Looking back at the first half of this year now, I have felt the need to write up a short blog on the life in WSCF Europe as so much has happened since the beginning of this year. WSCF-E as such stands on volunteering of a few dedicated and gifted people on the ERC– Annika Foltin, Krista Autio, Maria Kozhinova, David Cleary, Ellie Peacock, Valentin Tranchand and an extraordinarily committed Regional Secretary – Natia Tsintsadze and many others of you who support us when we turn to you for assistance – there is so many of you! Since Jan 2015 up until now we have gone through a period of analysing and ultimately deciding to do some transformations in the way we run WSCF-E and as we go on, our team members changed too and we continue receiving a lot of support from the circle of WSCF friends.
As it happens after some time, we had some changes in team members. In March, after more than 3 years, Marco Fornerone, our very much valued ExCo member, finished his term, and Valentin Tranchand became his successor. Marco was always our insightful thinker and aiding our work with his grounded theology knowledge and pastoral care support. Around that time another member of the ERC, Libby Lewin, our Treasurer resigned after 3 years serving WSCF-Europe. Libby has been a committed ERC member and with Marco they both volunteered in WSCF-Europe team over more than two terms. Big thanks to them for being part of ERC, you are still part of WSCF!
With changes in our team, we had also changes in ‘’who does what’’. We realised a great need for improving external communications and hence we decided to split the work done traditionally by our full time intern between a remotely working Communications Officer and office based Admin and Finance Officer. We are on the way to source our two new staff members which will should bring about better focus on communications and finance support. We also decided to share our work with friends from SCMs who are willing to support us on pro bono basis. We are already very thankful to our friends, a Senior Friend, Miro Berberov for pro bono IT support, and Gabor Nemet and Eli Bradovkova for graphic design assistance. Your skills, friends, make us look professional online! Thank you very much!
WSCF-Europe finances and the way we work with our financial and non-financial resources has been also changed. Being confronted with serious financial situation featuring some insecurity of payment of the salary of our key employee, Regional Secretary, which is 40% of our annual (non programmatic) administrative budget, we made correspondingly a serious decision to make a favorable solution to both our budget and the current Regional Secretary by moving the WSCF-Europe office from Berlin to Trento, Italy, the home location of our current Regional Secretary, Natia. This will happen already in mid August this year. If it proves fruitful, this may very well even set the pattern for years to come to address financial situation and also provide flexibility and benefit for our international staff member – Regional Secretary – being located in the country where the RS will be based in with good opportunities to set up the office and at the same time in the country where we have an member movement. So, we look forward to providing stability to our key employee and at the same time building a more lively connection to another member movement – SCM Italy in the upcoming years. :)
Our financial situation has been really such an ongoing focus for us as you may gather. This autumn we are applying for an important administrative grant that could cover partly European RS salary costs (which has never been the case in the past) in order to decrease our European take from global resources. We hope to be more in solidarity with regions who have less opportunities as we may have in Europe. So far, we are just hoping this will turn truth and more news will be known at the beginning of 2016. Grant giving is very competitive everywhere and we hope very much we stand up to this challenge.
Apart from finances that to a large extent make WSCF-Europe happen, we have a few projects started for which we need very little or almost no financial resources. These are the things which really bring energy and positive breeze- time and willingness to still be giving and enjoying this work together and not being worried about money… :). One of the projects that we all are in particular excited is related to our history of WSCF-Europe. We realised that resources we can publicly and easily access online are so far giving very little information about our history. We meet often our predecessors from WSCF, we hear stories and experiences but there is little captured what has happened since around mid 80s in the Europe region. Hence we started to dig into our history and this initiative was taken up by our Fundraising Coordinator, David Cleary. David is reaching out to many our Senior Friends (which was started by meeting Inger Lise in Sweden this summer) and communicating with our WSCF global Yale archive to gather information which we could bring in to our website and provide interesting source of information about our past and legacy.
Another project is related to communications as we are very much aware as many of you maybe as well – that our website needs some improvements… Did you feel sometimes you cannot find what you need or that our website is little boring? These are the reasons :). Maria, our Links Coordinator has been dedicating time to it and doing much developmental steps toward slowly changing our website. In addition, we are starting to get our Mozaik online and make it an online forum for ideas to flow easily in addition to our much valued old fashioned printed version of Mozaik– Europe bi-annual journal. These are the ‘’big’’ projects for us, but there are also small projects which we are doing now- as making our next conference little inter-regional by inviting other region’s SCMers; as a team making our newsletter better and sourcing other regions’ news for greater interconnectedness or just something as relatively insignificant and quite uninteresting as dissolvement of our WSCF-E legal presence in Budapest after WSCF-E and Centennial Fund owned property in Budapest had been sold recently.
Finally our energy is released for much more interesting things and we can celebrate almost complete success with this legal process:). Important is to say that this would not be possible without very resourceful assistance of our Senior Friends- Nagypal Szabolcz and Kristin Makszin living in Budapest- thank you dear friends, for still being so helpful when we need your help!
Writing these lines down, beginning of August 2015, looking back at what has happened in WSCF-Europe over last few months- I feel so much gratitude to people who have helped us- for you it is perhaps little support but for us it means a lot. Your skills, time, advise and also your financial generosity is part of what WSCF-E makes happen. Thanks to Patrizia Glaizal from SCM Paris and Are Kaspersen from SCM Sweden for being so helpful hosting our internal meetings this year. Jiri Bukovinsky who has taken up the role of Chair of search committee as a Senior Friend from Europe. Thanks to Marita Mattila, Minna Mannert and Jooa Sotejeff who are already helping us with meeting organization in Helsinki in Jan 2016. Big thanks to our financial supporters- you know who you are- we value your giving a lot! There is so many of you who help us as we go.
We are going through busy times with the office move, projects going on apart from our events, changes in our staff personnel structure, and off course preparing for an important statutory meeting we are holding after two years this October. However, this would not happen if we on the ERC would not get your support. I have said thank you many times in this blog, however, I sincerely mean it dear friends, without your help and we would have done much less than what we are able to do this year.