National Pastor’s Conference 2024

It was held in Mikołajki.

From June 24-26, 2024, the National Pastor’s Conference was held in Mikołajki. The conference began on Monday afternoon with a welcome and prayer. The Presiding Bishop Jerzy Samiec, addressed the current situation of the Church, explaining the proceedings regarding reports of abuse and situation in the Military Chaplaincy. The evening included the General Assembly of the Association of Pastors and Catechists, where new leadership was elected, with Rev. Waldemar Szajthauer as President and two Vice-presidents: rev. Katarzyna Kowalska and rev. Dr Grzegorz Giemza.

The second day began with a service led by pastors from Mazurian Diocese where the sermon by Bishop Paweł Hause emphasized the need for reconciliation and love within the Christian community. Following the service, a session on child protection standards was held. The family and guardianship code was amended in July 2023, significantly increasing the protection of children from violence. New regulations mandate the implementation of child protection standards by all entities working with children. These standards apply to churches and should be implemented in all parishes and church organizations.

A session titled “The Situation of Sexual Abuse in the Church – Victims, Perpetrators, and the Faith Community” was conducted, focusing on various aspects of combating sexual abuse. Discussions included the differences between pedophilia and psychosexual and emotional developmental disorders, the importance of education, and building self-reflection and sensitivity to abuse among young people. Participants also addressed the need to demythologize the role of pastors, teach critical thinking, care for victims, communicate clearly, remove ministers from service in cases of misconduct, and respond to inappropriate situations. The day concluded with a prayer.

On Wednesday, the day began with a Bible study led by pastor Łukasz Stachelek from Olsztyn. Later, a workshop on preventing abuse of power and discrimination was conducted, referencing surveys filled out by participants. Discussions covered the definitions and characteristics of these issues, reasons for their occurrence, and the context of church structures. The workshop also focused on building a friendly work environment, understanding differences among people, psychological needs of employees, and techniques for building good relationships within a work team.

The conference concluded with lunch.