The World Convention is currently building a global reference for the nearly 180 countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ congregations. Rather than wait for comprehensive, complete information we are putting up details that we readily have available. If you can correct or add to this information, please contact us with details at firstname.lastname@example.org Reference for further information will be in the form of web sites and mailing addresses.
The Slovak Republic is a small (49,000 sq km or 19,000 sq miles) European country surrounded by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the west and the Czech Republic to the northwest. The population numbers 5.5 million people. Early inhabitants in the area were Slavic peoples who migrated to the area in the fifth century. Moravians later set up an empire here but were conquered by Germans and Magyars in the 10 th century. For the next 1000 years Slovaks lived under Hungarian domination. The twentieth century was one of political instability for Slovakia; leaving the Hapsburg Empire after the First World War Slovakia became a part of Czechoslovakia. With World War Two came invasion by Germany and later Communist domination. Transition from communism to a democracy came in 1991 and a separation from the Czechs was peacefully completed in 1993. The country is run by a single legislative body known as the National Parliament.
Slovakia has few mineral resources though there are many picturesque mountains that attract tourism and skiing. The Danube forms a border with Hungary and flows through an extensive, fertile plain. About one in ten Slovaks is engaged in agriculture; wheat and potatoes are the principal crops while livestock are widely raised. About one in three Slovaks is employed in industry, centered on Bratislava and Kosice. Iron, steel, auto and clothing manufacture are the significant industry.
Religiously Slovakia is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church, claiming six in ten. The remaining population is a hodgepodge of Protestants, Orthodox and other faith traditions. For a fuller treatment of the religious history of Slovakia see http://www.slovak-republic.org/religion/
The American a cappella Churches of Christ is the segment of the Stone-Campbell Movement (to date) that has specifically targeted Slovakia as a mission field. Truitt Adair traveled to Bratislava in 1990 to place a Christian newspaper advertisement in the SlovakiaDaily. With 13,500 responses to the advertisement there was justification for pursuing work in Bratislava. As a result congregations were planted in Bratislava, Kosice and Nitra. That year Adair and several others set up an English Bible Study Center in Bratislava with extensions also in Kosice and Nitra. The following year 1,000 World Bible Institute students were aided by Bill Smith, Doyle Eaton and Jeff Smith, laying a strong foundation in Kosice. In the years that followed as many as two dozen short-term American missionaries conducted extensive work in Slovakia. This included a seminar “Lordship of Jesus,” conducted by Jim Hitt, Gary Grady and Tim Walker of Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland, Texas, that made a circuit of key cities throughout Slovakia. “One Nation Under God,” a Bible correspondence ministry based in Cookeville, Tennessee, blitzed the postal addresses in 1995. Several American churches have sponsored work and workers in Slovakia. In his book, Churches of Christ Around the World, Mac Lynn states that “despite a good amount of mission activity, the future of the work in Slovakia will depend upon the extent the nationals are able to evangelize their nation.”
Annually a summer camp is organized by the congregations in Slovakia that includes children’s and adult study times and recreation. Allen and Laurie Diles, missionaries in the Czech Republic shared in their July/August 2003 newsletter that they have attended the camp for several years. According to the Diles the camp was originally a camp for young people but that the same people have continued to attend year-after-year as they have grown up so that presently the camp is made up largely of Christians who are in their 20s but with several older people also attending. Several people from the Czech Republic also attend the camp.
In 2005 more than fifty people from Slovakia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Russia attended the eighth annual “Family Retreat” during Easter Weekend hosted by the Bratislava congregation. Guest speaker was American Carrell Dennis who taught nine lessons on being Christ’s disciples. According to Allen Diles “one of the great signs of growth in the churches in this part of the world…was how many young married couples attended the event.”
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue, South, Nashville, TN 37212-2112 (USA)
Telephone: (615) 327-1444
Website: http://www.discipleshistory.org (provides links to other historical sites and databases).
Online catalog: ALEX Online
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see:
Anyone interested in the summer camp or family retreat may contact:
Allen and Laurie Diles (Missionaries in the Czech Republic)
C/O: Sylvan Hills Church of Christ
117 W. Maryland Avenue
Sherwood, AR 72120