If you are interested in serving as a Resort Mission Chaplain, please click here.
* COVID-19: Summer Season in Switzerland.
The Winter Season started on schedule before Christmas, but was suspended during January as stricter regulations prevented our chaplains serving. The Summer season is due to start in late May or early June (depending on the resort), but there is a lot of uncertainty still and the start dates may well be delayed.
We look forward to restarting our work with renewed hope and energy when circumstances allow. If it proves possible, we also plan to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Dedication of St Peter's Zermatt, in August 2021, with the same enthusiasm and gratitude as we had planned for the 150th anniversary of its opening in June 2020.
ICS has been sending out Chaplains to work in holiday destinations since 1844 when the Interlaken seasonal chaplaincy was founded!
Opportunities for Resort Mission ebb and flow - it is fair to say that, at present, our work is rather more limited in scope that it has been, but it is still very healthy and - by the grace of God - we will keep looking for new opportunities in the future as resources allow. We are blessed to have a very committed and growing team of volunteer chaplains, many of whom are in active parish ministry, who personally invest time, energy and finances to serve for two or more weeks, often together with family and other team members.
Over the past 175+ years, mission has been undertaken in a variety of resorts and countries around Europe, responding to changing circumstances and patterns of tourism. Sometimes, we have worked in partnership with other organisations, most recently (until 2019) with the Union Lido resort in Cavallino (near Venice). We provided a team of chaplains each summer for around 30 years here. The difficulty in working in this sort of partnership is, of course, that decisions can be made unilaterally to change policies, and new management at the resort had already chosen to stop offering both English and German chaplaincies to their guests before the pandemic, which would have prevented any work there in 2020 anyway.
Another good partnership which reached its end a few years back, was with the Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland. We had enjoyed some excellent years serving the young people from around the world together with their leaders and the staff and volunteers at the centre and, on the ground, our work was greatly valued. Our chaplains there were also able to reach out to tourists and residents in the village. A third partnership, in a very different setting again to both Kandersteg and Cavallino, was with Thomson Young at Heart holidays, where many ICS chaplains worked as part of their teams with their older guests in various mediterranean resorts. When this partnership was terminated in 2006 due to a company policy change, some of the team became founder members of the ICS Resort Mission in Ibiza, which was work done in conjunction with the permanent chaplaincy on the island. This Ibiza work has had a few years 'sabbatical' but is certainly not off the radar. Many will also remember the campsite-based chaplaincies that ICS based in many French resorts, especially in Brittany, the west coast and the south-west. Changing holiday patterns and campsite security policies eventually made this type of chaplaincy unviable, but again - should circumstances change - we would consider new opportunities.
Our most recent new work has been in partnership with the permanent island chaplaincy on Corfu. Two good years of pioneer mission here waits to be built upon this summer if circumstances permit.
And we remain fully committed to our 'spiritual homeland' of Switzerland where we have our two church buildings: in Zermatt (since 1870) and Wengen (since 1928). Winter and summer in these two special resorts, together with our original summer chaplaincy in Interlaken where we work in close partnership with the Tourist Office, the Swiss Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church, give our chaplains the opportunity to reach out, through pastoral care and evangelistic conversations, to hundreds of people every year from around the world. Thank you for your interest in and support for our work, both through prayer and financial giving.
And if you are going to be visiting any of these places, you will discover that our Chaplains are friendly and approachable, hosting meet-ups and services every week. We’d be delighted to connect with you and hear about your holiday highlights and we love meeting new people while they are holidaying, working or living in these resort areas of Switzerland and Greece.
To find out more about our resorts, please use the links below. Resort Mission currently takes place in the following destinations:
Summer resort mission in the Gouvia region, Kassiopi and Messonghi
Summer resort mission (served from Interlaken)
Summer resort mission - but with a special service for Christmas
Christmas resort mission in the village, and pastoral care offered summer and winter seasons by our chaplains in Wengen.
Winter and Summer resort mission at St. Bernard's Church
Winter and Summer resort mission at St. Peter's Church