October, 31, 2002
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
The last two months have been very full of activities. Now that we are in the middle of Fall, all of us are well situated in their daily routine.
The last part of August and the beginning of September Fred Coutts, our creative Webmaster, and I worked hard in reorganizing and updating the Web page. I am sure that most of you have noticed the changes that have enriched our “image” to the outside world. Now there is a page describing the Network Committee, together with a coordinator’s page where this and all the monthly reports can be accessed. There is an updated and rich description of “Contacts”. We decided to create a “Euro Chaplains’ News” page so that events from all the participating representative groups could be posted. We also created a “Links” page, which gives the opportunity for others to be linked up with us and us with them. The “Yahoo Group” was also placed on the menu as a way of providing an open discussion concerning healthcare chaplaincy. With this “new look”, we have a tool that can make our Network remain in the mainstream of events, a tool where we can all learn about and learn from each other.
On the 14th of September, I drove to Istanbul to mix business with pleasure. My wife and I were able to spend a few days travelling in Central Anatolia, reaching a small fishing village on the Black Sea. The view there was so peaceful that we did not have the heart to leave. On the 21st of September, we were back in Istanbul to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, where I presented him with the “official document” of the Euro Standards. A full description of our meeting can be found on the Web’s News page (www.eurochaplains.org/patriarch.htm).
Returning back the last week of September was a bit hectic. The sense that I get from everyone I have personally communicated with the Network is that we all returned from our summer escapades to an intense workload. I have spent the past few weeks writing an article for the Journal of Christian Bioethics. The Journal is going to publish an issue on ecumenical healthcare chaplaincy. My article pertains to the Orthodox perspective of healthcare chaplaincy amidst the tensions of ecumenism. The Journal agreed to publish a critical review of the European Standards for Healthcare Chaplaincy. This will be the first evaluation of our Network by a third party. I am confident that the evaluation will be impressive, as I have only received positive feedback from all that have visited our Web page and read our standards. The issue on ecumenical healthcare chaplaincy will be published in the Fall of 2003 (!), so we must all remain “in patience” until the issue is published.
In compiling the “contacts” list, two questions have arisen which must be clarified: “Who recognizes our chaplaincy organizations?” and “Who recognizes the ENHCC?” These questions must be answered in order for us to make any real progress in the European Community, the World Council of Churches, the Council of European Churches, and the international pastoral care and chaplaincy organizations. I have attached a small questionnaire for you to answer. It basically asks these two questions. I know your work load is complex and difficult, but I stress the importance of your response.
Keeping all of you in my daily thoughts, I await your response
Fr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)