August 19, 2003
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
Most of Europe has suffered under the heat wave that caused so many complications and caused the lives of so many people. When I was serving as priest of the Red Cross Hospital of Athens in 1986, we had a similar heat wave and I remember the many difficulties that we had to encounter on a hospital and pastoral level. We in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean amazingly did not suffer the heat as most of you did, but my own personal experience can allow me to sympathize with all who had to undergo the difficulties that these conditions brought on.
This summer has been very busy for the members of the Network Committee. As I mentioned in my last letter, there were changes made both in the Network Committee and in the place of the upcoming 2004 Consultation. It was decided that the Eighth Consultation take place in Dublin, Ireland. Chaplains Kathleen O'Cooner of the Health Care Chaplaincy Board of Ireland and Director of Pastoral Care Adelaide & Meath Hospital, Incorporating the National Children's Hospital, of Dublin and Fr. Bryon Nolan of the National Association of Hospital Chaplains and Hospital Chaplain of the Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, offered to organize the upcoming Consultation with great enthusiasm. The Network Committee will be meeting in Dublin in a few weeks (September 5th - 8th) for its annual committee meeting to start planning the Consultation.
With this change, there were changes in the composure of the Network Committee. Being that Michael Moller-Herr of Germany is not involved in hospital chaplaincy and thus not a member of his association, Marlene Inauen of Switzerland, who was serving as an alternate member, replaced him. Fr. Bryon will be joining the Committee as co-organizer of the next consultation. In the mean time, the Conference of Health Care Chaplaincy in the Protestant Church of Germany (E.K.D.) appointed Chaplain Kathrin Jahns to replace Michael. We have all been impressed by Kathrin's eagerness to become part of the Network. She was placed on the Committee as an alternative member taking Marlene's position. (Kathrin, on behalf of all of the representatives, please accept our whole-hearted welcome!)
I have asked all the members of the ENHCC Committee to send me a list of topics that we should discuss in the upcoming Committee meeting in Dublin. I would like to expand this invitation to each and every one of you. If you have something that you think should be placed on the agenda of our meeting, place get it to me as soon as possible.
Again, I would like to encourage you to make use of the news page of our web site. We have had many responses about the site and it is becoming an active spot for chaplains all over the world. By including your meetings, conferences, or even the issues of pastoral health care and chaplaincy you are facing, the you personally will be a source of companionship for many and the site will be a source of sharing.
For we are all co-workers in God's pasture and we are co-sharers "in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel". We are all "bearers of the news of the boundless riches of Christ," and thus we hold the holy responsibility of "mak(ing) everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that, through the church, the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known" (Ephesians 3:6-10).
With these thoughts I remain,
Father Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)