The Theological Conference 2015 in Trnava

General Bishop of the ECAC in Slovakia, chairman of the Association of evangelical pastors in cooperation with General Bishop Office, Department for mission and education prepared for pastors of ECAC The Theological Conference. The Conference is organized every year, in range of three days. The Conference 2015 was held since the 16 to 18 September 2015 in Trnava and the main theme was: „Reformation and Politics“ with sub-theme „Church and State in care of different age groups“. Beside invited people, at the Conference were more than 120 evangelical pastors.

On Wednesday, the Conference was opened by General Bishop of the ECAC in Slovakia Miloš Klátik and by local pastor Kristián Kostecký. The chairman of the Trnava Self-Governing Region Ing. Tibor Mikuš welcomed participants of the Conference. Rector of the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava prof. doc. Ing. Jozef Matúš, CSc. in his speech highlighted the task of church by solving of social problem and morals in society. Also rector of Trnava University prof. doc. JUDr. Marek Šmid, PhD. welcomed participants. Beside the evangelical pastors were attended at the Conference also invited guests – Archbishop Rastislav, Orthodox Church; Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský , Roman-catholic Church and Bishop of Reformed Christian Church in Slovakia Lászlo Fazekas and other representatives.

The first lecture had Oberkirchenrat prof. Dr. Ulrich Heckel from Germany. He spoke about Luthers´ learning about Two Kingdoms. On his lecture linked up former dean of Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty prof. ThDr. Štefan Kišš, he spoke about Slovak point of view on Luthers´ learning about Two Kingdoms. After coffee break started panel discussion with representatives of Slovak political parties: Ing. Ján Figeľ, PhD., Mgr. Daniel Krajcer, Ing. Ľudovít Kaník, doc. Ing. Miroslav Beblavý, PhD., Ing. Tibor Mikuš, PhD., Ing. Emil Ďurovčík. At first they expressed their attitude on relation between church and state and then answered on questions. First very important controversial theme was change of churches funding. They expressed, that it is necessary to change current situation and they have to do it in dialogue. Another theme were: church education, social services in church, care of the cultural heritage. Also issues about migrants and refugees were not unnoticed.

Also the next day of the Conference was about politics. As first spoke former Prime minister of Slovak Republic and current President of Center for European studies Ing. Mikuláš Dzurinda, CSc. He emphasized importance dialogue in present time, which was characterized as values decline, what led into the conflicts. On the end of his lecture he pointed, that all conflicts and crisis can be handle in unity, as a result of dialogue. He encouraged Evangelical Church into dialogue and unity.

The next precious guest was Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic doc. JUDr. Robert Fico, CSc. In his speech he highlighted a personality of Dr. Martin Luther and Reformation. He appreciated positive action of Churches in society, benefit from evangelical education and social facilities. He expressed willingness to solve actual problems in common dialogue and he pointed out that: „Church has always open door to him“.

After a busy morning followed more freely afternoon. Participants had opportunity to visit Western Slovakia Museum or hunting exposition in Hlohovec. Thursday evening is usually devoted to Jubilee. Twenty six pastors recalled their anniversary of ordination as an evangelical pastors (we celebrated 30th up to 60th anniversary).

On Friday had lecture Bishop from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland Matti Repo. He introduced Evangelical Church in Finland and spoke about phenomenon – church members leaving and new members do not come to church, but pastors meet them at baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals. This type of services are the most important and have very significant mission opportunity. He answered on many questions from audience because the practice in Finland is different in many ways. In Finland are familiar to do a baptisms at home or wedding are held outside the church, but you have to paid for it.

For all this we gave thanks to our God, because education, discussion and mutual meeting was the main objective of the Theological Conference, which we successfully achieved.

Mgr. Štefan Kiss , secretary for education and mission, | 25.9.2015

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Grafické spracovanie:Ladislav Menyhart