Polish Youth Trip

The Polish Reformed Church is organizing a group of Protestant youth to Wroclaw to witness part of the ecumenical and official Festival of Protestant Culture in April 2010. During the Festival it is possible that a statue of Dietrich Bonhoeffer will be unveiled in the Wroclaw town hall. This is a momentous occasion which would have been almost unimaginable a few years ago.

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The Polish Reformed Church was founded in 1551 in Southern Poland.  After World War II, it was reorganized as the Polish Evangelical Reformed Church which continues today the rich tradition of Polish Reformed Christianity.  There are no precise statistics about church membership but there are approximately 4,000 members spread across 17 places of worship in Poland.  Parishes vary greatly in size from Warsaw (about 400 members), to ┼üód┼║ with about 120 members, to Pstr─à┼╝na with 14 members.  Members of the Polish Evangelical Reformed Church are a tiny minority in a population of 38 million Poles.   Global Ministries is in partnership with the Evangelical Reformed Church and missionaries Doug and Liz Searles are located in ┼üód┼║.

The Polish Reformed Church is organizing a group of Protestant youth to Wroclaw to witness part of the ecumenical and official Festival of Protestant Culture in April 2010.  During the Festival it is possible that a statue of Dietrich Bonhoeffer will be unveiled in the Wroclaw town hall.  This is a momentous occasion which would have been almost unimaginable a few years ago.

Each April, Polish Reformed youth gather for a spring retreat called “Jajecznice” (has to do with eggs and rebirth).  This year the dates correspond with the Festival, which helps Protestant congregations to build a positive image.  This year, the city of Wroclaw has decided to participate, and will promote the event to honor its Protestant past and show some openness.  It is a milestone, because the days of greatest Protestant influence in Wroclaw were also the days when it was a German “model city”–Breslau–and under Nazi occupation.

The Polish Reformed youth will be at the Zelow Conference Center for their retreat, with the Polish Reformed Church providing scholarships for them to attend.  If resources are available to extend the experience, they hope to rent a bus to travel to Wroclaw and provide a meal or two to allow for a full day at the Festival in Wroclaw for about 20 youth and leaders.

If resources are secured for the travel (about $600), the presence of the Polish Reformed youth would be a meaningful statement.  They would wear their church t-shirts.  The event is to be televised.

In addition to attending Festival events, the youth would visit a new Bible Institute/Seminary for lunch and a talk, and also would visit members of the Polish Reformed new church in Wroclaw. 

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