“W Co Wierzymy?” – What Do We Believe?”

“W Co Wierzymy?” – What Do We Believe?”

Sometimes it’s easier to talk about what we don’t believe than about what we do.

Sometimes it’s easier to talk about what we don’t believe than about what we do.

The Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland, for example, often is defined, to a great extent, by the “Nots” of the Protestant Reformation.  

This means that Reformed believers in Poland:

  • Do not display or pray before images, icons or statues in the church;
  • Do not venerate the Virgin Mary;
  • Do not recognize or venerate saints;
  • Are not subject to the Pope or the Vatican;
  • Do not celebrate Corpus Christi Day or the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (national holidays in Poland—all businesses are closed);
  • Do not go on pilgrimages to holy sites or relics;
  • Do not venerate one of the primary and patriotic images of Poland, the Black Madonna;
  • Do not allow their children to attend the catechism classes that are part of the normal public school day;

And the list goes on. You get the picture. 

Learning to make positive statements about Reformed beliefs is a continuing journey. One milestone is work on a new translation of foundational texts of the church. In English, the compendium will be called: “What Do We Believe?” – in Polish: “W Co Wierzymy?” 

Rev. Semko Koroza of the Lodz congregation is working with youth to produce translations of texts – many of them from the 16th century and from other languages.

The purpose of this effort is to circulate these foundational texts in contemporary Polish so that they can be more easily understood. These include theological treatises, catechisms and confessions that have shaped the faith of Protestant believers everywhere. These works by Calvin, Hus, and others will be published in a hardcover volume, with commentary. 

Circulation of the volume will radiate beyond Poland. Czechs can read Polish, and it is likely that the compendium will serve Czech Brethren and other congregations in the Czech Republic, as well as believers in other neighbors of Poland.  

This year is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, a significant, recognized and celebrated date in the churches of Europe. Publication of “What Do We Believe?” is scheduled to coincide with this year-long celebration.

This undertaking is a high priority for the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland.  All of the work of translation and commentary – everything it takes to produce the compendium – is being donated.  The church is left to prioritize available financial resources for the printing, which is very expensive here – and this a denomination whose pastors are paid a half-time salary.  Yet this resource is Critical Presence for the church in Poland at this time.

The Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland continues to struggle to forge a positive identity that is both Reformed and Polish. “What Do We Believe?” will go a long way towards helping believers define their faith – and their denomination – in positive, contemporary, and Polish terms.

AND . . . it may help congregations to live out their motto: “Reformed and ever reforming”.

Thank God that this is so!

Liz and Doug Searles
Lodz, PL

Doug and Elizabeth Searles serve with the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland.  They serve as mission workers for church growth and outreach.