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.

8 comments to Into 2017

  • Alan Schmidt

    Just a thought – I realise that you specifically have a mandate to conduct a “non Eucharistic” service in the Frauenkirche, but is there not a need for an Anglican Holy Communion service in Dresden. I expect that it should not be too difficult to find a venue!

    All Blessings, whatever you decide to do.


    • Ricky

      What I didn’t put in the post is that Archdeacon Colin Williams & I, had a very positive meeting at the Frauenkirche back in November 2016, where amongst other things, we raised the idea of a second service & of it being Eucharistic. We suggested the Unterkirche where various ecumenical services are currently held, as a possible venue. This is what I will follow up. Thank you Alan, for your interest & support.

  • Heather Garnett

    So many options for retirement but you seem to have got a good perspective on things. Brexit is and will be causing confusion so fingers crossed that you can sort out everything without too many obstacles. We wish you good luck with your plans.
    Heather and Fred.

    • Ricky

      Thank you Heather, especially for leaving your comment here & not just on Facebook! Who knows what will happen with Brexit. I live in hope that the idiocy of it will eventually be realised. The UK cannot have its cake & eat it, despite what various government ministers continue to declare.

  • Dear Ricky!

    This is a sad time and a happy time, your retirement will be the end of something blessed and the beginning of something yet unseen. I’m glad you stay in the Czech Republic, the love for the country and the people there will linger in you!! Hope your plans will find a good way to work out. Brexit is indeed a lunacy, but we seem to have loads of them going on in the world. The Lord will hopefully help us find a way, we are in good hands!!!

    I really loved that picture, is it one from the wedding this summer??? By the way, my personal tags were gone from the comment field, I’ll try to put them back!

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Soleig – yes I do have a mixture of emotions as I work my way towards Sunday 30th April. As for Brexit being lunacy – I couldn’t have put it better myself!

      The picture is the creation of my son Phillip, whose marriage to my daughter-in-law Lisa, I conducted back in July 2016. But it is a scan of the front of his personally created Christmas card that he sent to me for Christmas 2016, hence ‘Happy Last Christmas in Prague!’

  • Sean Mccann

    Hi Ricky,
    I join with your other friends in wishing you all the best in your preparations for retirement and hoping everything you wish and plan may come to fruition. I applaud your kindness to and consideration for your successor in Prague and wishing to keep ‘out of their hair’ so to speak, too often one hears of people retired or promoted from some position or post who continually ‘haunt’ their former workplace and colleagues and destroy all possibility of success for the new incumbent. 🙁 I hope and pray that the UK Government doesn’t ruin your plans and those of so many ex-pats spread across the EU in their blindness and lunacy (to re-iterate Solveig’s point). Would I be correct to predict possible future posts about ‘walks in Ceske Svycarsko’? 😉 Continued good health and success in your plans Ricky.

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks, as always, for your kind words.

      It is an unwritten but important rule in the Church of England, that you don’t retire in your last parish or interfere with it, after retirement. So strictly speaking, I will be in breach of that, as technically, the whole of the Czech Republic is my current parish. However, with the exception of the occasional wedding, my ministry has almost exclusively been Prague & Brno based. And as I wrote, I do have the agreement of my Anglican Diocesan Bishop, to continue with serving Dresden and developing ministry there.

      As for the behaviour of the UK government, it is beyond my comprehension. Every time Mrs May makes a public pronouncement, the value of the pound Sterling drops, as happened a few days ago. But yes – you can look forward to further posts about walks in Ceské Švýcarsko 🙂