September 26, 2003
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
Some twenty days have passed since the Network Committee met in Dublin, Ireland. For many reason, it seems to me that it was just yesterday. The meeting took place at DCU (Dublin City University), which was also the location of our residence. The site was chosen as an experimental trial run for the upcoming Consultation that will take place next year (Sept. 2004) in Dublin. Being the host of Chaplain Kathleen O'Connor was delightful. Allow me to thank her, on behalf of all the representatives of the Network, for all the preparation, the time and effort in making our committee meeting a success!
The members of the Network Committee that attended were Rev. Kirsti Aalto (Finland), Rev. Fred Coutts (Scotland), Chaplain Kathleen O'Connor (Ireland), myself. Rev. Kathrin Jahns, our new and energetic alternative member, who came and took the place of Marlene Inauen. Unfortunately, Marlene was not able to attend due to illness. During one of our sessions, Fr. Byron Nolan came and offered helpful input.
The members of the Committee worked very hard for two full days, investing many long hours into long deliberations, which lasted way into the night. Our last session ended on Monday at 12:45 a.m.!!!!!
The basic issues that we discussed were:
1) A review and update of the participants of the ENHCC and clarification as to their status. There are several countries that have participated in the past consultations and are presently not represented. There are also representatives who are still on the list of contacts, even though their status has changed in relation to their national church /organization/association. We also talked about the possibilities of making contact with new participants, as well establishing links with other organizations that deal with health care chaplaincy.
2) The Standards document and how it has been received at large. It was decided that this issue should be discussed at the upcoming consultation.
3) Future aims and goals of the ENHCC and how the Network can reach out directly to all chaplains (apart from their representatives), particularly in the area of continued education and "scientific" research.
4) The Web site of the ENHCC. Thanks to the hard work of our web master, Rev. Fred Coutts, our web site has become a resource for many throughout the world! ALL MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO OFFER NEWS TO THE WEB PAGE ABOUT THEIR VARIOUS ACTIVITIES, CONFERENCES, MEETINGS, OR NEWS ABOUT HEALTH CARE IN THEIR RERESENTATIVE COUNTRIES! We recognize the problem of language but we would like to assure all who have a problem with English that we are very willing to help. (Don't be embarrassed in sending something that is not perfect!)
5) Finances. Some contributions have been made to the ENHCC from England, Scotland, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and Finland. As was decided in Turku, each participant will be asked to contribute a participation fee, which will be included in the registration fee at each consultation. Details have to be worked out about opening a bank account and there will be some effort made in finding an EEC program that can help subsidise our efforts. You will receive details on the fee with the announcement for the Dublin Consultation.
6) Roel Hekking of the Netherlands, who has served on the Network Committee for the past year, has resigned. Taking his place will be Rev. Edward Lewis of England. Rev. Lewis has a wide experience in the area of health care chaplaincy and particularly in issues regarding chaplaincy on a multi-cultural level. His presence will be a great asset to us all.
7) Workings of the Network - the need for a constitution. In order for the Network to function as an official body, it was decided that there is a need for a constitution that will provide the guidelines for its administration. A draft was written and will be proposed at the upcoming Consultation. This draft will be sent to you in due time so that you can become familiar with it and be prepared to comment on it in Dublin.
8) The upcoming Eighth Consultation of the ENHCC, which is to take place in Dublin between the 1st-5th of September 2004. The theme of the Consultation was set and the program planned. You will be receiving the first announcement for the Consultation in a few weeks giving you all this information. I will offer more information to keep you in suspense.
Some of these issues will be addressed in separate messages as they develop. Our web master, Rev. Fred Coutts, will be posting some of this information on the website, together with pictures of our meeting. (Don't be deceived when you see them. We really DID work hard!
Hoping that all of you are well, I remain,
Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)