A letter from Karen Moritz in the Czech Republic
My job title is Ecumenical Relations Facilitator. I don’t know how much I facilitate, but lately I have had many opportunities to experience the ecumenical nature of my work. Throughout my ministry I have had several opportunities to serve in ecumenical ministries, ranging from hospital and university chaplaincies to ecumenical work in the local parish. Now I work with the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (ECCB) in the Ecumenical Department. This means attending ecumenical events ranging from the worship service for Christian unity in January to meetings both small and large. Since I have the privilege of working with the Rev. Gerhard Frey-Reininghaus and the staff of the Ecumenical Department, I often get invited to participate in a variety of events ranging from the meetings of the ecumenical officers of the various churches in Prague to larger meetings of others involved in ecumenical relations.
On March 3–5, the ECCB hosted a meeting of the European Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). Over 40 representatives of various Reformed churches came from all over Europe to attend this meeting. In addition to these representatives the president of the WCRC, the Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay from South Africa, and the general secretary of the WCRC, the Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, who works at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland, attended and made presentations. The group conducted routine business, receiving reports, electing new officers and voting on changes to the constitution. Since this group represents the coming together of two previous organizations to form the WCRC this meeting involved business related to that recent change. The meeting also included time to reflect on where the organization had been and where it would be going. President Pillay made a presentation entitled “A Vision for WCRC.” Another presenter, Dr. Guy Liagre from Belgium, gave a presentation on “Future Reformed Theological Work in Europe.” There was time following the presentations for small group interaction around the issues raised.
It was exciting to be a part of this gathering as an observer. Of course I was relieved that the meeting was conducted in English and everyone was very gracious. I had the opportunity to visit with various delegates during the social times and during meals. Although I have been a Presbyterian for almost 30 years, this provided a wonderful opportunity to grow in my understanding of what that really means. I was also excited about the ways in which our churches work together to strengthen one another and to witness to the world the ways in which those in the Reformed tradition continue to uphold the gospel. In seminary we often talked about the motto of the Reformation as “Reformed and always reforming.” I really got a sense of how this continues to be true. The formation of the WCRC represents the best in our ecumenical work. It was exciting to see how we continue to deepen theological discussions and how we are ever mindful of the changing world and church in which we live. I have to say, it was also fun meeting people from all over Europe. I have a renewed sense of pride in what it means to be a Presbyterian in the Reformed tradition and I am grateful to everyone who makes my ministry as an Ecumenical Relations Facilitator possible.
I continue to invite you to be in prayer for:
- The WCRC, its member churches and leadership. For Reformed churches and the entire Body of Christ as we live out the gospel often in troubled lands and troubled times.
- The ECCB and the PC(USA) and our partnership.
- Me as I continue to learn Czech and settle into life here in the Czech Republic.
With hearty greetings,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 200