Bulletin 52 – Easter 2021

Dear Readers,

In the previous edition of our Bulletin, issued around Christmas, we wrote about several significant historical anniversaries. This time is different. I can only think of one anniversary, a rather paradoxical one: it has been almost precisely a year since we have been shut, for the most part at least, in our homes, trying to avoid the uninvited guest, COVID-19. Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t seem to be improving, the numbers don’t spark too much hope; sometimes things seem to be looking up, but then there is another step back, it’s a bit like a see-saw…

We try to live a life as „normal“

as possible, but it is not easy. We don’t get to see our loved ones, we fear the passers-by, and meeting a friend for a coffee or a beer seems like a scene from a pleasant dream.

What are the benefits of these times? Surely each bad era has a positive side to it. Life has not come to a halt! Yes, many people are dying and it hurts, but so many of us have recovered and children are being born as if nothing was happening at all! In addition, fortunately enough, good books are being published, so there is always something to read, let us be grateful for that! And not only books, also great films, theatre plays – it is good news that people refuse to give in to the mess created by the virus. It is not all bad.

To mention at least some of what you will read about in the new edition of the Bulletin, I would like to draw your attention to the Pastoral Brothers: two young Protestant ministers that have been active on YouTube, among other places. I am sure the two of them have also refused to give in to the atmosphere of fear. Ministers and actors at the same time, they bring hope, joy and, what’s more, they have managed to get the atheist minority to be able to relate to them! That is really quite something. So take a look at them. And let us all hold on to the hope that comes from above.

Jana_PliskovaOn behalf of the Editorial Board

Jana Plíšková

Course for hospital chaplains at ETF UK

Kurz nemocniční kaplan II.On Friday, December 4th, 2020, the ceremonial closing of the fifth cycle of the “Hospital Chaplain” qualification course took place at the Evangelical Theological Faculty of Charles University. The 310-hour course is organised by the ETF in cooperation with the Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University, the Association of Hospital Chaplains of the Czech Republic and individual churches in the Czech Republic. Successful completion of the course is one of the conditions for the work of clergy in medical facilities. Continue reading Course for hospital chaplains at ETF UK

Trip to Terezín

Terezín II.On Tuesday the 15th of December 2020, the International Department of the Protestant Theological Faculty organized a trip for the foreign students of the Faculty to the former Ghetto and concentration camp in Terezín (Theresienstadt). This might look like a rather unusual activity for the time of Advent, but these days provided the best conditions for meetings in groups as far as the COVID-19 restrictions were concerned. We even had an opportunity to ask our friends and colleagues from other Faculties to join us. Continue reading Trip to Terezín

You have to be a bit of a fool not to lose hope

11. bratr-3My interview with Pavel Novák, head of Diaconia’s low-threshold clubs in Jablonec nad Nisou, took place on-line, like most things do during these difficult times. However, despite not meeting in person, we did get to see and hear each other, and our meeting made me feel quite certain that Pavel Novák was the right man for this job. I’m sure the Roma people, “his Gypsies”, trust him. Continue reading You have to be a bit of a fool not to lose hope

We should have an understanding of the complexity of interpersonal relationships and the diversity of environments. Interview with Pavel Hanych, the new Head of the Ecumenical and International Relations Department of the ECCB Central Office

2. HanychPavel Hanych (37 years old) studied Protestant theology at Charles University in Prague. For 10 years, he worked at the ECCB Diaconia headquarters, most recently as the Head of the Communication Department and as a Press Spokesperson. He is ordained as an assistant preacher of the ECCB and he also coordinates the publication of the new evangelical songbook. Music is his biggest hobby, he has been pursuing it since childhood. He studied violin at a specialised music primary school. He and his wife Klára are raising a 1.5-year-old son Pavel. Continue reading We should have an understanding of the complexity of interpersonal relationships and the diversity of environments. Interview with Pavel Hanych, the new Head of the Ecumenical and International Relations Department of the ECCB Central Office

Czech-American partnership online

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe partnership between the ECCB and the Presbyterian Church in the USA has a long tradition. Many roots reach as far as into the 19th century. At that time, immigrants from the Bohemian Lands founded Czech Protestant congregations in the US. They often maintained close relationships with the evangelicals in their old homeland. Many of these congregations became part of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. During the time of communism and the closed borders, many contacts were broken. Continue reading Czech-American partnership online

Czech public intrigued by the videos of two YouTube ministers

01They call themselves the Pastoral Brothers, and apart from their regular work, they also prepare some rather specific YouTube videos. Their names are Jakub Malý and Karel Müller and they are two Protestant ministers from Prague. Their videos, in which they present Biblical themes to the wider public and also comment on public affairs in a satirical manner, have gained much higher numbers of views than the authors had originally expected. They have thousands of followers. Weekly, their videos are viewed by as many as tens of thousands of people and they have certainly managed to reach far beyond the borders of the „seniorate“ (parish), or of the whole Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, for that matter.   Continue reading Czech public intrigued by the videos of two YouTube ministers

Bulletin 51 – Christmas 2020

Dear readers,

It is always a good idea to draw attention to anniversaries both great and small. Their meaning is not lost; it is still as valid today as it was several hundred years ago. Anniversaries are to be commemorated.

This time we offer you three and all of them are to a greater or lesser extent connected with the existence of our church, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren.

The Battle of the White Mountain took place on Sunday, November 8, 1620. It is therefore exactly 400 years ago, and this year the date of November 8 also fell on a Sunday. The anniversary events, which were planned long in advance, had to be severely reduced due to the covid-19 pandemic, but their importance was not diminished! What does the battle itself and the post-White Mountain period, the Thirty Years’ War and the “Dark Ages”, mean to Czechs? Up to half a million people went into exile during the violent re-Catholicization of that time. It is a deep scar that members of the Protestant churches, as well as of the Catholic Church, are aware of, and during the annual “celebration” their representatives try to find common ground. And I think it has been going well in recent years.

The second anniversary follows the first. 350 years ago, Jan Amos Komenský, Bishop of the Unity of Brethren, pedagogue and philosopher, “teacher of nations”, died. He too had been forced to leave our country for good in this “dark age”.

The third anniversary concerns our present, the 1950s, the time of communist Czechoslovakia. Among more than two hundred executed by the regime, there was only one woman, the erudite lawyer Milada Horáková, a member of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. In June this year we marked 70 years since her murder.

Dear friends, the meaning of Christmas does not change, the coronavirus does not alter it. It can only add to its meaning. Let us hold on to hope in times both of good and evil!

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ (Ps 126: 1-2, NRSV)

On behalf of the Editorial Board

Jana_PliskovaJana Plíšková