premier League game being shown in a huge tent somewhere in rural Tanzania. To this day my only word of Swahili is “penalt”, which we shouted with great enthusiasm.

Another confession: the best day of my life was when the BBC invited me to read the football results on Radio 5’s Sports Report, alongside the late James Alexander Gordon. But that’s another story.

It is lovely to be here among people of different back-grounds and outlooks. Please don’t feel that “the English church” is just for the English (or Scottish, Welsh or Irish). Everyone is welcome.

Revd Dr Paula Clifford (chaplain) Tel. 922 38 40 38

Email: paulaclifford4@g-mail.com