On Monday, September 4, 2023, the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava hosted an international conference on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Leuenberg Agreement. The Leuenberg Agreement, signed by more than 100 Protestant churches, is an ecumenical commitment to church communion and cooperation in global witness and service, based on a common understanding of the Gospel and fundamental doctrines, and unity through Jesus Christ.
The conference met under the theme “The Leuenberg Agreement in a Multicultural and Multireligious Context” and considered past expectations of the Leuenberg Agreement, the challenges of current ecumenical cooperation, and the issues confronting ecumenism in our current multicultural and multi-religious contexts.
The conference was structured in three sections: an Academic Section, a Practical-Pastoral Section, and a Youth Section; presentations were given by church leaders and academics from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Rome, and the United States. Slovak Zion Synod participated as one of the sponsors of the event, with Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek bringing greetings to the conference on behalf of the synod and the Rev. Dr. Thomas S. Drobena giving a presentation in the Academic Section on the topic “Constructing a Theology of ‘Reconciled Diversity’.” The conference concluded with an Ecumenical Worship Service with the Lord’s Supper, led by leaders from the ecumenical churches which are part of the Leuenberg Agreement, and followed by a dinner reception in the seminary refectory.
It was fitting that this conference took place in Slovakia and at the Evangelical Theological Faculty. The importance of education in evangelical lutheran theology has a long history among Slovak Lutherans dating to the early post-reformation era. In addition, the theological faculty of Comenius University has long valued the importance and contribution that international study opportunities and research have on the development of its faculty and the future leaders of the church and the communities they serve.
We are pleased that the Slovak Zion Synod has been able to be part of such leadership development for many years and we look forward to our sponsorship of such church programs in the future. We value our partnership with the theological faculty of Comenius University and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Slovakia in the preparation and formation of future leaders in the church and academia, and we pray that our support will continue to produce much fruit. May God continue to bless our work together.