The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


In Slovakia, center rekindles faith

Lutherans serve with a school, summer programs and more

You might call Slovakia’s Lutherans survivors. Organized during Martin Luther’s Reformation, the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church of the Augsburg Confession has endured political unrest, war and persecution. In the years after World War II, this Eastern European church prevailed against a communist ideology aimed at eliminating religion. Today young adults in the church work to restore their nation’s once-vibrant faith.

Since 1998 the Christian Education Center in Martin, Slovakia, has trained Christian workers for the 21st century. It’s the vision of Bohdan Hrobon, 39, an Oxford [England] University scholar and descendant of six generations of Slovak Lutheran pastors.

Bohdan Hrobon (left) heads up the
Zuzana Medvedova (left), Maria Hrobonova and Jakub Pales work out mathematics problems while teacher and principal Jozef Sopoliga looks on.
Hrobon said post-communist Slovakia suffers from a lack of moral direction. Training Christian professionals for full-time work in schools, in communities and alongside clergy will help, he said, adding: “In many ways our 30- and 40-year-olds are the ‘lost generation.’ They’ve grown up under communism and see no need for religion. They have no concept of it; it’s simply not relevant for them. We hope to change that.”

The “we” is a team of 20- and 30-somethings with wide-ranging backgrounds—business, engineering, mathematics, law, theology and social work. Nearly all have advanced degrees; many have doctorates. At presstime, Hrobon was defending his doctoral dissertation at Oxford on the relationship between worship and ethics in the book of Isaiah.

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February issue


Embracing diversity