Let us pursue what makes for peace

výřezOn September 17, 2019, representatives of five Protestant churches from Central Europe met in Warsaw to discuss the current situation in our region.  The leaders of the participating churches signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which, inter alia, closer cooperation between the churches in the region was agreed.

The meeting took place in the context of a conference organized the day before by the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, and many other partners, entitled “We Create Peace”. At the same time, the Memorandum on Democracy of the German Protestant Church was presented along with other documents and, in a spirit of ecumenical openness, the connection between faith and democracy was discussed.

A commitment to democracy and the rule of law is also contained in the joint statement.  The church leaders emphasize that the Protestant churches in Central Europe want to contribute to the urgent issues of our time, such as the preservation of creation and the peaceful coexistence of people, nations and religions.  As minority churches, they want the prophetic witness of their voices to be heard.  Similar meetings will take place every year from now on, with the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren offering to host the next gathering in autumn 2020.

The Text of the Declaration:

Church Leaders‘ Joint Declaration

Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (CZ)

Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (CZ)

Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia

Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual edification. (Romans 14.17,19)

During the conference “We create peace”, which took place on September 16, 2019 in Warsaw,

  • conscious of the history and geographical location that binds us, especially the atrocities that have hit Central Europe in the 20th century, 30 years after the liberation from communist tyranny
  • citing the common values that are rooted in our Christian faith and our Protestant heritage and that govern our actions in freedom and responsibility,
  • based on the fellowship that we form within the Lutheran World Federation,

we declare our desire for closer friendship and cooperation among our churches in the region to bear witness to our faith, our hope and our love, which result from the liberating and healing power of God’s love expressed in the risen Christ.

We declare our desire to contribute to the preservation of creation and the respectful coexistence of people, nations and religions in Europe, and that our churches support the principles of democracy and the rule of law, because we as Christians are called to care for values such as: truth, peace, freedom, justice, mercy, human dignity and the protection of minorities.

deklarace-PL

This declaration means:
1. that we also want to apply and develop the principles of law and democracy in our own structures and to let the prophetic voice of the Church be heard;
2. that, as children of the one Father, we want to engage in dialogue in a spirit of mutual respect and without violence. We want to work for peace and cultivate a respectful culture of communication in society and in the news media;
3. that we also fulfill our mission to follow Christ, and spread His gospel of peace and hope in the society in which we live, by caring for and advocating for those excluded and injured.

May God help us in this endeavour!

Warsaw, 17. 9. 2019

Daniel Ženatý, Moderator, Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren

Tomáš Tyrlík, Bishop of the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession

Ivan Eľko, General Bishop of the Evangelical Church if the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia

Jerzy Samiec, Senior Bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland

Tamás Fabiny, Senior Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary