Institution of the Venerable Dr Brian Russell as Senior Chaplain of the Anglican Chaplaincy, Norway
Brian Russell, who for the past eight years has been Archdeacon of Aston in the Birmingham Diocese, was instituted as Senior Chaplain of the Anglican Chaplaincy in Norway at a service in St Edmund’s Church, Oslo, on Saturday 25 January 2014.
The church was full, as members of the local Anglican congregation were joined by clergy and laity from the other Anglican churches in Norway and representatives from the Lutheran Church of Norway and other Christian churches. In addition, three bishops were present: the Rt Revd David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese in Europe, who preached, presided and conducted the institution; our own Bishop David Urquhart and the Rt Revd Ole Chr. Kvarme, Lutheran Bishop of Oslo. Brian and Pam his wife, were joined by Margaret, Brian’s sister, who had travelled from Gozo and their daughter, Sarah, who is based in London. Liz Howlett was also there, representing those who have worked with Brian in the Ministries and Mission Learning departments over the years.
As Senior Chaplain, Brian now has main responsibility for St Edmund’s in Oslo, a church with a diverse congregation in terms of age and ethnicity. The assumption might be that an Anglican church in Norway would consist of expats from the UK. There are certainly some in the congregation, but also others who come from a wide range of backgrounds, including English speaking students studying in Oslo. The Senior Chaplain works with three Assistant Chaplains, who are based in Anglican churches in other towns in Norway – Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim. They were present at the service, as were two of the Readers who minister in Norway and a Churchwarden from each of the four congregations.
After the service, about 70 people attended a reception, which was held at the British Ambassador’s residence, a beautiful, spacious old building which had once been a private home, but has been lived in by British Ambassadors since 1905, the year in which Norway became independent from Sweden. Each of the Bishops spoke during the reception, as did the Revd Barbara Moss, the Area Dean for Nordic countries, who is based in Gothenburg in Sweden. Brian has had a long association, over 25 years, with Scandinavia, involving contacts with Lutheran churches and has made many friends in that time. One of these, Johannes Lodberg , who had formerly been the Secretary to the Bishop’s Council for the Lutheran Church of Norway, gave Brian a presentation copy of the new Norwegian hymnbook during the reception.
We in Birmingham Diocese wish Brian well in this next stage of his ministry, giving thanks to God for all that Brian has given to us over the years, and asking God to bless him and Pam richly in all that they do in their new home and congregation and country.