October 2, 2009
Dear Fellow Chaplains,
I hope that your summer was a relaxing one and that all of you found time to get away from your strenuous schedule. I also wish you well as this autumn season begins, praying that your ministry will be fruitful.
A few weeks ago, between the 10th and 14th of September, the members of the Network Committee of the ENHCC met in Constantinople (Istanbul), being hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. All of us worked very hard, discussing matters that concern the works and future of our Network.
Specifically, we reviewed the “legal” standing of the Network and discussed the need to establish a more permanent bank account. We are exploring possibilities, the main one being in the Netherlands, via the VGVZ, which is a strong chaplaincy organization that has been a longstanding participant of the ENHCC. We also decided that there is a need to appoint a treasurer. This will be proposed in the upcoming London Consultation in 2010 by way of an amendment to the constitution. You will be informed more of this as we approach the London event.
We spent time evaluating the last Consultation in Estonia, commending the Estonia Chaplaincy and Naatan Haamer especially for its planning and organization.
In discussing the conclusions of the Estonia Consultation, it was decided that we ask all the participants of the Network to write a short overview regarding end of life issues as they dealt with in their respective countries and organizations. You will be able to find specific instructions regarding this in a document that is separately attached to this mailing. This small but important project will be very useful in that it will be a point of reference to all of us in the Network and a tool that can be shared with others, such as, such as officials of European Union and the Conference of European Churches.
Working hard into the second day of our meeting, the members of the Network Committee planned the program for our next Consultation, which will be held in London, and where we will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of our Network and 20 years of European Chaplaincy! With this in mind, the theme that was decided on for the Consultation is “Chaplains in the future – giving and receiving”. Discussions will be held concerning: 1) Chaplains and changes in healthcare 2) Chaplains and religious communities 3) Chaplains and personal growth. The London organizers will be sending out the first announcement announcing this Anniversary Consultation in a very short time.
Finally, the members of the Network Committee were blessed in being received by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. During our audience with him, he expressed the joy that our Network has grown over since its founding and thanked its participants for entrusting the coordination of the Network in hands of the Patriarchate’s representative. He expounded on the significance of our ministry, encouraging the participants of the Network to continue their work, having full awareness of its holiness. He expressed the desire to support the Network in every way possible and asked that dialogue between us be continued.
Having said all of this, I want to express my thanks to the members of the Network Committee who flew to Constantinople and work hard in such a positive and productive way. Our meeting was a verification that our network is truly based on coming together and sharing, both on a professional and personal level.
Greeting all of you in the friendship that bonds us together and in the zeal we all have in health care chaplaincy, I remain
Rev. Fr. Stavros K. Kofinas
Coordinator of the European Network of Healthcare Chaplaincy
(Representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate)