From 9 to 13 September 2023, members of our congregation visited Evangelical parishes in and around the Silesia region in Poland (Krakow, Katowice, Wrocław, Świdnica and Jelenia Góra Cieplice), in the run-up to the LWF General Assembly in Krakow. Our group also included Lutheran pastors from Sweden and the USA.
The tour started off with a worship service at the Parish of the Lord’s Resurrection in Katowice, presided by Bishop Marian Niemiec. As is the case of so many other places of worship we visited during our trip, this church was designed by an architect from Germany and constructed with funds donated by industrialists from this country. The troubled recent history of the region impacted the church significantly, with membership, which comprised Polish as well as German nationals, decreasing rapidly during the Second World War, today numbering a few hundred souls. Even so, the congregation remains vibrant and has a wide programme of activities.
The same dynamic spirit was very much present in each of the parishes we visited during the following days, including the spectacular Holy Trinity Church of Peace, the largest wooden Baroque temple in Europe. We met with Lutheran pastors, their families and volunteer workers, and were first-hand witnesses to their impressive work with the many Ukrainian refugees in the region, some of it funded by the LWF. At the impressive LWF Integration Center in Bytom-Miechowice, we heard moving stories by Ukrainian mothers and grandmothers.
This trip was a humbling experience for us all, and a reminder of the work that is carried out by good people who are supported by their steadfast faith. As acknowledged by Bishop Niemiec in his sermon: “One Body, One Spirit, One Hope. Let the LWF General Assembly theme find realization in community building, forging the unity of the Spirit, and let us be united in the hope for a good, just world.”
A special word of thanks to our member Valerie Marinoni for her tireless organizational activity behind the scenes!