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TORRINGTON, CONN (SZS) On Pentecost Sunday, June 4th, Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek of the Slovak Zion Synod–ELCA preached at a gathering of the Považský Seniorát of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia [a seniorát is analogous to a conference in the ELCA] . The event was hosted by the congregation in Lubina and held in the historic church consecrated in 1784. The Reverend Eva Juriková is the congregation’s pastor and conference dean; the Reverend Radim Pačmár serves as assistant and is a past participant of our Slovak Zion Synod’s seminarian immersion experience in the United States. The theme of this year-long emphasis taking place in the conferences and honoring the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is “Liberated by the Grace of God.”

At the Festival Eucharist on Sunday, Bishop Kucharek preached on the text designated for this gathering, 1Corinthians 3:11: “For no other foundation can be laid other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Pastors of the conference, other clergy, lay people from conference congregations, as well as other distinguished guests were in attendance, including the bishop of the Western District, the Reverend Bishop Milan Krivda, and the Reverend Bishop Miloš Klátik from the General Bishop’s Office.

In her sermon, Bishop Kucharek emphasized that Jesus Christ is the foundation on which the apostles and reformers built the Church. Jesus is the foundation of grace (sola gratia), the foundation of faith (sola fide) and, since Jesus is the Word made flesh, He is the foundation of scripture (sola scriptura). Following the morning Eucharist and dinner, the conference gathering continued with an afternoon program, which began with an organ presentation of Bach’s Preludium G-dur. The welcome by the vice-president of the conference was followed by various congregational choirs, hymns by those gathered, historical presentations, prayers and meditations.

The program included an acknowledgment of honored guests at which Bishop Kucharek, the mayor of Stará Turá Anna Halinarová, and the mayor of Lubina Martin Benantinsky each received a commemorative medal struck by the General Bishop’s Office for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The obverse side depicts Dr. Martin Luther with the inscription “Sola Fide, Sola Gracia, Sola Scriptura, Sola Redemptione Christi”; the reverse side depicts Luther’s Rose with the inscription “500th Anniversary of the Reformation 1517 – 2017.” The citation given at the presentation of the medal to Bishop Kucharek was “for her cooperative endeavors and support of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia and the propagation of its good name abroad.”