A letter from Karen Moritz in the Czech Republic
Since I work with a church organization, and I am currently not filling a pulpit, I have a plethora of worship choices on Sunday mornings. I am visiting many of our Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (ECCB) churches in Prague and around the Czech Republic on various occasions throughout the year. However, I have found a church home at Kliment Church, or should I say, two church homes. The church is now owned by the ECCB, and a congregation regularly worships there at 9:30 a.m. in Czech. The Reverend Eva Halamová is the pastor for this church of close to 400 members. After worship congregants usually gather for hot coffee, hot tea and warm fellowship. Since the church is only heated by small heaters in the pews everyone welcomes the warmth following worship. Every week I recognize more and more of the Czech. Fortunately, Pastor Eva often has a written edition of her sermon which I greatly appreciate! Once in a while we also sing hymns I recognize. A couple of weeks ago we sang “Svatý, Svatý, Svatý” (you guessed it: “Holy, Holy, Holy”).
Following the fellowship I return to the church at 11:00 a.m. for worship in English. St. Clement’s Anglican Episcopal Church shares the same building and has services in English. The congregation is made up of English-speaking people from all over the globe. The Reverend Ricky Yates is the Chaplain and has served the church for around two years. Even though he is English he happily interacts with those of us from the United States. As you might guess, he and I enjoy swapping ministry stories. This ministry is part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe and relates to the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic. As I learn Czech it has been a blessing to be able to worship in English as well.
The church in which both communities worship is one of the older church buildings in Prague. The first written mention of the church was 1226 but it is probably older than that. It is a beautiful building nestled in the city and close to the river. I was initially struck by the contrast of old and new as I saw a reflection of this ancient church in the glass front of the building opposite it. It is an impressive church with a wonderful organ. For those who want to know more, the St. Clement’s website, provides a great introduction and history of the congregation and the building, all in English.
The opportunity to be part of these unique congregations demonstrates the challenge that many people face when living abroad. I want to embrace the culture, but due to my struggles with the Czech language this is often difficult. St. Clement’s provides an opportunity to worship with and get to know a Czech congregation and at the same time be fed spiritually in my native language. I feel very blessed.
During the next weeks and months I invite you to pray for:
- The Kliment congregation and its pastor, the Rev. Eva Halamová,
- St. Clement’s Anglican Episcopal Church and its pastor, the Rev. Ricky Yates,
- The partnerships developed between the ECCB, the PC(USA) and congregational partnerships like the one between Kliment and St. Clement’s,
- My continued efforts to learn Czech,
- All those who serve the church throughout the world.
Se srde čným pozdravem,
With hearty greetings,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 200