In the first week of September 2017 the seventh annual International Conference on Sociology and Social Work took place in Prague. The tradition of this interdisciplinary meeting started more or less spontaneously several years ago on the initiative of some British and Dutch sociologists and social workers. In recent years this international circle has expanded and has now reached the Czech Republic: this year’s conference took place in Prague for the first time, at the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University, and there were around 50 participants coming from 11 countries. The theme chosen this year focused on sociology and social work in post-secular societies. The prefix “post-” is often used to express a kind of state that occurs after attaining a peak in the modern era. Modernism was linked to secularisation, but, as can be seen at the end of the 20th century, secularisation has never been fully achieved anywhere. It is true that in modern states the public sphere has usually been separated from the ecclesiastical one and is administered without any direct influence from religious institutions, but religion and the churches still exist and represent a significant alternative to the prevailing rational-technocratic and economic-pragmatic perspective of modern people and modern civilisation. They show that it is possible to imagine a different dimension of life and the world. The conference focused on how the churches can be involved in the shaping of contemporary communities, how human spirituality can be used in social work, and how to recognise and fulfil spiritual needs. Continue reading Interdisciplinary and international conference on sociology and social work at the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University
On Friday 2 June a formal ceremony took place at the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University (PTF) to mark the end of the Course for Hospital Chaplains. The sixteen graduates of the course had been training for a year so that they could become a beneficial part of a hospital team while maintaining their own unique personality. Part of their role will be to bring hope to patients, their families, and health service workers. Many of them believe they will be successful in changing the atmosphere in their hospital, so that hospitals will be seen as a place of God’s presence with a friendly atmosphere and relationships characterised by openness, trust, and respect. Continue reading New Chaplains Ready for Service in Hospitals
The idea was born in the mind of Jörg Wöltche, a clerical teacher from Bad Kissingen. To create a hymnbook, which could be used to launch an organ accompaniment in a smartphone through printed QR codes. Our cooperation began when we extended the idea to a Czech-German hymnbook of Christmas songs. Continue reading Interactive Christmas songs and carols
“The world is not a good place, it is full of violence and suffering.” These were the words with which Dr Denis Mukwege, a doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, opened his speech to the delegates of this year’s Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation. Continue reading Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The celebrations took place on September 10 in Ratiboř in Vsetín, in the church and in the region connected with the Lutheran tradition. Continue reading Celebration and New Books Remind Czechs of the Anniversary of the European Reformation
The biggest Bible in the world, the medieval city’s panorama, or a robot instead of a pastor giving blessings these were the attractions at the World Reformation Exhibition, which commemorated the 500th anniversary of the European Reformation the moment when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of his local church. Continue reading Czechs Make a Presentation in Wittenberg at the World Reformation Exhibition
The Cheb kindergarten is unique among the facilities run by the ECCB’s Diaconia: it is their only kindergarten for non-handicapped children. Its key mission is to support children from the Czech and German side of the border in meeting and getting to know each other. Continue reading Border-Free Kindergarten in Cheb
In order to choose a new logo for the ECCB, a commission was put together, led by Zdeněk Šorm, a pastor and an artist, who presented the winning draft to the Synodal Council and the Synod. Continue reading The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren Has a New Logo
The past few years have been marked with several important church anniversaries, many of which concerned the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.
In 2015, 600 years passed since the brutal and tragic death of John Hus; a year later, we were commemorating the similar execution of Jerome of Prague and this year we are celebrating the 500-year anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, represented primarily by Martin Luther, who nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517.
Our Bulletin brings a review of two of the events that concerned our church in relation to the anniversary of the Reformation.
We are happy to report about these interesting events, yet life also brings dark and sad stories. Reading about people who encounter evil on an everyday basis may provide an insight into living a meaningful life and doing our best to bring light into the dark. Olga Navrátilová, member of the Lutheran World Federation, reports about the brave doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denis Mukwege, in this issue of the Bulletin.
Advent gives us hope in standing up to the evil whose power often seems to be expanding in our world. Advent brings good news, showing who is Lord and God over all things and who is our salvation. This is the message we must spread, especially now, as Christmas approaches.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14–16)
One might often ask whether the church should be interested in politics. We believe it definitely should. We must not be indifferent to the injustice and wrong we see happening in the world around us and neither should we ignore who is in charge of governing our country, whether these leaders are behaving morally in their positions, and whether their decisions are based on seeking the good of their country and citizens rather than seeking their own benefit. Dirty politics, people say, but that is not the way we should approach it (even though it is obviously prone to corruption and other issues). Politics is the administration of public affairs and that is something we certainly shouldn’t stay away from – precisely because we are Christians.
The statement of the ECCB’s Synod concerning the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in the Czech Republic, which you will find in this edition of the Bulletin, addresses this very issue. It is a general statement which, however, clearly proclaims that our church cares about the way our country is governed and who is to be in charge for the years to come.
I would also like to draw your attention to an extensive interview with a long-standing worker of the ECCB’s Central Church Office that many of you will know personally. Gerhard Frey-Reininghaus retired in April, but he is definitely not planning to sit idly in the corner.
Many will be interested in hearing about the latest developments at our Diaconia. You will hopefully be amused and pleased to read our slightly unusual statue story from the Diaconia’s centre in Litoměřice – a story with a good ending.
The next edition of the Bulletin will be published during the Advent. Until then, we wish you peace and hope in all you pursue, may your time be filled with meaningful events and activities.