Polish Lutheran bishop shares his motto: “Do not let your hearts be troubled”

Bishop Pawel Hause, Diocese of Masuria, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay
Bishop Pawel Hause, Diocese of Masuria, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay

Voices from the Communion – Bishop Paweł Hause, Diocese of Masuria, Poland

(LWI) - The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland is a founding member church of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Its six dioceses include the Diocese of Masuria, whose northern territory extends to the border with Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russia. In the north Masuria borders Russia (Königsberg region) and in the east, Lithuania and Belarus.

In this interview with Lutheran World Information (LWI), Masuria Bishop Paweł Hause talks about witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this part of Poland.

Tell us about yourself?

I was born in 1964 and grew up in the capital Warsaw. Serving the church runs in my family. Both my grandfather and father were pastors. I graduated from the Christian Theological Academy in 1988. After my ordination, I served as a congregational pastor for 25 years until November 2017 when the church synod elected me as diocesan bishop. I was consecrated Bishop of Masuria on 17 February 2018 during a ceremony officiated by Presiding Bishop Jerzy Samiec.

How would you describe your diocese in relationship to the national church?

The history of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland is closely connected with the 16th century Reformation in Germany. Before the start of the Second World War in 1939, Masuria was 95 percent Lutheran. Today the 4,000 Lutherans in the 15 congregations in the district represent just around one percent of the region’s total population. The church has 60,000 members throughout Poland, a country that was ravaged by war and then subjected to more than 40 years of communism. Today, around 90 percent of the population of 38.5 million people is Catholic.

What brings you joy as a Lutheran pastor and bishop?

My motto is the Bible verse John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” It is about Jesus reassuring his disciples. I am proud of the Lutheran tradition. What we bring is our confidence and our faithfulness in God and our traditions.

I am proud of the Lutheran tradition. What we bring is our confidence and our faithfulness in God and our traditions.
Bishop Pawel Hause, Diocese of Masuria, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland

What are the challenges of congregational work in your region?

In my congregation and also in my diocese, most of the worries of our people now are economic. We currently have high unemployment, and the church does not have much financial resources, nor do the people. After the end of communism in 1989 and the country’s entry into the European Union (EU) in 2004, people migrated to the big cities such as the capital Warsaw, Gdańsk, and Poznań, or to countries like Germany and the United Kingdom. They go to look for work in the summer season, with some of them returning in the winter, and some not.

How would you describe relations with Catholics in your diocese, and the country as a whole?

Although we Lutherans are an absolute minority, we have good relations with the Catholics. However, the Catholic Church is treated as privileged on all levels in official relations, both when it comes to support from the government and from EU. I am not complaining. It is just a fact.

What was your experience during your recent visit to Geneva?

The days spent with Lutheran church leaders from other parts of the LWF family were a great opportunity to share together the joys and challenges of belonging to a worldwide communion of churches, and to reflect together on biblical texts. Such face-to-face encounters are an important aspect of communion building.

 

Retreat of Newly Elected Leaders (RoNEL) 2018

Communion building

 

By Peter Kenny and LWF Communications


In November 2018 Bishop Pawel Hause took part in the annual retreat of newly-elected church leaders organized by the LWF in both Geneva and Luther’s city of Wittenberg, Germany.


The Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland was one of the founding member churches of the LWF in 1947. Its 60,000 members are organized in 150 congregations served by 150 pastors throughout the country. The head of the church is Presiding Bishop Jerzy Samiec.


Voices from the Communion

The Lutheran World Federation is a global body that shares the work and love of Christ in the world. In this series, we profile church leaders and staff as they discuss topical issues and set out ideas for building peace and justice in the world, ensuring the churches and communion grow in witness and strength.

 

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