Since the ECCB became a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in 2004, our experience of this world community has enriched us in many ways. This bond was felt in a special way at the Reformation anniversary in 2017. Our contact with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) had already started in 2015. The La Crosse Area Synod in Wisconsin was looking for a new partnership in Central Europe and, after getting to know one another via telephone calls and emails, a delegation from the La Crosse Area Synod visited the Czech Republic in June 2017. Many conversations and many visits gave the four visitors an impression of the past and present of the ECCB.
Early in June 2018, a small delegation of the ECCB travelled to the United States to visit: Synodal Senior Daniel Ženatý, Head of the Ecumenical Department Oliver Engelhardt, and Štěpán Brodský for the Diakonie of the ECCB were guests in La Crosse and at the Synod Assembly.
How does the church position itself in current societal affairs? What is its theological profile? And what role should the church’s social service play next? These were the questions occupying both sides as they looked at each other’s questions, and were discussed with great curiosity – for example during the workshops of the Synod Asssembly. Then, during worship, our new partnership was sealed in writing with a contract. In this contract it says, “Through this relationship, Christ opens our eyes to see global connections and challenges“. Our next meetings are already firmly in the program: at the celebrations of the ECCB centenary in the second half of the year, in which the LaCrosse Area Synod will participate. They will also participate in a twinning conference, to be held in Atlanta in the spring of 2019, attended mainly by representatives from the church partnerships between the ECCB and Presbyterian churches in the USA.
In times when our countries’ policies assess international ties mostly in terms of economic self-interest, church ties as brothers and sisters in the faith, and a willingness to take the joys and sorrows of others seriously, are of high value.