Presbyterian Missionary Agency Despite being relatively small, the Evangelical Czech Brethren Church has a ‘distinct and widely respected voice’ for human rights advocacy

Professor Petr Kratochvil discusses the lingering witness of his church, a longtime partner of the CP (USA)

by Conference of European Churches | Special for the Presbyterian Press Service

Teacher. Petr Kratochvíl (Photo courtesy of Institute of International Relations, Prague)

Editor’s note: Prof. Petr Kratochvíl is a member of the board of directors of the Conference of European Churches of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren. Below, he reflects on what keeps him optimistic about the role of churches in European politics and why we can’t be afraid. The article was originally published here.

Professor Petr Kratochvíl is optimistic when considering the role of churches in European politics.

“It is true that Christian churches must learn to accept their minority status in European societies, but as my own church has been a minority church since its inception, I know that being a minority does not mean that your voice cannot be heard,” he said. said. “For example, despite being relatively small, my church has managed to have a distinct and widely respected voice in advocating for human rights.”

The Presbyterian Church (USA) supports Christian witness in the Czech Republic through a long and active partnership with the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren, which regularly organizes human rights events for the public, in particular For the young.

“We are also cooperating with the Czech parliament in this regard, and we also have a pastor who is specifically responsible for human and minority rights,” Kratochvíl said. “Individual members of our church have been among the leaders of the most influential civic movements fighting democratic backsliding and campaigning for greater openness to refugees.

As churches continue to try to play a role in defending human rights, Kratochvíl believes that the support of the Conference of European Churches is essential in at least two fundamental ways.

“First, the CEC provides a platform to share best practices in certain areas that are important to our church,” he said. “Secondly, CEC can provide a high level of visibility at European Union level.”

Although such a voice is not necessarily necessary when it comes to local issues, Kratochvíl noted that there are topics where the coordinated trans-European approach is key to success, such as support for siblings Ukrainians during the Russian invasion. “For this to work, however, there needs to be regular contact between church leaders and the CEC, which I hope we can rekindle, despite all the lingering Covid-related obstacles,” he said. declared.

In a broader perspective, what is the added value of churches for Europe? Kratochvíl thinks this is still an open question.

“Fortunately, we are no longer a majority that could impose its views on others. But we must also not succumb to the temptation to become a moralizing minority that despises secular societies,” he said. “The singularity of the Christian Church lies, in my opinion, in the radical openness to the other, the universal hospitality and the commandment of love whatever happens.”

At a time when a terrible war is raging in Ukraine, and when the climate is deteriorating, societies tend to close down, he added.

“Unfortunately, Christians are also sometimes lured into the traps of nationalism and sectarian conservatism,” he said. “Our ecclesial brotherhood is here to show that we cannot be afraid: it is not a question of hiding fearfully in the past, but of tearing down every wall and breaking every yoke that will set us all free.”

Categories: Global Mission
Tags: conference of european churches, evangelical church of czech brethren, prof. Petr Kratochvíl, Global Mission
Tags: church, church of czech, church of czech brethren, european churches, european politics churches, european conference, conference of european churches, czech brethren, defense of human rights, defense of human rights, european churches, politics european, evangelical church, czech evangelical church, czech brethren evangelical church, human rights, kratochvíl believes, petr kratochvíl, role of churches, role of churches in europe
Ministries: Global Mission

Barry F. Howard