What does it mean to be a Methodist in Slovakia?


February 13, 2014

umc-europe.org

Thanks to donations from all over Europe the Fund for Mission in Europe was able to help strengthening the identity and the witness of the United Methodist Church in Slovakia.

Methodist presence in Slovakia dates back to 1924, when Czech-speaking missionaries start-ed to primarily work among Czechs living there. However, it went through turbulent times of the European 20th century. In the times of the Nazi supported clerical fascist Slovak State (1939-1945), the Methodist Church was dismissed and preachers were expelled from the country. The after-war period with more freedom lasted till 1948 only. Then communist ruled Czechoslovakia gave no real chance for the development of Methodism in Slovakia either. It was only after the «Velvet revolution» in 1989 that the church could develop freely. And it did. Lots of evangelistic effort led to the formation of a few new viable congregations. People came to faith in Christ and joined these churches. Their number exceeded the one of those with Methodist background. As a result, most of the members, especially those in emerging churches, had low awareness of Methodist doctrine.

Against this background, the church leadership decided to provide Methodist doctrinal sup-port for emerging congregations – and by approving the project, the Fund for Mission in Eu-rope has helped to make a difference for the denomination in Slovakia. Congregations in Bratislava, Sereď, Gerlachov, Partizánske, Michalovce, Jenkovce, Slavkovce, and Kráľovský Chlmec were given help in doctrinal orientation of the people. And people greatly responded at the seminars in these churches. They live in an ecumenical environment with various doc-trinal emphases (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Reformed, Pentecostal…). A firm Methodist ground helps them to feel more secure. Their salvation is lived in a denomination that has its teaching rooted in the Bible and in a history of revival. That gives more enthusi-asm and a sound pride in their local situations.

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