July 6, 2007
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
On the 17th of June, I took part in a meeting held by the Office of the EU's Commissioner for Public Health regarding “Palliative Care in Europe”. This meeting was initially suggested by the ENHCC when we presented our statement on Palliative Care to the Director of the Commissioner's office, Mr. Margaritas Schinas, this past autumn.
The meeting had some drawbacks. Most of the NGOs invited did not come. It seems that this was because of poor planning from the EU. I myself had a hard time finding a place to stay because of special events that were taking place in Brussels at that time.
The positive aspects of the meeting were that:
1) we were present and recognized by the EU Commissioner's Office
2) we were able to come in contact with two very important people:
a. Dr Agis Tsouros – Head of the Centre for Urban Health of the World Health Organizations – Regional Office for Europe.
Dr Agis Tsouros John Bowis
After a lengthy discussion by those who attended, it was decided that a general meeting for palliative care should be held under the Slovakian Presidency (which is to start in six months). Before that, another meeting should take place to plan this event.
In my individual discussion with Dr Tsouros, it became obvious that chaplaincy is not well known on an organizational level. Dr Tsouros was very receptive to our work and he expressed the desire to see how spiritual care can be incorporated into WHO projects.
Representative Bowis also expressed interest in the ENHCC and saw our presence at the meeting and the development as something very positive.
What is important is that with our continual presence in these type of meetings, even more people become more aware of the necessity of chaplaincy and are introduced to the professional aspects of our work.
It appears that the Network Committee may be meeting in Brussels this October. If this comes through, I hope to be able to arrange a meeting with the Office Director of CEC and maybe with Rep. Bowis. Our united presence is most impressive.
It was good to receive the first announcement for our 10th Consultation in Estonia. Naathan is well underway in his preparations. Oh my! It only seems like yesterday that we left Lisbon!!!
My wishes for a pleasant summer vacation,
Rev. Dr. Stavros Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)
171 24 Nea Smyrni,