Into 2017

A humorous reminder from my son Phillip, that Christmas 2016 would be my last in Prague. Artwork © Phillip John Yates

 

The New Year of 2017 has arrived and for me, all the forthcoming changes that go with it.

As I wrote here back in October 2016, at the end of this post and this post, I have formally written to both Rt Rev’d Dr Robert Innes, Anglican Diocesan Bishop in Europe, and to PhDr Pavel Stránský, Bishop-elect of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, resigning as Priest-in-Charge/Chaplain of St Clement’s, Prague and retiring from full-time ministry, with effect from Sunday 30th April 2017. Both have since responded, acknowledging my letter and expressing appreciation for my ministry.

My decision came completely into the public domain when in the ‘Church Times’, on Friday 2nd December 2016, the following announcement appeared.

Resignations and retirements

Posted: 02 Dec 2016 @ 00:01

YATES. The Revd Warwick Yates, Priest-in-Charge of St Clement’s, Prague (Europe): 30 April 2017.

I have now received a letter from the Church of England Pension Board setting out the details of my pension entitlements and how to go about claiming them. Likewise, the UK Department of Work and Pensions have written to me in a similar vein. But their letter clearly states that if I intend to continue living within the European Union(EU) or European Economic Area(EEA), then I have to make my claim via the authorities of the country in which I will be residing. This means making my initial claim via the Czech authorities, not least because I and the Church, have been paying into Czech Social Security for over eight years which should provide me with an additional state pension.

But whilst this may be the current situation, what will it be in two or three years time, after Dictator May and her cohorts, have taken the UK over the cliff edge into the oblivion of Brexit? As I wrote six months ago, I’m currently left Living in Limbo-land and still without any clarity as to what my future financial or right of residence situation might be. Fortunately, in two weeks time I will be part of a small group having a meeting with Lord George Bridges of Headley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, and you can guarantee that he will be getting an earful from me!

But I have to plan ahead, even if the current UK government doesn’t have any plan beyond the inane ‘Brexit means Brexit’ 🙁 So to answer those who have asked the question as to where I intend to retire to and what I plan to do in retirement, this is what I envisage.

I plan to invest the lump sum from my Church pension scheme, in buying a small house in the north-west of the Czech Republic, where I shall live. It will be well away from Prague, so I will not be seen in any way as interfering with my successor as Anglican Chaplain. But instead, I intend the location to be within easy travelling distance of Dresden.

The reason for this is that, whilst I shall be relinquishing my responsibilities for the Prague and Brno congregations and drawing my pension, I will be applying to Bishop Robert for permission to officiate(PTO) in the Diocese in Europe and continue with my responsibility for the monthly English-language Anglican service of Evening Prayer at the Frauenkirche and exploring the possibility of establishing a second service there that is Eucharistic. I have held off saying anything publicly about this until now, because I only received episcopal agreement to this arrangement, just before Christmas.

Whilst this is the plan, I still live in dread as to what will happen to the value of the pound Sterling and therefore the value of my lump sum and future pension, once the UK government signs its own suicide note, also known as Article fifty of the Lisbon treaty. All I can do is watch and pray.

A winter walk in Ceský Ráj

Hrad Kost/Kost Castle © Ricky Yates

 

 

Last Wednesday, 21st December, I took my ‘day off’ for the week and went for a 12km circular walk through another part of Ceský Ráj. You can see and read about my two previous visits here and here. The day was dry and cold, -3°C according to the ‘Carly’, but unfortunately the afternoon sunshine promised by the BBC online weather forecast, didn’t materialise 🙁

 

I started my walk at Hrad Kost / Kost Castle, built on one of the rocky outcrops which are such a feature of Ceský Ráj. The castle is open to the public between April – October, but not during the winter months. Therefore I was able to park the ‘Carly’ in the castle car park without paying a 50Kc fee 🙂 . . . → Read More: A winter walk in Ceský Ráj

Advent 2016

Advent ring with the first candle lit © Ricky Yates

This year, the season of Advent has been as long as it possibly can be – a full four weeks. In 2017, quite the reverse happens with the Fourth and final Sunday of Advent, also being Christmas Eve!

I have very much appreciated the length of the Advent season this year, for a number of reasons. One slightly selfish reason is the cause of Advent lasting fully four weeks – the result of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, which is every clergyperson’s delight! No need for services on three successive days, or on three out of four days. Instead, a full week beforehand, to prepare for services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then an uninterrupted week afterwards, to take as a post-Christmas break 🙂

. . . → Read More: Advent 2016

11th November in the Czech Republic

First World War memorial in Zbraslav © Ricky Yates

Today is Armistice Day, marking the signing of the armistice, ninety-eight years ago, which brought an end to the First World War at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. In the USA, it is known as Veterans Day and is kept as a public holiday.

During the First World War, what is now the Czech Republic was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which, together with Germany and the Ottoman Empire, formed the eventually defeated Central Powers. The Czechs were a subjugated people, increasingly seeking much greater autonomy or self-rule. As I explained in my previous post, two weeks before the official end of WW1, the independent new nation state of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed.

Yet despite the rise . . . → Read More: 11th November in the Czech Republic

A long weekend of anniversaries and celebrations

Double-flagged tram for Czechoslovak Independence Day © Ricky Yates

Friday 28th October 2016 – was a public holiday here in the Czech Republic, celebrating the ninety-eighth anniversary of the declaration of independence of a country that no longer exists 🙂 In the dying days of World War One, the new nation of Czechoslovakia was declared independent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 28th October 1918, by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who then served as President of the ‘First Republic’, until 1935.

Although the state of Czechoslovakia ceased to exist on 1st January 1993, following the ‘Velvet Divorce’, the public holiday remains! Interestingly, it is no longer kept as a public holiday in Slovakia. Instead, they have double celebrations on 1st January each year, both to mark the New Year and to celebrate the establishment of the separate Slovak state, on . . . → Read More: A long weekend of anniversaries and celebrations