Looking ahead into 2015

Prague safe

Prague © Ricky Yates

Since the beginning of this new year, aided by the ‘Forward Planner’ in my new Church Book & Desk Diary 2015, I’ve been looking ahead at what is in store for me and what I want to achieve in the coming year. In the past, I’ve frequently not been the best at forward planning, so with the new year comes a determination to do better.

In particular, I’ve been trying to decide when I can and want to take my annual leave, allowing for Easter and Christmas when I have to be in Prague, weddings at which I have agreed to officiate, and the Eastern Archdeaconry Synod and the ICS Chaplains Conference, at which my attendance is expected. By the end of this week, I want to have something firmly booked and begin organising cover for the Sundays I’ll be away.

Apart from the obvious ongoing important task of leading, caring for, and seeking to grow, the Prague and Brno congregations, one goal I have set for myself, is completing writing my book, ‘How to be Czech’. This has been a work in progress for over a year, since I commenced working on the project in August 2013. One of my favourite mantras is, ‘If you aim at nothing, you’re certain to hit it’. Therefore I have set myself a deadline of the end of March, to complete the text.

Having written that and put it in the public domain, means I can be held to it. You read it here and therefore you can publicly rebuke me if I don’t hit my target!

I’m very much looking forward to this year’s ICS Chaplains Conference which will take place during the last week of April. This is for two reasons. The first is that, because I work in a very isolated situation, the opportunity of meeting with colleagues for fellowship and mutual support, combined with some theological input and teaching, is highly valuable.

The second is that the conference is being held at Elspeet, in the Netherlands. Despite being fairly well-travelled in Europe, surprisingly I’ve never previously visited the Netherlands. The added bonus is that to get there, will involve driving across some interesting parts of Germany that I’ve also never seen before.

Then at the end of September, the Eastern Archdeaconry Synod meeting will be held in Zagreb, capital of Croatia. As with the ICS Chaplains Conference, the Synod meeting is always a great opportunity for fellowship and mutual support. The theme of our time together this year, will be ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’ and how these might or might not work in our continental European context. That should certainly be stimulating.

Whilst I have previously been to Croatia in 2009, and also in 1975, when it was called Yugoslavia, I’ve never been to Zagreb, only along the Adriatic coast. So once more, some new sights and experiences await me.

For the first time in nearly seven years, at the beginning of June I will conduct a wedding according to the law of England and Wales. I’ve been invited by Adam, the long-standing best friend of my son Phillip, to officiate at his marriage to his fiancée Claire. The wedding is to take place in one of my former parishes in North Oxfordshire, where Adam’s parents still live. Guess who will be the best man? It should be quite an interesting as well as being an enjoyable experience 🙂

My grandson Finley & my daughter Christa © Ian Margieson

My grandson Finley & my daughter Christa © Ian Margieson

Being in the UK for Adam and Claire’s wedding, will be part of one week of my annual leave. I shall obviously be able to spend time with my son Phillip as part of the marital celebrations. But I will also take the opportunity to visit my daughter Christa, son-in-law Ian, together with my grandson Finley. I suspect the young man will have grown some more since this delightful photograph was taken three weeks ago.

With regard to weddings, I have one definite and two others awaiting confirmation, here in the Czech Republic. All are English-speaker marrying a Czech, and all are of the more common variety of English-speaking male marrying a Czech female 🙂 It is one of the great privileges of my vocation, to be part of people’s major life events, if you will forgive me using the language of sociologists 🙂

Taking all of these commitments into account, it looks as though the best time to take at least two weeks of my annual leave, will be in October, soon after I return from Zagreb. My intention whilst living in Prague, has always been that we should take advantage of our Central European location, to visit surrounding and nearby countries. High on my ‘bucket list’, (to use a very American expression 🙂 ), has been exploring Poland and the Baltic States. My plan this coming October, is to begin ticking those two off my ‘bucket list’.

Jan Hus © Ricky Yates

Jan Hus © Ricky Yates

Finally for this post, 2015 will see two significant anniversaries – one historical and one personal. Monday 6th July will be the six-hundredth anniversary of the martyrdom of the early Czech Church reformer, Jan Hus. Major events are being planned which are promised to be ‘friendly to English and German-speaking participants’ according to a publicity leaflet. Unfortunately, this website , to which the leaflet refers, is currently only in Czech 🙁 , whilst the second, just has a couple of articles in English though there are a few more in German.

A few days earlier, Wednesday 1st July will be the twenty-fifth anniversary of my ordination as a priest by the Rt Rev’d John B. Taylor, in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban. I’m planning a little celebration for 28th June, which is the nearest Sunday to that significant date in my own personal journey of faith.









19 comments to Looking ahead into 2015

  • I’d say that was some darn good planning! What a fun year you’ve got coming up.

  • The new year is a great time to take stock and make plans. You do have a busy year ahead–it all looks and sounds great! Good luck with your book! You have to be looking forward to seeing your family, especially your grandson!

    The 600th anniversary of Hus’ martyrdom will be a big event. Readers who don’t understand Czech can use Google Translate to read the information on both those websites. True, the translation’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to get more than an idea of what’s being said.

    Good luck and all the best in this New Year of 2015!

    • Ricky

      I agree with you Sher, the beginning of a new year is a great time to take stock and make plans.

      With regard to the book, Sybille is rightly telling me to get on & complete it, not least because my post from nearly two years ago http://rickyyates.com/how-to-be-czech-in-10-easy-steps/ now has over 9,200 ‘likes’ on Facebook and remains the most popular landing page for new arrivals to this blog.

      You are quite right – the 600th anniversary of the martyrdom of Jan Hus will be major event in 2015, for both religious and cultural reasons. I know you can use Google Translate with the two websites to which I link, but I know from experience, it doesn’t work well with Czech 🙁 Our host denomination, the Ceskobratrská církve evangelické / Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, together with the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, have produced an excellent leaflet in both English & German, as well as Czech, declaring that the programme of events will be ‘friendly to English and German-speaking participants’. But as I wrote, they then link to two websites, one of which is only in Czech, whilst the other has just two English articles, which I find a little contradictory.

      Best wishes to you for 2015 & congratulations on leaving Google Blogspot behind & moving to WordPress & your own domain.

      • Hi Ricky,
        Thanks for your reply! I’m looking forward to reading your book!

        I have to disagree with Google Translate and Czech–I use it for work, and while it’s not a perfect translation, you get a good idea of what the text is all about. Maybe I don’t have too much trouble with Google Translate and its Czech translations because we speak Czenghlish at our house. I’m fluent in Czenghlish, which my American family loves to point out :0)

        Good luck with your busy year, your book and congrats on 25 years in the ministry!

        • Ricky

          Hi Sher,

          Google Translate will sometimes give you some idea about what the Czech text says. But the very nature of the Czech language with its seven cases, four genders and changes to ending of nouns, means that mechanical translating does not work that well with Czech. Instead it tends to produce that language called Czenglish – for example Prílohy is translated as ‘Attachments’ when it should be ‘side dishes’.

          Many thanks for your good wishes & congratulations.

  • Good luck with the book!

  • Em

    Wow – so much to comment on here! What a busy (and well-organized) year you have ahead of you. An early congratulations on your 25th anniversary with the priesthood; what a special milestone. Also, it’s fun to see a family picture on your post. That little Finley looks just precious. Good luck choosing a vacation destination, and if you haven’t tried home-exchanging, I’d recommend it. Finally, how fantastic that you’re writing a book, and I am looking forward to reading it!

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Em – both for the comment & the congratulations.

      I do occasionally post family pictures on my blog. If you go back through my posts, you’ll find a few. My new grandson Finley is delightful. I got to meet him for the first time when I was in the UK for a week at the end of October 2014. Fortunately his Dad/my son-in-law Ian, regularly posts photos of him on Facebook so I can see him growing up. The photo I featured is one of his.

      I’ve read with interest, what you’ve written about home-exchanging. It’s a great idea though we would have certain problems because of the Chaplaincy Flat being my work base as well as our home. As for the book, see my reply to Sher with regard to why I need to get it completed ASAP!

  • Gosh, you do sound organised, Ricky. 🙂 Good luck with your stated aim to complete the text of your book by the end of March. Nothing like a bit of public commitment to keep the nose to the grindstone! And advance congratulations on your silver anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. If it had been possible back then, I’d have reached that milestone last year. 🙂 Where has the time gone?

    Your mention of holiday planning takes me back to my two wonderful locum periods. Having had those, the 600th anniversary of Jan Hus’ martyrdom has much more meaning than it would otherwise have done. I look forward to posts on the commemoration.

    • Ricky

      I’m very much trying to be more organised, Perpetua, especially because in the past, I have been criticised by some for being ‘last minute’ 🙁 Yes – making a public commitment will help keep me on task!

      Thank you for the advance congratulations on the forthcoming silver anniversary of my ordination as priest. The point you make is one I have always been very aware of. The women who were ordained deacon with me on 2nd July 1989, unlike me, had to wait over four & a half years before they could be priested. As you know from personal experience, in the Church in Wales, it took even longer!

      As Sher has previously commented here, the 600th anniversary of the martyrdom of Jan Hus will be a major event in the life of this country & you can be assured of a post or posts about the commemoration.

  • Sean Mccann

    Hi Ricky,
    First of all hearty congratulations on your Silver Jubilee, it must be a great joy to you to look back on such a period spent caring for and serving your fellow men and women; you should take pride in it. You have a busy year of duties ‘at home and abroad’ to look forward to and with a great deal of travel thrown into the mix as well you’ll certainly have earned your holiday whenever and wherever you get to take it. I’m looking forward to your book and will be queuing up for a copy when it’s available. Modern technology makes the job of being a ‘long distance’ grandparent much easier than it used to be when you had to rely on ‘snail mail’ and the odd enclosed photograph with a letter. Enjoy your ‘grandfatherhood’. God bless, Sean.

    • Ricky

      As always, Sean, thank you for your kind words and for the slightly premature congratulations 🙂 Rest assured, that you will know here on my blog, when the book is published. And yes – you are so right about modern technology which does enable me to regularly see the progress of my grandson, before I get to see him again in the flesh in June.

  • Hello Ricky

    I am a fellow British expat, based in South Bohemia (bought the house in 2005).

    I fell into organizing holidays and tours to the Czech Republic and have run a number of Jan Hus tours. Like you I am trying to find out what is happening this year. I am meeting the organisers in February, I will let you know when I find out more.

    Regards Zoe

    • Ricky

      Hello Zoe – I do know who you are & your blog. Nice to have you commenting here for the first time.

      I presume the ‘the organisers’ that you meeting are representatives of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren & the Czechoslovak Hussite Church who are responsible for the two websites to which I link, and have produced the publicity leaflet in English, to which I refer. It only refers to events in Prague & not in South Bohemia. I’m sure there must also be events planned in Tábor & Husinec.

  • Hi RICKY.I was growing up in Poland, exactly on the Czech-Polish border.I really like Prague. It is very interesting places full of historic buildings and picturesque cafes. But my big love is Brno, if you will have time, I highly recommend.

  • […] I mentioned in my first post of 2015, this year marks the six-hundredth anniversary of the martyrdom of the early Czech Church reformer, […]