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.
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.
With best wishes
Over many years, the ECCB has been involved in partnerships between congregations. These have involved partners in the Netherlands (there was once a great number of these), with Switzerland, with Germany, with Scotland, and with the United States of America. (There may be some I have missed!) Continue reading Partnerships and Partners
Jesus as a fugitive. Migrant Sarah and migrant Abraham. Joseph in the hands of human traffickers. Economic migrant Ruth. The Lord as a guest. And what about those who are on their way, on the run or in a foreign country today? Continue reading God loves foreigners
In the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, the Czech state commemorates 100 years since the end of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the foundation of the independent republic. Czech Protestants have been associated with the modern history of the country from the very beginning. Evennow, they are known as prominent statesmen, thinkers, human rights defenders, or opponents of communist totalitarianism. Continue reading Film and discussion evenings on „Famous Protestants“
Associate Professor Jiří Mrázek will continue as Dean of the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University (PTF) until 2022. His first four-year term of office came to an end after the academic year 2017-2018, but he was re-elected for a second term by the Academic Senate of PTF (consisting of representatives of the students and teachers) and he was then officially reappointed by the Rector of Charles University. Continue reading Jiří Mrázek Reappointed Dean of the Prague Theology Faculty
In this year’s Easter edition of the Ecumenical Bulletin, we reported about the help that Diaconia has been providing at the refugee camp in Zátarí, Jordan. A Lent collection was taking place in the ECCB’s congregations at the time, the proceeds of which were designated for the people at this camp. 1 million Czech crowns were raised in the collection, also thanks to our partners from the United States (Diaconia Connections). The funds from this collection will help enlarge the “Peace Oasis”, the Diaconia centre at the Zátarí camp. This will give the inhabitants of the camp more room for meeting with people, as well as space for specific aid programmes organised by Diaconia in cooperation with other organisations. In addition to this, a playground is being constructed for the local children, protected from the sharp desert sun, providing swings, slides and climbing frames.
The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren has founded six schools and another one is about to open in Brno. We boast a conservatory in Olomouc, we are proud of the graduates of our medical school, of our secondary schools and vocational universities with a focus on social work, and we are happy to watch the progress of the children at the School of the Brethren, so far the only elementary school. Our schools are unique in their family-like atmosphere and in the fact that they also give extra attention to students with problems. Inspections usually evaluate the ECCB’s schools as successful, as graduates tend to find jobs easily. This may seem like a drop in the ocean of Czech schools; but we are glad to be able to make this small contribution to the Czech education system. Two of our schools have been striving for years to increase their student capacity and safeguard their existence by constructing new buildings which comply with current tuition standards. The number of people interested in placing their child in one of the ECCB’s schools is currently higher than the number of students the schools are able to accept. Continue reading Two Brand New Schools Are Becoming a Reality, a Third One is Planned
On the 16th of January 1969, to protest against the widespread apathy that took hold of Czechoslovak citizens following the country’s occupation by the armies of the Warsaw Pact, the young student Jan Palach set himself on fire at a public place in the centre of Prague, in front of the National Museum. Continue reading The Cost of Freedom. 50th anniversary of the death of Jan Palach
On Thursday, 4 October 2018, the former Synodal Senior and pastor of the ECCB, Pavel Smetana (1937–2018), died. Continue reading Former Synodal Senior Passes Away
In June, the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) elected a new President: Christian Krieger of the Reformed Protestant Church of Alsace and Lorraine. The Governing Board also has a Czech representative, Petr Kratochvíl of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. Regional and confessional aspects are taken into account in the election: the official regulations require for at least a quarter of the members to come from orthodox or oriental churches. There is also certain quota determining the percentage of women, youth and lay members in the list of candidates. Continue reading Petr Kratochvíl elected as member of the Governing Board of the Conference of European Churches