World Convention is currently building a global reference for the countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ Congregations. Of the 193 United Nations States, the Stone-Campbell Movement exists in 165. This listing includes other nations and territories, numbering 194 countries where there is at least one representation of our churches.
Rather than waiting for comprehensive, complete information we are putting up the details we have available. If you can correct or add to this information, please contact the World Convention Office with details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Central European country known as the Czech Republic is a landlocked nation of almost 79,000 sq km (30,000 sq miles) situated between Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the southeast and Austria to the southwest. It consists mainly of the ancient provinces of Bohemia, Moravia and part of Silesia. Czechoslovakia came into existence in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of the Great War. In 1939 Germany marched into the Sudetenland and occupied the German speaking territory. Following the Second World War the communists came to power and the country came under Soviet influence. With the breakdown of the Communist system in the late 1980s the transition was made to a democratic state. On January 1, 1993 a peaceful separation from the Slovaks allowed for the establishment of separate states, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Politically, the Czechs are governed by two legislative bodies, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The population of the state is 10,300,000.
Economically the Czech Republic has had some set backs as it has emerged as a free-market state. Not richly endowed with many natural resources there are however some reserves of coal and iron ore which have contributed to the development of iron and steelmaking industries. Agriculture contributes a small percentage of the domestic output. Glassmaking has been a major economic factor in the country’s history with Bohemian art glass having a worldwide market. Tourism in the Czech Republic is a growing industry.
Slavic tribes were known to inhabit the area now encompassing the Czech Republic as early as the fifth century and many Slavs embraced Christianity. The religious reforms of John Hus swept the area in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries but by 1526 the Czechs became Roman Catholic under the rule of the Hapsburg Empire. Religious intolerance led to the Thirty Years’ War and Catholicism became the State religion. Today the religious population is divided between the Roman Catholic tradition and Atheism, about 40% each with the remaining 20% being made up of Protestant, Orthodox and other faith traditions.
In 1938, American Frank Vass (1880-1957), sponsored by Central Europe Christian Mission, worked to plant churches in Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. By the time he returned to the United States in 1939, he had convinced eighty-five Baptist congregations to become part of the Stone-Campbell Movement.
Following the Czech Republic’s move away from the communist system the American a cappella Churches of Christ began efforts of outreach and evangelization within the borders of the country. Prior to this time there was some effort at mission work within the country but it was on a limited scale. Under the communist rule Christians were often abused for their faith. World Radio Broadcasts were heard in the Czech Republic and Eastern European Mission mailed tracts, magazines and Bibles to Czechs who requested them.
Early in 1990 there was knowledge of eight Christians scattered about the country but none assembling as a congregation. Myron Schirer is said to have later worked with as many as 1,000 active contacts in the Czech Republic.
Throughout the 1990s the Woodmont Hills Church of Nashville, Tennessee sponsored a student exchange program and several students at Charles University in Prague. The students used Bible courses written by Scott Owings and were assisted by veteran missionaries. A lecture series and English and Bible courses were also a part of the outreach program through Charles University. Several campaigns were also held with the follow work being done by American university students. A television program was aired in Prague as well as a “Let’s Start Talking” campaign.
A Bible study center was set up in the town of Brno which also served as the site for a Bible distribution effort. Correspondence courses have also been utilized in strengthening churches in the Czech Republic, particularly in Prague.
Several American missionaries (including Allen and Laurie Diles, Scott and Lisa Owings, and Jason and Julie Locke and their families) from the a cappella Churches of Christ in the United States worked in the Czech Republic until 2005. The current a cappella Church of Christ congregation in Prague, is primarily being led by Czechs and Slovaks.
Ashley and Jamie Sides who formerly worked with the congregation in Prague from 2003-2006, have been serving in České Budějovice since 2010. They have launched a church plant ministry and run a small Christian center, which is designed to facilitate outreach and provide resources and a meeting place for the searching and the faithful.
In October 2006 a third long-term mission team (including Mitch Anderson, Joshua and Sarah Beall, Corey and Sarah Keen, Graham Kervin, and Christie Shockley) from the Razorbacks for Christ at the University of Arkansas, arrived in the Czech Republic to do church planting, locating in the city of Olomouc.
For further details regarding the activities of the a capella Churches of Christ please visit the following lin http://missions-history.wikispaces.com/Czech+Republic
In 1996, the International Churches of Christ planted a congregation in Prague.
The American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ have also become active in the Czech Republic since the dissolution of the communist system. In 1997 Jim and Laurie Barnes began the work of establishing a public Christian Library in Prague that opened in 1999 under the auspices of the Institute for Christian Resources founded by Willard Black – now Open Door Libraries www.opendoorlibraries.org The library is designed to give Christians and inquirers resources about Christianity and the Bible.
TCM, International which has a European headquarters near Vienna, Austria provides academic training to church leaders throughout Eastern Europe and has active work within the Czech Republic.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, January 23, 2014 (with information from Jim Barnes)
A. National Office
B. Congregational Information
Tomas Mach email@example.com
Matus and Melissa Dedinovi firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley and Jamie Sides
C. Educational Institutions
D. Social Service Ministries
F. International Ministries
Open Door Libraries
PO Box 7494
San Jose, CA 95150
Prague Christian Library
130 00 Praha 3 Czech Republic
Telephone: (420) 222 723 393
A cappella Churches of Christ in the Czech Republic participate in the Pan European Lectureship.
H. Points of Interest