Showing posts with label St. Clement's Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Clement's Church. Show all posts

Friday, April 22, 2011

Prague's Anglican Minister: The Reverend Ricky Yates

Happy Good Friday readers! Today I was delighted to see my pastor in Prague, Chaplain Ricky Yates of St. Clement's Anglican Church, properly written up in the Prague Post and recognized for his work serving the English-speaking expat community in Prague.

Regular readers of my blog know how incredibly tight-knight I found the expat church community at St. Clement's and how Pastor Ricky was there for me and my friend Anna when we got in a tight spot with our visas.  I simply can't say enough about the community of people there and his leadership of us.  Click on my title to read the whole article. You can also look to the right of this post and see the link for Ricky's blog.  Best of all though, if you're in Prague, head on down to the church on a Sunday morning at 11 a.m. to tell him hello yourself.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

St. Clement's Anglican English-Speaking Church Services will be broadcast globally this Christmas on BBC Radio 4

You've heard that Christmas carol about ''Good King Wenceslas,'' right?  Well who was he? The Czechs know but everyone else could probably use a little background.  My beloved church community in old town Prague has had the great honor to be selected by BBC Radio 4 to broadcast a program about the life and death of St Stephen and also of Wenceslas, tenth century Duke of Bohemia, who became known as St Vaclav, patron saint of the Czech Republic.

Would you like to hear it yourself on Sunday, December 26th?  It will be available online at 08.10 GMT (9.10 CET in the Czech Republic) and you can also listen to it anytime in the next seven days after that.

 I'm so proud to see my friend and pastor Ricky Yates be honored this way and so happy more people will discover this wonderful community of people who gather weekly from all over the world to worship in Prague.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm moving to Istanbul!

Today is a blur.  A sunny, potentially relaxing day in Prague but still a blur. I'm packing up my things because today marks my last day in Prague.  I hope it's "just for now." I realized when I came here this time that my love of the Czech Republic wasn't going to be fulfilled by just coming for a couple months and doing my to-do list of sites. It's not a "if it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium kind of feeling." This is a life-long passion for a country that has only increased, not decreased with my three months here.

My 90 days in the Schengen zone is up, and I need to move somewhere out of the Czech Republic to apply for residency.  I looked at Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Burma, and Russia in addition to Istanbul. Everyone raves about Istanbul.  And I have a friend there.  It made me count up how many times I've moved to a new place without knowing a soul: eight.

I have been truly blessed with incredible friends here in Prague, especially in my church home of St. Clement's Church.  They sent me off with much love!  Well, here, my chaplain tells it well. I'll let him tell it, you can read my plan, and I'll keep packing.  And returning library books.  And dropping off thrift items.  You know what these kind of days are like!  Click on this link to read my plan. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dvorak Embraced Spillville, Iowa; Spillville, Iowa Embraced Dvorak

When I left the Czech Republic last year, I flew back to the American Midwest. Within two weeks, I needed to go to my home state of Iowa for my Uncle's funeral. My mom, knowing how blue I was to have left Prague when I loved it so, suggested we stop in Spillville, Iowa to see the Bily Clocks/Antonin Dvorak exhibit.

Haven't heard of it? I'm not surprised. Spillville, Iowa has all of 400 people.

When famous Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was in New York City composing his New World Symphony, he longed for the company of his Bohemian countrymen. Rather than going all the way back home for a dose of "Czechness," his secretary urged him to go West instead to the tiny village of Spillville, Iowa which was chock full of Czech immigrants.

The building where he and his family lived has been turned into a museum. It showcases two themes: Dvorak's summer in Spillville, and the breathtaking woodworking creations of some bachelors farmers who became famous handcarving incredible clocks. They are called Bily Clocks and they have to be seen to be believed. It's hard to conceive that the two craftsmen who created them never traveled more than 35 miles from Spillville and only went to school through 5th grade. The tour guide winds up every mechanical clock and shows you it's movements.
It's not every town of 400 people
that have an honest-to-goodness
tourist attraction like this.

If you are the slightest bit interested in woodworking,
creativity, or spirituality you should see these clocks.
The farmers viewed them as a way to glorify God.
Museum guests are not allowed to take pictures of them.

The building can't be missed.
It's on the main thoroughfare through town.

I teared up when I walked into the gift shop
and was surrounded by a whole room of Czech stuff.

Fairy tales written by the famous Czech author
Božena Némcová

I enjoyed learning about Dvorak's stay both in New York City
where he completed his New World Symphony
and in Spillville, Iowa.  
There was lots of interesting background on
American reaction to his Symphony.

Americans, including Dvorak's patroness,
were determined to develop "American music."

When Dvorak, himself an "oppressed person,"
if you want to call him that
as a Czech in the Czechlands
during the Austrian-Hungarian Empire,
suggested to Americans they had all the material
they needed for a grand American-style music
in the music of African-Americans and Native Americans.
White Americans derided his ideas
with a bemused "Imagine he said that!" attitude.
White America said it in Decorah, Iowa
where this article is from.
But they said it in New York City too.

Dvorak was ahead of his time.

His first morning in Spillville
he went down to the Turkey River
and enjoyed the birds singing
even before he talked to anyone in town.

I can imagine being in Spillville
felt very much like being in a Czech village.

Since I worshiped at St. Clement's Church in Prague,
I was delighted to discover a St. Clement's Church in Spillville.

Other signs of Czech life:
the oldest Czech school in America.

The church  and church cemetery
at St. Wenceslaus Church.
Dvorak liked to play the organ here.

A few years after the Velvet Revolution happened, the tiny village of Spillville was newly energized to put on a festival costing $60,000 celebrating their Czech heritage.  That's a lot of ambition for a tiny town of 400.
Bravo to them.  Click on this link to read about it.  Click on my title for more information about the museum.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall Visit St. Clement's Church in Prague

  photo copyright Sybille Yates 2010

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall

Prague is one of those cities that seems to host important figures from around the world.  This week Prince Charles came through Prague on his Central European tour and Charles and Camilla (or C & C as my friend and chaplain Ricky Yates affectionately refers to them in shorthand) chose to attend Sunday service at St. Clement's Anglican Church in Prague. As you can imagine the amount of coordination required is extensive and Ricky should be proud as a British citizen for keeping the Prince's visit a secret when diplomatic sources did not!

I respect Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall for visiting St. Clement's church.  If you were looking to get splashed all over the headlines, you probably wouldn't pick going to church as the activity to do it.  But to the people involved at the church it makes a difference.  Expat churches are incredibly hard to sustain financially as there aren't big endowments and the members are constantly coming and going.  By attending services, Prince Charles brought all kinds of great publicity to St. Clement's (including his own web page), doubled the normal attendance and helped the budget of a fantastic community of Christians.

If you want to read more about the Prince's visit, I invite you to enjoy Part I  of the royal visit on Ricky Yates blog here:

Part II follows! One of the coolest parts about the Prince's visit is I'm sure they don't let just anybody preach to the Prince.  Go Ricky Go!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"The Restoration of Order" has begun in Iran

My English-language church in Prague, St. Clements Church on Klimentska, held this incredibly educational series of program on "what it was like to be a Czech Christian under communism." Wow, was that an eye-opening series of programs. Everyone who went was on the edge of their seats listening to our distinguished dissident speakers.

Our last speaker in the series was an expert on Czech church history and I asked him if it was possible to create a list of "dos and don'ts to share with future congregations on how not to get co-opted by repressive regimes." There was a general chuckle at my naivete because this sort of thing is not preventable. Each generation has to learn for themselves. We've all heard the phrase "those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it," right? Well at this session I learned the phrase, "what we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history."

Want some evidence of that (with apologies for sounding so dark, so Czech!)? This article, linked to in my blog post title, shows that the "restoration of order" has begun in Iran. Even the phrase that this young woman uses to describe the regime's actions is the same in English as it was back then in post-1968 Czechoslovakia.

What we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Prague Playwriting Contest Shows Off The Three Finalists

Mom's first night out after having a new baby!
EvaTruefitt and her mom come out
to see the play her husband Gordon directed
Also pictured: Ricky Yates and me

Not pictured: Gordon, who's home taking care of the new baby
and Sybille Yates, our photographer

Over the last two weeks, English speakers have been able to see the final three plays of the Prague Post and Prague Playhouse 3rd Annual Playwriting Contest performed. Over 50 playwriters submitted a half-hour long play per the rules and that giant group of scripts was whittled down to eight and then whittled down again to the three final plays that would actually be performed. The rules require that the writer has lived in or currently lives in Prague.

Gerry Turner after the play

Gerry and his daughter Tanya

Two people from my church, St. Clement's Church in Old Town, were involved in the play "Early Retirement" by David Fisher: director Gordon Trufitt, who had a son born on Valentine's Day, and Gerry Turner, who acted the part of Mr. Matejovsky, which required him to speak both Czech and English. We wanted to attend to support our own!

Another star of the evening was Divadlo Minor, an incredibly imaginative space designed for puppet shows. It was fun to explore the colors, the whimsy, and the hiding places built into the theatre. Pictures below.

The Divadlo Minor suggestion box (notice the little piglets)
You know what pigs eat!

Gorgeous Geometry throughout

Curt Matthew, who recently starred in Glengarry Glen Ross
It's being reprised for two encore shows in March

The Snack Bar

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What was it like to be a Czech Christian during Communism?

St. Clement's Church in Old Town Prague

My church, St. Clements, is a happening place full of happening people. I like it. Nobody in the congregation takes themselves too seriously, including our very nice chaplain. I'm adding his blog to my list of Czech Expat Blogs on the side of my home page. Ricky Yates hails from Britain originally. I hope you enjoy reading about his Anglican adventures.

One of the things I enjoy most about my church is our wonderful sense of community. This week after church we had a quite fun and quite silly 'soup luncheon and bottle raffle'. Raffle tickets could be purchased for anything in a bottle. It was fun to chat up my fellow expats and see who would win the single malt scotch (which would be totally wasted on me!) and who would win the champagne and bubble bath (yea! I won these and they are not wasted on me!).

On behalf of my fellow parishioners, I'd like to invite you to join us if you live in the Prague area for a series of thought-provoking lectures about being a Christian during Communist times. Here are the details from Ricky so far with more to follow later:

Lent Seminar Series
2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. But what was it like to be a Christian during the Communist era, particularly the period of religious suppression that followed the Russian invasion of 1968? On five Thursday evenings during Lent, we will have five different speakers from various Czech Christian Churches speaking about their experience. They will either speak in English or be interpreted into English by one of our Czech speaking members.

Venue: No. 18 Klimentska down the street from the church (take the elevator to the 3rd floor). This is our fellowship hall.

Time: 7 p.m. - 9:15 p.m.

Thursday 5th March - Bishop Busan Hejbal of the Old Catholic Church
Bishop Dusan was forced to work as a tram driver and construction worker by the communist authorities. He was also a folk/rock protest singer and he has promised to bring along his guitar and possibly sing one or two of his protest songs!

Thursday 12th March - Professor Tomas Halik of the Roman Catholic Church
Professor Halik was secretly ordained as a Roman Catholic priest during the communist era in the former East Germany. He is a well-known writer and speaker and a number of his books have been translated into English by Church member Gerry Turner.

Thursday 19th March - Professor Jakub (Jack) Trojan of the Czech Evangelical Brethren
Professor Trojan is professor of theological ethics at the Protestant Faculty of Theology of Charles University.

Thursday 26th March & Thursday 2nd April
Confirmation of final speakers to be announced later.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Finding a Church Home in Prague: St. Clement's Church

I was taking a look-see around my new neighborhood and noticed a lovely church that I wanted to see up close. The nameplate said St. Clement's Church, with services in Czech, but also, Anglican services in English at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. I already knew my own denomination wasn't represented in Prague. How fantastic it would be to walk to church! I had to try it out.

A couple weeks ago, I went into this beautiful old church and was warmly received by the congregants. The church bells were pealing with enthusiasm calling the neighborhood to worship. It was a cold morning, and my hands were already cold from a morning walk around the neighborhood. They didn't warm up during the service! I discovered later that each seat has it's own individual heater and you just dial up what you need.

The building is thought to have been the site of Christian worship for the last 1,000 years. I haven't heard a date for how old the building is, but the frescos in the apse date from the 14th century. During the Enlightenment, the church was used as a granary, which doesn't sound all that enlightened, does it? It was restored in 1894-1896 to it's present Neo-Gothic style.

Later that night, I went back for St. Clement's Lessons and Carols. Episcopalian friends had always told me how beautiful "Lessons and Carols" are at Christmas time. This was my first time experiencing this Christmas tradition for myself.

Numerous children started the evening off with a fun version of "The Little Drummer Boy" complete with a march down the aisle, plenty of coffee cans, and various drumming instruments to clang away to their heart's content. To hear the congregation booming out those carols in this beautiful ancient building was a wonderful moment, one where I could really feel the Christmas spirit.

There were probably about 100 parishioners. We went down the street for mulled wine, treats, and conversation afterwards and I could tell there wouldn't be anymore church shopping for me. Everyone was just too welcoming. I felt at home.

Expat churches are different than regular churches. A lady told me that the previous rector had been in charge for seven years and had never once done a funeral because expats always go home when they reach that age. So there is also not the usual contingent of "little old ladies" that make up most churches back home. Not that there's anything wrong with little old ladies.

She also asked me if I noticed how male the voices were when we sang. English-speaking men, married to Czech women, often come to church solo because Czechs are atheists, thanks to communism, and don't participate in church as a family. So the guys come by themselves for worship and to enjoy an English-speaking environment for awhile.

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