June 2, 2009
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
One year has passed since we were together in Estonia at the 10th Consultation of our Network. Fond memories continue to go through my mind, memories of each and every one of you, special times of working and playing together in harmony.
The year that passed has been a very busy year for all of us I am sure. Personally, the winter was a bit harsh on me, as I came down with various viruses that were very tiring to say the least. Now that the harsh winter is over and we are entering the warmth of the summer months, it is time to rejuvenate our networking.
On a European governmental level, this will be happening in a very dynamic way! On the 9th of June, together with Liégeois and Anne Vandenhoeck, I will be meeting with the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the EU Commissioner for Public Health, Ms. Despina Spanou. We also have scheduled a meeting with Jorge César das Neves, Adviser European Commission, BEPA Dialogue with Religions, Churches and Communities of conviction. Finally, we will have a meeting with Rev Rüdiger Noll, Director and Assistant General Secretary of the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches. These meetings will focus on informing these important figure-heads on the development of chaplaincy in Europe and finding better ways in working together.
In a separate mail, you have already received a letter from me which addresses the concerns of influenza outbreaks. Again I ask that you report any action that your chaplaincy has taken regarding this issue so that we can inform all the participants of the Network.
Our webmaster, Fred Coutts, has been busy restructuring our website. I is slowly taking on a new look. There, though, has been a slump from participants in sending news items to us so that they can be posted. I would like to encourage you to do so.
Together with this, I would also ask that you inform me of national conferences held by your chaplaincy. I have received only a few such notices from national chaplaincies after Estonia. As you know, in the past, I have tried sending greetings to most of the conferences. As many of you have stated, this has served as an important means of communication, a way in which the Network can reaching out to all the chaplains of Europe.
Finally, you will be receiving a letter within the next few days regarding a new project that the Network Committee agreed on. We will be asking that a representative of each of your chaplaincies write a small description of end of life issues in your country. This will serve as a follow-up from the Estonian Consultation and a way in which our "networking" can be strengthened even more. This will also serve as a basis for a transatlantic project with the American Association of Professional Pastoral Counsellors.
In closing, I would like to greet all of you with sincere friendship. In these difficult times, it is important that we communicate on a regular basis, finding strength in one another so as to continue the work we have been blessed to do.
Rev. Fr. Stavros K. Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)
171 24 Nea Smyrni,
Phone: +30-6944 57 3625
Fax: +30 – 210 93 74 217
Website : www.eurochaplains.org