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.