All posts by Jiří Hofman

Bulletin 50 – Summer 2020

Dear Readers,

Climatic changes, drought among other things, are definitely a threat we are all facing. In the Czech Republic at the moment, however, this does not seem to be the case. It is June, but summer seems to have forgotten to come. The heat that would often start to get quite intense at this time of year is nowhere to be found, not in our country. It just keeps raining, on and on. At least up until now. That is great news for the nature!

Bulletin 50 – Summer 2020

The world is still very much focused on the “Chinese virus”, let us hope it is slowly starting to lose its power; we are very grateful that our country managed to cope with the epidemic quite well and wish the same to the people from the countries around us. Let us keep the whole affected world in our prayers.

It is almost hard to believe how the pandemic really brought out the best in our society, people have clung together, started sewing face masks at home and giving them away to anyone who needed them, healthcare workers have been working round the clock, and the same applies to many social workers, nurses in elderly people’s homes and many others.

In this context, I think it is also important to mention priests: the ministers of the ECCB, but also of other churches. Although Sunday services could not take place, ministers actually had more work than the usual: to make sure the word of God reaches out to everyone even when churches are closed, Sunday services were broadcast online. And let’s not forget, this year’s Easter took place in the middle of the pandemic!

Some of the texts in this edition of the Bulletin also deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. I would also like to draw your attention to an article in which one of the ECCB’s ministers describes his ongoing stay with the Church of Scotland, in Lockerbie. The situation isn’t easy for him, either – he, too, has been preparing online Sunday services, dealing with all the technical aspects, preparing the lyrics…

Dear friends, my wish for all of us is that the this pandemic frenzy is over as soon as possible, so we can spend the summer freely and meaningfully.

Peace be with us all.

On behalf of tJana_Pliskovahe Editorial Board

Jana Plíšková

Bulletin 50 – Summer 2020

Bulletin 49 – Easter 2020

Dear Readers, our pre-Easter edition of the Ecumenical Bulletin is ready – here it is.

Easter is an invariable – something we can cling to, as Easter happens regardless of the fact that an impertinent virus is spreading all around us. It cannot jeopardise Jesus’s power over our world.

Bulletin 49 – Easter (PDF)

Concerning the texts in this edition of our Bulletin, I would like to draw your attention to the interview with Tomáš Jun, a minister of the ECCB. Tomáš Jun made quite a daring decision to take up the job of minister at the languishing congregation in Ústí nad Labem. The changes that have taken place during the short time he has been in office so far could easily be called a miracle. For Tomáš, this was a real challenge: he did not want to see a congregation in a regional city of approx. 95,000 inhabitants disappear. Have a read about what this 34-year-old minister has achieved so far and what he is planning to do in the future. May his work also encourage us to realise that even seemingly hopeless projects may be meaningful, fruitful and fulfilling.

The other thing I would like to mention, something that is almost hard to believe, are the activities of the group called “A Million Moments for Democracy”. Two young people, the founders of this civic protest, have managed to set in motion our nation’s disapproval with the government, and namely its PM, in a way which almost seems as if taken from another era. The numbers of people attending the protests organised by this group are certainly the highest since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, in fact they are not far from reaching the massive attendance of November 1989!

Dear friends, the virus will not leave our world in ruins. May Easter bring you peace and hope that surpasses our world’s troubles in every way!

Jana_PliskovaOn behalf of the Editorial Board

Jana Plíšková

Bulletin 49 – Easter (PDF)

Bulletin 48 – Advent 2019

Dear readers,
in the summer edition of our Bulletin, I mentioned the fact that our church has lately been celebrating one anniversary after another. This autumn, we have yet another important reason to celebrate. Not necessarily a church-related one, but definitely one that concerns Christians in a fundamental way: the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which took place thirty years ago, is an anniversary that celebrates freedom. In 1989, the citizens of Czechoslovakia won their freedom, and living in freedom is certainly something we, as Christians, should always be striving for.

Bulletin 48 – Advent (PDF)

And what about today? Do we still have enough reasons to be happy? What has been lost and where has it disappeared during those thirty years? Such doubts and questions are only proof of the fact that the struggle for freedom never ends.

I am not going to go into detail describing the articles you can find in this issue, but there is one event we have reported about that I would like to bring to your attention: the new Protestant school called Filipka (the last issue of the Bulletin provided an interview with its director) opened its doors in September and its students as well as the staff are happy and satisfied with how things are going. Let’s hope it stays this way! And, I might add, let us also hope there are many other articles that you will find interesting in this edition of the Bulletin.

Advent is near, we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas, the birth of God’s Holy Son, who came to stay in our midst, to be with us and comfort us, to keep our heads above the water, and most of all, to be with us and above us as the vision of the things to come.

Jana_PliskovaWishing you the Lord’s peace

On behalf of the Editorial Board

Jana Plíšková

Bulletin 48 – Advent (PDF)

Bulletin 47 – Summer 2019

Dear readers,

Between 2015 and 2018, our church celebrated numerous important anniversaries, and we are nowhere near finished with many more coming. This year in June, the ECCB’s Diaconia is celebrating 30 years of its existence. This non-profit organisation, which focuses on social services and was established, quite surprisingly, just before the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the communist regime, has managed to go a very long way during these 30 years. It has gained quite a renown and achieved many successes, including the foundation of its centre for humanitarian help, which brings aid to countries where people are suffering from hunger, floods, and other catastrophes. Its presence is also firmly established in refugee camps far, far away from Central Europe. It should also be noted that Diaconia is the second largest organisation of its kind in the Czech Republic, following Catholic Charity. We will certainly bring reports from this anniversary in the next issue of the Bulletin; in this issue, however, you can look forward to finding out about how Diaconia has managed to renovate five schools for little students in Burma, which is a delightful read.

Bulletin 47 – Summer (PDF)

The Evangelical Academy is another organisation our church can be proud of. The scope of its activities does not go beyond Central Europe this time, but that does not make it any less important. It runs seven schools within the Czech Republic – you can learn more about the newly established one in Brno, called Filipka, in the interview with its director.

The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren notices and takes care of those around the world who are persecuted because of their religious or other beliefs. We do not have the abilities or power to actively intervene; what we can do, however, is drew attention to these issues, organise debates and protest gatherings. We have brought another report covering this topic – definitely not the first or the last article of the sort. Let us believe there will come a time when there will be no need for such protests. If not here and now, then in God’ Kingdom. Let us hold on to this promise.

Wishing you a peaceful summer, and, if possible, also a refreshing one.

On behalf of the Editorial Board,

Jana PlíškováJana_Pliskova

Bulletin 47 – Summer (PDF)

 

Bulletin 46 – Easter 2019

Dear readers,

it is a pleasure to be able to present the new Easter issue of our Bulletin.

Apart from the latest news, we will also be looking back on two events that happened some time ago but that are very important to us.

Bulletin 46 – Easter (PDF)

We have brought information about our church’s 100th anniversary in previous issues, however the main celebration took place at the same venue and, almost precisely to the day, on the date of our church’s founding in 1918, which is why we are only providing a report with photos and videos now.

 Jan Palach. In January 1969, this name went down in Czech history as a unique phenomenon. Nearly half a year after Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Soviet-led armies of the Warsaw Pact, the student set himself on fire at the top of Wenceslas Square to protest against the atmosphere of resignation that had taken hold of Czech society. Following the funeral service at the Carolinum of the Charles University, where the academic community, along with hundreds of thousands of Czech people, said goodbye to Jan Palach, he was buried by Jakub S. Trojan, professor of the Protestant Theological Faculty, at the Olšany cemetery. You will find an interview with Jakub S. Trojan, in which he reflects on the 1969 events, in this issue of the Bulletin. The events that were organised in January this year, in front of the National Museum, to commemorate Palach’s death, were dignified, in good taste. Our Synodal Senior, Daniel Ženatý, as well as other representatives of the Ecumenical Council of Churches spoke during these events.

Dear friends, may the hope, peace and joy granted by our Lord during Easter not forsake you in the days to come!

Jana_PliskovaJana Plíšková

Bulletin 46 – Easter (PDF)

Bulletin 45 – Advent 2018

Dear Readers,

Years ending in eights have often marked significant events, not only in the European, but also in the global context. However, especially the Czech Republic has many anniversaries ending in eights, anniversaries that are of great importance to our history. This also applies to 2018.

Bulletin 45 – Advent (PDF)

50 years have passed since 1968, the year that began with the promising “Prague Spring” and ended in total despair after the occupation of the Soviet army and the armies of the Warsaw Pact.

There is another 50-year anniversary we would like to draw attention to. It does not have an eight at the end, but it is closely related to 1968: in January 1969, Jan Palach, a university student, set himself on fire in front of the National Museum, at the top of Wenceslas Square. His act was an act of protest against the peoples’ lack of will and gradual adaptation to the situation, the lethargy that set in in the months following the occupation.

I would like to finish this editorial with a more encouraging piece of history to commemorate: 100 years have passed since the end of WWI, and also since the founding of Czechoslovakia with our first President, T.G. Masaryk; it has also been 100 years since the founding of our Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, which is certainly a reason to celebrate! You’ll find an article about the ECCB’s centenary at the very beginning of our Bulletin.

We should, however, keep in mind what our Synodal Senior said at the ECCB’s centenary celebrations in Pardubice: “What’s a hundred years from a higher perspective?” Well put, right? Advent is coming. May the Christmas message bring us hope and support. In the busy weeks before Christmas, let us not forget the utmost source of joy and encouragement, true peace that surpasses our understanding.

Jana_PliskovaWith best wishes

Jana Plíšková

Bulletin 45 – Advent (PDF)

Bulletin 44 – Summer 2018

Dear Readers,

There’s no need to write too much about the lack of freedom in the economically prosperous People’s Republic of China. It is no wonder the local Christians flee the country if they get a chance. Their lives are in danger.

Bulletin 44 – Summer (PDF)

It should surprise us no less that they are also fleeing to the Czech Republic, a democratic country, where one would expect to find understanding and a welcoming attitude. However, the situation in this country is not very friendly towards migrants and the Chinese Christians will not be granted asylum, as they had hoped. Our country’s leaders are justifying their fear of immigrants with “Christian values”, but it is obvious this term has lost any meaning, it is just an empty phrase.

In this issue of the Bulletin, you will find out about the stance that the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren has taken on the topic.

We have also been reporting about the Cubans’ resistance against the regime in their country for quite some time now, and in this issue you will find an article on how the ECCB welcomed Cuban dissidents again this year.  We hope they enjoyed the programme we prepared for them in the Václav Havel Library.

We wish you all a joyful summer. Let the articles you might read here serve as a reminder that we need to cherish our freedom and value the fact that we do not have to fight for it. Freedom is a precious estate and we need to take good care of it.

Jana_PliskovaWith best wishes

 On behalf of the Editorial Board

Jana Plíšková

Bulletin 44 – Summer (PDF)