Having survived life in a major battleground of 20th century wars, occupations, exterminations and decades under communism, the Polish people have emerged eager to make a speedy transition to a market economy and full membership in the European Union. And yet they continue to confront the significant challenges of developing infrastructure and mending the shredded fabric of almost every aspect of social, political and economic life.
Founded in 1551, our partner, Kosciol Ewangelicko-Reformowany (“the KER” or the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland) has survived to become a minority denomination whose members confront all of these national challenges, and more. Poland is more than 95 percent Catholic. It too often is asserted that: “To be Polish is to be Catholic.” Protestant believers often are called upon in their families and in the marketplace to prove that they are true Christians and patriotic Poles.
Our partner Protestant church is seeking to encourage its members to cast off fear and look outward in trust — to reach out to their neighbors in ecumenical love and service.
In order to support outreach, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners with the KER, especially as it emerges from the past and develops its vision and roadmap for the future. In dialogue with our partner, we seek ways to learn from the perseverance and hope that has kept the few congregations of this diaspora church alive.
Our mission personnel walk with our partner in a ministry of accompaniment, supporting outreach and programs for adults, youth, and children in a variety of capacities. Mission co-workers are jointly appointed by PC(USA) and by Global Ministries (a combined witness of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ).
A new day is dawning as the KER continues to develop its vision for the future of the church, especially in areas such as mission and outreach, leadership development, nurturing lay leadership, linking the traditional with what is new in worship, music, and youth programs, ecumenical cooperation, work with international counterparts, and more.
Currently the PC(USA) does not have any particular projects or programs in Poland. For information about Presbyterian work in Europe contact Amgad Beblawi.
The Polish Reformed church was founded in 1551 in Southern Poland. In the course of time it existed in three entities, sometimes simultaneously: The Greater Poland Brethren (till 1817), the Lesser Poland Brethren (till 1849), and the Lithuanian Brethren (till 1939). In 1849 the Warsaw Brethren was formed, which continued the tradition of the first two above-mentioned Brethren. After World War II it was reorganized as the Polish Evangelical Reformed Church which continues to-day the rich tradition of Polish Reformed Christianity. There are not precise statistics, but normally the church speaks of about 4,000 members grouped in nine congregations and eight other places of worship.
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