A letter from Karen Moritz in the Czech Republic
Summer is usually a laid-back, lazy time of vacations. Many of my colleagues in the Central Church Office here in Prague take time off during July and August. However, for me the summer was full of activity. The summer months were full of visits to ECCB congregations and hosting visitors from many parts of the world. Following our annual Synod meeting in early June I had the opportunity to visit our ECCB congregation in Boskovice. The pastor, Marek Zikmund, and his family were very welcoming. I took the train to Boskovice on Saturday afternoon and joined Marek in leading worship on Sunday. This gave me my fourth opportunity to preach in Czech. Although many people were already away on their summer holidays we had a sizeable group in worship and for shared refreshments following the service. They told me about their congregation and we talked about their partnership with the Presbyterian church in Sewickley, Pa. After lunch with his family, Marek showed me around the town of Boskovice and then took me to the train station for my journey back to Prague.
Although the month of July was quiet here in the Central Church Office, it was a busy month for me. I was able to make my first trip to the Netherlands. I was able to stay with my Slovak friend Katarina and she and her Dutch boyfriend Roland showed me around that beautiful country. Katarina and I spent a day in the historic city of Maastricht, where we viewed ancient fortresses built during the Roman era and wandered through the quaint streets of the city. We took time to have some refreshments in a bookstore that had once been a church. That evening we had a lovely meal and prepared for our trip the following day to Delft and The Hague. We finished that day with dinner on the beach of the North Sea. Of course I couldn’t finish my trip without visiting a couple of windmills. Although my trip was short we saw a lot and I look forward to my next excursion to the Netherlands.
Upon my return to Prague I began a two-week intensive German course. Since we have so many partnerships with German-speaking churches I wanted to at least learn a little of the language. Our teacher Daniel was quite good and only spoke to us in German. I have to say that, for this English speaker, German is much easier than Czech! However, I haven’t given up on Czech and continue with my studies in that language. Since two of my co-workers and the regional liaison for Europe are German and we have many German guests, I know I’ll get a lot of practice. My upcoming trip to Hamburg next May for the Protestant Kirchentag will also give me opportunities to practice.
One might imagine that after all of that activity August was a quieter month, but it wasn’t! During August I continued to make plans for my upcoming itineration in the U.S. during the months of September and October. In addition to preparing for that I was also helping with preparations for our Czech Mission Network meeting, which would take place in Annapolis, Md., in September. In addition attending myself I was helping six Czechs make plans to attend this meeting along with their itineraries beyond this gathering. During August we were also able to host the moderator of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Cuba. It was a joy to show Rev. Daniel Izquierdo around the beautiful city of Prague. Sadly, all of my language studies have pushed out of my head the little bit of Spanish I knew so we had to chat in English. Rev. Ezquierdo also met with the Commission on Cuba, which gave me a chance to learn about all the activities sponsored by the churches here in the Czech Republic.
The month of August came to a close with my trip to the U.S. for the Labor Day weekend. It was a great summer full of many new experiences.
I invite you to be in prayer…
For the ECCB and the PC(USA) and our partnership
For the congregations in Boskovice and Sewickley
For the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Cuba
For the ECCB and its partners in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria
Mit dem Segen Gottes,
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 279
The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 285
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