You are the salt of the earth
Almost five hundred protestants from Poland took part and formed the largest national group among different European countries represented at the assembly.
The Tüskecsarnok sports arena (Spiky Hall) served as the venue for prayers, Bible studies, seminars, workshops, concerts and discussion panels, which were interpreted into Czech, German, Polish, Slovak and Hungarian.
Salt became the main theme of the meeting, and for this reason on the Hungarian stand visitors could purchase ceramic salt shakers, specially made for the event. As the Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Hungary, Rev. Péter Gáncs remarked, Christians should pray to become the salt of the earth, or at least the salt of their depleted old continent Europe - they should became a community working for the benefit of everyone, which, just like salt, protects from depravity and gives the world the grand taste of living in Christ.
Polish protestants made an active contribution to the programme. Bishop Jerzy Samiec together with Bishop Heinrich Bedford - Strohm, Chairman of the Council of the German EKD and Bishop Tamás Fabiny from Hungary, participated in the bishops’ forum on the role of Churches in society. The superior of the Polish Lutheran Church also participated in a panel discussion on the subject of migration and refugees, with the participation of Rev. Dr. Martin Junge – Secretary General of the Lutheran World Federation. In the discussion, Bishop Samiec pointed out that when considering the way which the Church should take regarding the refugees, one must be careful not to choose what is easy, but to choose what is right. Even if the vast majority of the society was against refugees, the Church’s mission would still remain to keep the commandment of the Gospel and love every person.
The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland and the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland had their stands at the Showcase. Visitors could receive promotional products of the Decade of the Reformation such as pencils, pens, pins and matches. The stand was visited by guests from Poland and the partner Churches. Church choirs from Poland enriched the programme by their singing and concerts. Parishes from all Church dioceses were represented in Budapest.
One of the morning prayers in Poland was led by students of the Christian Academy of Theology in Warsaw. Visitors were also offered the opportunity to participate in a workshop entitled: “Christians can dispute differently”, which introduced the work of mediators at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland.
The first Meeting of Three Nations took place in 1991 in Zgorzelec. It was then that Polish, Czech and German protestant bishops made the decision to organise similar assemblies in different places every two or three years. The purpose of the meeting is to create space for sharing experience and strengthening the identity of protestants from Central and Eastern Europe.
Overtime, the composition of the meetings and the number of participating countries has been extended. The meeting in Budapest was the tenth one. Previous ones took place in Wisła, Český Těšín, Prag, Bratislava, Dresden and Wrocław. Due to the next year’s celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the next meeting will take place in 2020 in Graz.