About me – including four photos

Me, when this blog commenced, early in 2009 © Sybille Yates

I’ve been an Anglican clergyman for nearly thirty years since my ordination in July 1989. In September 2008, after over 15 years of being Rector of ten Churches in North Oxfordshire, I moved to Prague to become Chaplain to the English-speaking Anglican Episcopal congregation here in the Czech Republic. This blog has been my attempt to reflect on ministering to English-speakers from a variety of backgrounds and countries, and living as an expat myself in a fascinating city and country.

On Sunday 30th April 2017, I retired from full-time ministry, having celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday on 26th February 2017. I have bought a house in Northern Bohemia near the Czech-German border and, having been granted episcopal ‘Permission to Officiate’, shall continue to be responsible for the monthly English-language Anglican Service of Evening Prayer in the Frauenkirche, Dresden. Hence I have changed from being ‘An Anglican in Prague’, as the header on this blog used to say, to being ‘An Anglican in Bohemia and Saxony’.

Me, just over three years later on my 60th birthday © Sybille Yates

Me, October 2013 © Sybille Yates

Me, October 2013 © Sybille Yates

Me, August 2016 © Ricky Yates



15 comments to About me – including four photos

  • Michael

    Hi Father Yates,

    Just curious as to your situation in Czech. Did your bishop move you out there or did you volunteer…is this an official church posting? I spent 21 years with the US Army Chaplain’s Corps (thus my interest in how you ended up in Czech)…I spent seven years in Germany…married to a wonderful Czech woman.

    • Ricky

      Hi Michael – My congregation is part of the 44th diocese of the Church of England, the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. In the Church of England, no one gets moved by the bishop. Nearly all vacancies are advertised in the Church press and priests apply for them in a similar manner to a secular job vacancy. Obviously the bishop is involved in the appointment process and in the case of my current post, the bishop actively encouraged me to apply for it after I was short-listed but not appointed to another post elsewhere in his diocese.

      Btw – I am ‘in the Czech Republic’ and not ‘in Czech’, just as I presume you are now in ‘the United States’ and not ‘in States’. Czech people who can speak English frequently say ‘in Czech’ in part because there is no definite article in the Czech language. Did you get the habit from your Czech wife?

  • Hi Ricky,

    I live in Gibraltar, I had no idea the diocese stretched to include the Czech Republic. Is the 44th diocese an “offshore” diocese of the Anglican church? Is that why Gibraltar is its “head quarters” ? I only ask as this is fascinating to me.



    • Ricky

      Chris – The Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, usually shortened to ‘Diocese in Europe’, is the 44th diocese of the Church of England. It covers the whole of continental Europe, together with Morocco, Turkey, all the former Soviet Union in Asia & Mongolia. Within that area, (one sixth of the world’s land surface!), there are over 300 English-speaking congregations. For historic reasons, the Cathedral is in Gibraltar with pro-Cathedrals in Malta & Brussels. However, the Diocesan Office is in London & the Diocesan Bishop lives in Worth, near Crawley in order to be only 10 minutes drive from Gatwick Airport. See http://europe.anglican.org/homepage/

  • […] aim will still be that as outlined in ‘About me – including a photo’. That is, to reflect on ministering here in Prague, to English-speakers from a variety of […]

  • Mike in Bohemia

    In the Czech language, the short version of “Czech Republic” is Cesko. The Czech Republic officially recognizes the English term “Czechia”, but it never caught on in the UK and US. I use “Czecho” with my Czech wife and Czech friends when speaking English as a rough translation of Cesko, but it’s by no means official 🙂 I have heard “in Czech” too, but I prefer “in Czecho” as it isn’t the same as the language name.
    Best wishes, Mike 🙂

    • Ricky

      Hi Mike – thank you for your fascinating comment regarding how you refer to this country you & I now reside in, using the English language.

      Firstly, I apologise that I’ve altered what you wrote was the short name for this country in the Czech language, to ‘Cesko’. I know that there should be a hácek over the ‘C’ as there should be one over the ‘c’ in ‘hácek’. But as I’ve explained previously on this blog, for technical reasons that I do not understand, certain diacritics don’t work on my blog & instead become a question mark. Your comment as first written came out as ‘?esko’ & my reply would read ‘há?ek’.

      I frequently hear Czech people speaking English saying, ‘in Czech’ when as far as I am concerned, it should be ‘in the Czech Republic’. I know you follow the ‘Girl in Czechland’ blog & this is one of her pet peeves too. I have to say that on this topic, I am in full agreement with GIC.

  • Mike in Bohemia

    Interesting about priests applying for advertized jobs, very sensible.

    • Ricky

      Yes Mike – by positions being advertised & priests applying for specific posts, it allows for a much better matching of priests to the needs of a Church/Parish/Chaplaincy.

  • Mike in Bohemia

    Ok Ricky, no more diacritics 🙂
    Yes, I do follow GIC as you know. She has great wit. I am thinking of starting my own light-hearted blog about life in CZ, we’ll see.
    Best wishes

  • Jess

    Hi Ricky,

    I have now spent a bit of time reading your blog over a few visits over the last little while. I just wanted to tell you that I find it very interesting and insightful. I am intrigued by religion and God. It is great to read a blog like this which gives me a lot of insight. Thank you!

  • I like “Czechia” myself, for avoiding the cumbersome “the Czech Republic”, because it’s got some historical roots already (in Czech). I also use “Czech lands”, which is completely historical, and I use it mostly on my blog that sometimes deals with historical issues… I’m an English-speaking Czech, and “in Czech” is one of my pet peeves just as well as yours, because if you translate it back into Czech, it’s just as much of a nonsense (perhaps even more than in English, as our parts-of-speech are much more distinct).

    Good to learn about the way ministers apply for jobs in your church. I think it’s the same in our church – though we have no bishops, so I’m not entirely sure what the “approval” process is, whether it’s the congregation only, the presbytery or synodni rada… Interestingly, in our church you cannot become an ordained minister until you get a post somewhere (not necessarily in a congregation, there are positions like “youth minster”).

    • Ricky

      Hi Hana – You’ve found what is a very longstanding post on which it is still possible to leave a comment 🙂

      I agree that ‘the Czech Republic’ can be a bit cumbersome & I’m perfectly happy with both yours & Mike’s suggested alternatives. But I greatly dislike ‘in Czech’ & I’m glad to have someone like you, a native Czech who is also a fluent English-speaker, agree with me.

      I’m certainly not sure how ministers are appointed in the CCE / Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. But I had heard that ordination was not possible until the individual had a post to go to.

  • Anne

    Hey Ricky, I have American Friends visiting Dresden for one evening on 19 March. I’ll send them to Frauenkirche as they love love love organ music, the architecture and the faith and Peace the church provides.

    Unfortunately I saw that only once a month there is a mess in English. Just wondering, you would not be there by chance to give them a little private tour, would you?

    Yours, Anne

    • Ricky

      Hello Anne – sorry for taking so long to reply to you. My technical guru has been changing the hosting for my blog & I haven’t been able to access it for a few days. And presently, any reply to a gmail address is bounced back at me saying that spam is coming from my IP address. That’s why I haven’t answered your email either.

      Unfortunately, I am at an event in Decin on the evening of 19th March so I can’t be in Dresden at the same time 😉 However, the Frauenkirche is open for visiting from 13.00 that day and at 18.00, there will be some organ music to enjoy. See https://www.frauenkirche-dresden.de/kalender/eventleser/wort-orgelklang-2474689 I hope this helps.

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