The theme this time was ‘Hoping Together’, which formed the basis for a series of talks, discussions and outings.
Czech participation came from four ECCB congregations, Charles University, Diakonie, and the Ecumenical and International Department of the Church Central Office. Frome the PCUSA there were people from congregations, from the church offices in Louisville, from Columbia Theological Seminary (which hosted the event in the comfortable and delightful surroundings of the seminary in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia), from Diaconia Connections (which raises money in the USA for the work of the Diakonie Center for Relief and Development) and interested individuals.
We heard about the work each is doing, discussed the issues we face, learned together, worshipped together (led by pairs of partnered congregations) and, indeed, hoped together as we looked to creating new partnerships and nurturing established ones.
We visited nearby Clarkston, where we learned of its amazing church vitality and diverse community; and we visited Atlanta to go to the Martin Luther King Center on the fifty-first anniversary of his death, perhaps the most prominent but far from the only victim of racial hatred and the struggle for civil rights and racial equality which, amazingly and depressingly, must still continue today.
We thanked our hosts, both in Decatur and in Athens, Georgia, where most of the Czech participants spent the weekend before the conference began. And we set out, either back to the Czech Republic or to visit more connections in the USA, already thinking of the next conference – which will be held in the Czech Republic in 2022.