June 11 2003
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
Over the past few months, the Network Committee and I have been at work on many levels. We have also encountered some developments that have set new challenges before us.
1) The Network was represented at the American Conference of Heath Care Chaplaincy that took place in Canada this past February. I, for personal reasons, was not able to attend. Michael Moeller-Herr, of Germany, offered to go at his personal expense. Even though I have thanked Michael for his continuation in a personal letter, I again want to thank him for his contribution. It seems that the ENHCC was well received by the delegates of the Conference. I will be writing to George Handzo, the Director of the American Association of American Association of Professional Chaplains, to follow up on the contacts made by Michael.
2) The Network established contact with the Council of European Churches. More specifically, I have exchanged several messages with the President of CEC, Metropolitan Iereneos of Switserland and the Rev. Dr. Keith Clements, the General Secretary of the CEC. They both were very responsive to the ENHCC and invited us to take part in the upcoming Conference in Norway. Because of the costs involved, the Network Committee decided that our participation in the conference would not be possible. I tried to make arrangements that our committee meeting, which is to take place this coming September, take place in Geneva. In this way, we could have met with both the President and the General Secretary. This unfortunately was not possible because of changes being made at the Orthodox Ecumenical Institute and Metropolitan Iereneos’ program. Such a meeting will be reevaluated and could take place in 2004.
3) This leads us to another problem: finances. As was discussed in Turku, the lack of any type of budget limits the activities of the ENHCC. This was made obvious in relation to the CEC Conference. The Scottish Association of Chaplains in Health Care and the Hospital Chaplaincies Council of the General Synod of the Church of England have made a generous contribution to the ENHCC. The Association of Catholic Health Care Chaplains in German Speaking Switzerland have also indicated the possibility of a contribution. It would be good if other delegations followed the examples of our fellow chaplain associations. If this is a possibility, let me know and I will inform you on how this can be done.
4) There have been some changes that have affected the make up of the Network Committee itself. Michael Moeller-Herr is no longer serving as a hospital chaplain and is not on his association’s board. This change has brought some complications in the organization of the next consultation. Also, Roel Hekking is no longer on the board of his association. It is not clear if he will represent of his chaplaincy in the Network. Because of this, Marlene Inauen has been asked to become a full member of the Committee. The Committee is scheduled to meet in September in Aberdeen, Scotland. In the mean time, we are working out the details of where the Consultation will be held, and foremost, who is going to organize it.
The Network is becoming a very active group. There are many difficulties that we most overcome, both as a consolidated body and as separate (national and ecclesiastical) organizations. What we must keep in mind is that the Network is ours, that we make it up, that it is a tool that we can all use in order to help our chaplaincies grow in every way. The Network is not to be “served but to serve”. In order for the Network to serve its purpose as stated in the Cretan Declaration, to serve others, it is up to each of us to utilize it to its fullest - I dare say to “believe” in it, to take it to heart. With that in mind, I would like to reconfirm my willingness to make this happen, to assist your chaplaincy in anyway possible. I look forward to your reflections and input.
Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)