Rev Åsa Jonsson Opening Ceremony and Closing Prayer

ECPCC Opening Ceremony, 2017-08-23

Once upon a time there was a group of people, all of the interested in pastoral care and counselling, ministers, priests, counsellors, therapists, teachers, chaplains – All also interested in sharing, sharing knowledge, experiences, different ways of solving pastoral care and counselling dilemmas and expectations.

The first time they met was in 1972 and onwards from that year there have been Conferences every four years. Different countries have been hosting the Conferences, the topic, theme, have every time, in different ways, showed pastoral care and counselling. The emphasis on the psychodynamic part and the pastoral care part have for different reasons shifted into a broader interest for pastoral care research and scientific work, as we could see in the interesting cooperation with the Universities in Leuven in 2009 and in Göttingen in 2013. With the theme of this Conference it is our aim to return into the pastoral and psychodynamic part of pastoral care and counselling. We do need both sides to find a way of feeling felt!

The men and women who attended the first Conferences continued to come year after year and others came as well, little by little. I have a feeling of the fact that you didn´t come only for the chance of enhancing your knowledge in the field of pastoral care and counselling, you also came to meet colleagues who became friends and who you learned to appreciate and to be fond of.

I joined ECPCC for the first time in 1997 and this might be my last. In 1997 there still attended a few who joined the very first Conferences. They are now long gone, new people, new colleagues, new friend have come after them.

This year we greet a lot of newcomers. It is really a joy to have you here, you are so welcome! I do hope you will find the setting and the idea of ECPCC useful, friendly and interesting. At the same time, we who have been attending in the earlier Conferences miss some of our old friends, some are retired, some are ill, to weak to travel, some are no longer with us. To those who have passed away I would like us to share a moment of silence. Today I would especially like to mention John Foskett, for many years a member of the Council, representing the UK. John was chaplain at Maudsley hospital in London, he wrote books and articles, all in the field of pastoral care and counselling. John passed away only a few weeks ago. Let us stay in silence for a little while remembering him and other absent friends —

If John had been here I think he would have said: But you are here – Now is the time for sharing Now is the time for learning Now is the time for feeling felt

Welcome to Järvenpää and the 13th ECPCC Conference!

ECPCC Closing Morning Prayer, 2017-08 -28

Feeling felt Feeling felt and Identity Feeling felt and Conflict Feeling felt and Inventing the Future Feeling felt and feeling the Holy and today Feeling felt and feeling for Home

The Conference has given us five days and this morning to reflect in different directions on the theme. Art, music and worship deepened it even more. New friendship, new knowledge, new tools – and just a bit of melancholy mood as we are now about to leave.

The music we just heard was a traditional song from the 18th century, said to be from Åland, the island in the Baltic Sea, when Finland and Sweden was one country.

We will now sing the song in Swedish

Vem kan segla förutan vind? Vem kan ro utan åror? Vem kan skiljas från vännen sin utan att fälla tårar?

Jag kan segla förutan vind, jag kan ro utan åror, men ej skiljas från vännen min utan att fälla tårar Who can sail without wind? Who can row without oars? Who can part from dearest friend without shedding tears?

I can sail without wind, I can row without oars but I can not part from dearest friend without shedding tears

The melancholy minor key is typical for both Finnish and Swedish folk music, a good song to sing today.

Maybe the author was looking at her beloved one as he left, when she formulated the words – looking, seeing, noticing. When she looked at him, when we look at each other, we are bringing the way God looks upon us into our circumstances.

The Lord bless you and keep you The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace

The words of the Blessing have for thousands of years been words for people to live on and live with.

When the decision how to describe God way of meeting his creation was made, the Face was used as the best metaphor. Already then they knew what theologians, philosophers, therapists, pastoral carers and counsellors have been writing about, talking about, showing. When the newborn child meets the eyes of its carer the meeting is there, the connection is there. Eyes that watches with love, care, graciousness, forgiveness, reconciliation, interest. We and the ones we meet have to look at each other with that same interest, see what is going on in that other persons eyes, not turn against, always turn to.

What can you see in the other persons eyes? A smile, a tear, anguish, wrath, worry, gloom, happiness, compassion? What is it the other person can see in your eyes, in my eyes?

When we look at each other in a way that we sense the fact of feeling felt, we are as close to Gods blessing as we can be, we take part in Gods blessing.

Let us pray Thank you God, for the days we have been sharing. Let us all travel safe back home. Amen.

And now The Lords Prayer each in your own language

The Blessing, this time in Swedish: Herren välsigne er och bevare er Herren låte sitt ansikte lysa över er och vare er nådig Herren vände sitt ansikte till er och give er frid I Guds, Faderns och Sonens och den Heliga Andens namn. Amen.

Let us all sing the hymn in page 15:

May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine upon your face, may the rain fall softly on your fields, until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.



20170830 Åsa Jonsson