Czech and Hungarian Protestants Discussed the Role of Churches in Society

2_IMG_20180228_083431At the end of February, representatives of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (ELCH) met in Brno to discuss topics such as church education, church funding and national identity.

In the opening service, Pavel Pokorný, member of the ECCB’s Synodal Council, reminded the attendants that the meeting was taking place during the period of Lent, which should be a time of purification. According to the prophet Zechariah, “idolatry, lies and deception should be removed as unclean.” Tamás Fabiny, bishop of the ELCH, spoke of freedom and slavery in his sermon: “Even in the free world, desired by everybody, things can easily turn around and become the contrary.”

The Brno pastor and senior, Jiří Gruber, presented the life of the local protestants to the visitors and took them for a tour of the Red Church, which the ECCB inherited from the German Lutheran church after WWII. The rector of the Masaryk University in Brno, Mikuláš Bek, also greeted the guests.

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The close relationship of the ECCB and the ELCH is based on their common protestant history during the times of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy as well as during the communist era. The representatives of both churches mostly discussed current topics, primarily issues relating to national identity and the role of church in today’s society. Education and church funding was also discussed. To conclude, the attendants stressed the importance of the good cooperation of the two churches and agreed that these inspirational interviews should certainly continue. The Hungarian friends invited the ECCB’s Synodal Council to another meeting which should take place in Győr, Hungary, in early 2019.

Oliver Engelhardt