What does the Evangelical Church mean to me?
The Church gives me all that matters most, through people of great faith I meet on my way. It points at Christ as the only source of salvation, and the need for personal relationship with God the Father. I can feel a strong bond with other believers in the Church. It is a place for spiritual growth, but also sharing of faith and knowledge.
Anna, teacher, Słupsk
Let me compare the Church to something I know so well: a ski jumping hill. As children, we sit in a church pew just like on a start bar. Parents bring us to the church for ‘Godly trainings’, where we are taught by pastors and religion teachers how to walk the path of Commandments. As soon as we put our skis in tracks, they say, ‘Follow the path of the Word of God!’ However, every jump hill has a take-off. At a certain point in life we need to jump for Jesus as far as we can. With help of the Holy Spirit, our jump should impress others to an extent that they decide to climb the jump hill, too. We should be like ski jumpers in real life, and the ‘head wind’ of the Holy Spirit shall give us a chance for a tremendous flight!
Piotr Żyła, ski jumper, Wisła
The Church is a place where I can meet other believers, a place of community and communion. The Church gives us an opportunity to change ourselves and others around us, develop, grow and sacrifice ourselves.
Justyna, student, Skoczów
I look into this question from a number of perspectives. As a historian, I can acknowledge the tremendous contribution of Protestantism to the development of Poland, which slips the attention of the majority of our society. I am not referring merely to the world of science, culture, art or politics, but most of all to economic achievements. It can be evidenced in every factory site in the Northern and Western Poland, railway infrastructure, and to an extent also in roads and buildings.
As a member of an evangelical congregation in the diaspora, I can also see differences in mentality and different ways that local Lutheran communities live by.
Humble church decorations, liturgy or hymns we sing immediately connote the universal Church of the first ages following the birth of Christ. Even though we tend to overlook it, it serves as an invaluable source of the Church’s internal power. The Church must remain the rock that shall stand still irrespective of incessant history’s twists and turns.
Jarosław Kłaczkow, Professor of the Humanities, Toruń
The Church is the only heritage no one can deprive me of. It is all that’s left of my history, but at the same time it is holiness that has persisted and keeps on expanding. The Church is a child’s memory of scents, pews and people who found their refuge there. For many a Church can mean a collection of fieldstones arranged in a pile, a stack of red brick made of Masurian clay or a hundred-year-old larch plank... still, I will call it ‘home’, because there is nothing more reliable in my life than the Church. Wherever God is, His Church is there; therefore, I am in the right place.
Dawid Banach, Lutheran pastor, Suwałki
I hold dear a number of things: home and family, local community, books I read, homeland, important events, ‘significant others’. Yet, the Evangelical community has ranked among the most important. It gave me a sense of roots; its norms and values have been my anchorage. Not only did I know what was good and bad, but I could also tell the meaningful from the meaningless; I knew what can build me up, and what might bring me to ruin. My religious community is my lodestar: it gives me advice, and points at the right direction, but never forces me to do anything.
My attitude towards the Lutheran Church was shaped by a notion of something that exceeds me, but also expands my imagination; it gives me support and hope, yet at the same time anchors me in the here and now. The Church has taught me integrity, loyalty, respect for civic virtues and the power of religious hope.
Jerzy Buzek, politician, Gliwice
For me the Lutheran Church is first and foremost the place in which I found my God. It is a church that does not reject, cast out or condemn people; on the contrary, it is open to everyone. It is a trustworthy community in which I can always count on support.
Maciej, lawyer, Grodzisk Mazowiecki
Since a Church is its people more than anything else, it must be a beautiful place, even if not perfect. And this is exactly the case with my Church, which I have chosen consciously after long years of spiritual pursuits. Members of this Church have affected my life; they have helped me survive many a hardship, offering support, appreciation and motivation. These people complement my world.
Paulina, actress, Warsaw
The Church is the cross, the Lord, the Bible and a pastor. It is like a school, because we also learn there. I like Communion, and I wish children could get altar bread just like adults. The best time in the church? The end of a service.
Pola, age 7, Dzięgielów
The Church is a community of ordinary people. We all contribute to developing relationships with God and each other. Believing in God is quite difficult today, so it is important to find an environment in which it becomes a little easier. Community with other believers and different kinds of involvement, such as working with children, youth, or singing in a youth group help us gain the notion of being at the right place.
Justyna, middle school student, Bładnice
The Church feels like my second home. I have been a member of the parish council in Wisła Głębce for many years now, and I am proud I can serve this way. Listening to the Gospel in the church gives me motivation to continue the efforts and keep training children. I try to find the talent they got from God so that they can multiply it for the glory of the Lord. I succeeded with Adam Małysz and now I am beginning to succeed with Piotr Żyła.
Jan Szturc, ski jump coach, Wisła
I think of the Church as a space for dialogue; a place where I can hope that my reflections will be listened to and understood. Because I have never idealized it, I have never become disillusioned to the point of rejecting this community as my own Church. The Church is people: justified, yet sinners still; fully involved, yet sometimes blundering. My Church has many faces. I keep looking for God in each of them, and I find Him!
Izabela Sikora, Lutheran deacon, Szczecin
Diaconial work is the ultimate form of fulfilling the commandment to love God and one another. It is a joyful, selfless gift of the heart, and a task to accomplish.
It is an effort worth taking: following this path lets us recognize and overcome our personal weaknesses, limitations, and sometimes even prejudice.
The essence of diaconal work is to acknowledge Christ in every man and woman, especially the sick and the poor.
Daria, computer graphic designer, Wrocław
The Church is an important element of my daily life. It has always been present, even if its image in my mind has been changing all the time. My involvement or ministry changes depending on my current location, and capabilities; yet, irrespective of all the changes, I always feel a member of this community.
Hanna, teacher, Mrągowo