Chairperson’s report for 2017-2018
After several years of plenty we seem to be entering a leaner time. After the Snowden family left us in 2016, in the summer of 2017 four complete families moved away: the Williams, the Dong Hwans, the Marshalls and the Faggs, and Colin Bucknor left for service in Afghanistan. Audrey Bucknor and Christy Lawrence also moved on. We no longer have a Sunday School group, but pre-school children are still cared for in a crèche run by Esther Davis. We are grateful to her! In spite of being scattered far and wide, it is good to stay in contact with former members as far as possible.
Unfortunately there were no new arrivals to boost our numbers in the autumn of 2017 and this summer two more families are leaving. We have become used to having a significant congregation at our services, so we are considering how to continue and in what form. Since newcomers sometimes arrive in the autumn, we will wait and pray to see what God has in store for us. We are grateful for the past few years and all the new friends we have made from all over the world and whatever happens, we are keen to continue to meet for worship, even in greatly reduced numbers.
The main events of the past year were as follows: on 1 st October 2017 our lay-reader Janet Berković was made a Canon of the Diocese, which is a great honour for her and all of us, and is recognition of all the hard work she has done over the years to keep the chaplaincy alive and active. Many thanks to her!
We had two special services which were well-attended. They were the regular Remembrance Sunday Service on 12 th November 2017, which was attended by the British Ambassador to Croatia, and the Carol Service on 17 th December. Part of the collection taken at the Carol Service was given to support elderly, housebound, socially deprived individuals in Samoborski Žumberak, along with gifts in kind in the form of non-perishable food items. The chaplaincy also made a donation to the Diocesan appeal for the refugee reception facility at St. John's Casablanca.
Through the year we have had monthly visits from clergy. Rev. Robin Fox is our most regular visitor and we thank him for his faithful ministry. Rev. Patrick Curran, chaplain of Christ Church Vienna, also visited us in February 2018, and Rev. Vincent Whitworth from Bolton came on Palm Sunday. On that occasion we met at Janet Berković’s new home in Samobor and had a very enjoyable lunch followed by an short communion service.
During the year we have had various contacts with people not otherwise involved in our chaplaincy, for instance enquiries about weddings (not possible, unfortunately!) and an anthropology student studying the position of small religious groups in Croatia. As always we have enjoyed refreshments after each service, provided by members of the congregation according to a rota organized by Ify. Thanks to Ify for this, to everyone who has contributed, and to Mark Davis for providing the drinks each time.
Once again we extend a very big thank you to the priest, nuns and congregation at Sveti Blaž Church in whose basement we meet. They generously allow us to use their facilities for a symbolic donation each month. Given the shrinking size of the congregation, this is one thing we will be reviewing at the end of this calendar year – but let us hope and pray that we will once again be full to bursting!
Janet Tuškan, Chaplaincy Chairperson