Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association: Integration Proposal with Local NATO Programs

June 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News, Publication, Research

NATO chaplaincy

chaplaincy-in-bulgariaBulgarian Chaplaincy Association: Celebrating a Decade of Ministry

We are proud to announce that the Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program, we designed and launched in Bulgaria in 2006, has been selected to be part of the Social Service Program of New Bulgarian University. After being for years a valuable part of the regular curriculum of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute and the St. Trivelius Institute in the capital Sofia, the chaplaincy program has received the highest level of recognition as successful graduates will be finally able to receive government recognized degrees and apply their knowledge and training in chaplaincy on a professional level. The chaplaincy program can also serve within the Integration Proposal of local NATO programs and be instrumental in dealing with the enormous wave of Middle East migrants crossing through Bulgaria today.

Although the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association emerges from and ministers within the Bulgarian cultural context, it is designed for integral cooperation with organizations of various origins. This advantage comes from the experience of previous working relationships that the organizations represented within the Association have had with other non-Bulgarian organizations. The vision, structure and operation of the Association incorporate and comply with western styles of chaplaincy work on three levels (1) cultural, (2) educational and (3) governmental.

The cultural heritage of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association represents a valuable environment for integration of NATO forces within the local cultural setting. On a cultural level, various events and activities such as English speaking church services, fellowship of soldiers with local communities, hospitals, orphanages and other cultural experiences are available. Humanitarian aid projects are among the most efficient manner for integration within the local community.

On an educational level, there are possibilities on both sides. For example, Bulgarian language courses for the soldiers and English language courses for the local community could be implemented. The most important element within the education strategy perhaps may be education of chaplaincy workers, especially in the current context when Bulgaria is in a need of trained crisis counselors for cases of floods and other natural disasters. Finally, local and national government relations will assist in the change of the status of chaplaincy within the Bulgarian Army. Such an approach will have positive political implications, as chaplaincy becomes a mediator between the army, church and government.

The presented proposal integrates religious moral issues along with socio-political principles in the idea for chaplaincy within the Bulgarian Army. The implications of these principles project involvement of local NATO units in partnership with local Bulgarian organizations. In the case of chaplaincy within the Bulgarian Army, the proposed organization is the newly established Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association. Although political, social and economical issues remain in the scope of its work, the Association’s main priority is the renewal of spirituality within the army structure through cutting-edge chaplaincy ministry beyond the ecclesial gates into a world of war and insecurity. The Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association acts as an agent of spiritual restoration targeting morality within the Bulgarian Army with the Bulgarian chaplain as the key element in this process. For an army without spirituality is no army at all.

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Bulgaria: Local Elections 2003

October 27, 2003 by  
Filed under News

In October, Bulgaria held local government elections. The elections created severe tension in the political situation of the country as the current government is failing to provide the promised results in the first 800 days of the political program. The government is headed by Bulgaria’s former King Simeon, who ruled for three years until he was nine, when his family was exiled from Bulgaria after the Communist take-over in 1944. In 2001, he was named as Bulgaria’s prime minister becoming the first exiled East European monarch to return to power.

Four major political forces participated in the elections. Among them were the National Movement “Simeon II” (now in power), the Bulgarian Democratic Party (in power during 1997-2001), the Socialist Party (in power in during 1996-1997) and Liberty and Rights Movement (representing the minority Muslim population of Bulgaria). While final results of polls will become clear after the second round in a week, it is already clear that the ruling political party did not win the local elections.

As the government is getting close to their first 800 days the statistics are the least to say threatening. More than 65% of the Bulgarians live with less than 100 Euro a month, while large corporations close to the government are increasing in income and status. The medications are 40% more expensive than two years ago and the cost of electricity has doubled. One million Bulgarians have immigrated since 1990.