“We stand with you as you stand with vulnerable people”

ECCB synodal leader Daniel Ženatý, left, and synod council member Jiří Schneider before the entrance of the Diaconia office in Prague. Photo:ECCB.
ECCB synodal leader Daniel Ženatý, left, and synod council member Jiří Schneider before the entrance of the Diaconia office in Prague. Photo:ECCB.

GENEVA, 3 May 2016 (LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has expressed deep concern over hate messages against the diaconal service arm of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (ECCB) in Prague.

Hate slogans were spray-painted on the main door of the ECCB Diaconia office in recent vandalism attacks on institutions and companies associated with the “HateFree” movement. The network of private, public and civil-society organizations promotes tolerance in Czech society and encourages institutions and businesses to guarantee safety and protection of employees and guests. 

“We stand with you as you continue standing with people struggling for justice and their rights, needing your compassion and your love,” LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge wrote to ECCB synodal leader Rev. Daniel Ženatý.

“We stand with you as you continue standing with people struggling for justice and their rights, needing your compassion and your love.”
LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge

Junge also expressed gratitude to Ženatý and other church leaders for the “immediate reaction and powerful statement” of coming personally to clean the office doors following the 23 April attack. This became an affirmation that the church will continue to be an open and safe place for all people regardless of any differences. In a statement on its website, the ECCB said the attacks would not deter it from being “a place that is open to all”.

In 2015, the LWF member church was among local organizations that successfully petitioned the government to grant asylum to a group of Syrian refugees whose request had initially been refused with the argument that they posed a security risk.  

The LWF General Secretary offered LWF’s support for the Czech church’s work with people fleeing conflict and violence in different parts of the world.  

Those seeking to be integrated in Czech society are also supported by churches and their diaconal services. Local ECCB communities assist people who have come  from Belarus, Myanmar, Pakistan, Ukraine and other countries. 

The ECCB Diaconia office has supported LWF’s humanitarian response for Syrian refugees in Jordan, with financial assistance from the Czech Foreign Ministry.