Christmas Carol Service

The BSS warmly invites you to our annual Carol Service on the 2nd of December 2016, at 7 pm.

This is our regular festive get together which is held in the beautiful church of St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, Queen Victoria Street and St. Andrew’s Hill, City of London, EC4V 5DE.

The church, which was built by Sir Christopher Wren is a wonderful historic building and well worth a visit in its own right. Please come and join in our carol singing in English and Slovene.

Catch up with friends after the service as there will be potica (offered by the Society) and Christmas drinks (courtesy of the Embassy).

There is no charge but a collection is taken to support the work of the Barka charity in Slovenia.

Nearest underground Blackfriars. St Paul’s and Mansion House nearby.

How to get there

Sedbergh singers star at the annual Prešeren dinner

Singing the National Anthem

Singing the National Anthem

When Britons and  Slovenes rise to their feet for the Slovenian National Anthem at the Prešeren Dinner in London, you don’t expect a group from Cumbria to be leading the singing. But the star performers at this year’s British-Slovene Society Annual Dinner were Lep pozdrav iz Sedbergha. As became quickly apparent, Sedbergh is not in Slovenia but in the north of England. It’s twinned with Zreče in Slovenia, and the choir led by David Burbidge (in the kilt) have developed an impressive repertoire of Slovene folk songs.20150207_221054

As the Sedberghers launched into the moving Slovene song about the beloved lime tree (Lipa zelenela je), one Slovene listening remarked, “You can tell they’re not Slovenes, they’re not sad enough,” but gave them a hearty round of applause all the same.

The raffle collected a record sum of £495 for the Society’s charity Barka, which helps  people with special needs. This bears witness to the generosity of members, but also the sterling efforts of our raffle ticket-sellers, who confronted every guest with a smiling invitation to contribute.

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They’ve never been captured together before: four Ambassadors all connected with Slovenia.  From right to left: Sophie Honey, just appointed new British-Ambassador in Slovenia; Tim Simmons, former British Ambassador in Slovenia; Tadej Rupel, Slovenia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom since 2014;  and David Lloyd, Chairman of the British-Slovene Society, and also a former British Ambassador in Slovenia.

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Barka, the charity we support

The British Slovene Society has been supporting Barka since 1997. It is a charity run by L’Arche, the Canadian parent charity which operates internationally, and was the first charity of its kind to set up in Slovenia in the village of Zbilje, close to Medvode, about 20 kms north of Ljubljana.

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By coincidence, David Lloyd, our Chairman, lived in Zbilje when he was  Ambassador to Slovenia and came to know Skupnost Barka well as neighbours and friends. It was the then Society Chairman, Keith Miles, who approached David in search of a ‘good cause’ in Slovenia to donate money collected by the British-Slovene Society, as a result of which the connection was forged. Shirlie Roden, one of our Trustees, and a long-standing lover of Slovenia, has brought her music to the community on a number of occasions.

Historically, Društvo Barka, under the tireless stewardship of Manca and Klemen Kastelic, has lived a hand-to-mouth existence. Staff who come from all over Europe are voluntary and devoted to their work. Only relatively recently has the State made some modest funding available and some money has come from the EU. Barka now has two residential villas  and a magnificent workshop/studio/chapel complex built and donated by a German benefactor. Its 25 or so residents, some who board and some who attend daily, are fully integrated into the Zbilje community and much loved by them.

We invite anyone wishing to donate to Barka to contact the British-Slovene Society Treasurer, Gorazd Kert on treasurer@britishslovenesociety.org.

If you wish to learn more about Barka in Slovene, see http://www.barka-drustvo.si.

Here is their blog where they report on their events: http://skupnostbarka.blogspot.com/.

Barka’s Gift to the British-Slovene Society

Skupnost Barka, the Slovenian community of people with disturbed mental development, gave this picture to the British-Slovene Society in the UK in recognition of the support the Society has provided to the charity over the years.

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David Lloyd, president of the BSS, brought the picture to the  Society’s annual Christmas Service at the Church of St Andrew-in-the-Wardrobe in London on 13th December. He presented it to Reverend Guy Treweek to hang in the Church.

At this year’s Service, the congregation donated a record £287 pounds (and 5 euro), which will be sent to Barka with our best wishes.