2015 Czech Republic/Slovakia Annual Conference
A theological presentation at the opening of the Czech Republic-Slovakia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and personal reports from several local churches at the end of the meeting referred to the conference theme, “Our Hope in Christ,” and surrounded the other conference business.
Because the conference covers two countries with different legal situations, organizational, administrative, and financial issues are dealt with separately at the respective district conferences. Most of the working groups for programs, including those with children, youth and women, work on the district level as well. Annual conference meetings focus on cross-border and joint matters, such as education and lay and ordained ministry.
One of the highlights of this year’s conference occurred on the closing Sunday, when Gabriella Kopas, Pavle Kocev, and Štefan Rendoš, all from Slovakia, were ordained elders. Another co-worker from Slovakia, Ivan Lukač, was admitted as pastor on probation, and Štefania Sklenárová was commissioned to serve as local pastor.
In the Czech district, there was also a new local pastor starting his ministry: Jiří Kantor. This means there are now 16 active clergy members in the Czech district and 11 active clergy members in the Slovak district.
Just prior to the annual conference, the district conference of The United Methodist Church in Slovakia met. Participants continued the conversation on the future focus areas of ministry. After a meeting with the bishop in November 2014, in which the potential and the problems of the current situation had been discussed, regional groups had met and prepared their reports, which they now presented to the district conference. As a result, three priorities for the future work emerged:
- More intense cooperation of the local churches, with the aim to strengthen the existing local churches and to support growth.
- Creation of opportunities for and activities with youth, enabling them to shape the mission of the church with their gifts and talents.
- Strengthening the awareness and willingness of all members and friends to actively participate in the mission of the church – with their gifts and talents, their time, and their financial opportunities.
For all priorities, the participants in the Slovakia district conference considered it important to remember the three basic dimensions motivating to such a ministry: to strengthen the vertical dimension of the relationship with God, to develop the horizontal dimension of the fellowship with one another, and to live out a faith radiating love and thus having a social impact.
Submitted by Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich