Representatives of all four CPCE Regional Groups came together from March 13-15, 2024 in Prague for a conference full of fruitful discussion, thought-provoking presentations, and the sharing in a worship service and celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Hosted by the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, the conference was the first of its kind, bringing together all of these regional representatives in the same room to discuss the work of the Southeast Europe Regional Group on the topic of Church and Democracy.

Headed by Raphael Quandt and Michael Martin, the Southeast Europe Regional Group has been working on various papers and projects related to the topic of democracy and challenges faced by churches and societies in Europe. Their hard work over the past 6 years has turned into a few exciting projects, which will be revealed at the upcoming General Assembly in Sibiu this August. To discuss final reflections on the work and get more perspective on Czech perspectives on democracy, the Southeast Europe group met from March 11-13, also in the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, and celebrated its traditional liturgy. Another one of the CPCE member churches, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren hosted a cultural evening and one of their members, Prof. Petr Kratochvil before introduced in the history of democracy in Czech political thought. The group then brought this work to the rest of the regional groups, the reference group Young Theologians in Communion, and the Advisory Board on Ethics at the joint meeting in the following days.

These three days in Prague were filled with presentations, discussions, and reflections by those in attendance on the topic at hand. Personal experiences, empirical research, and critical reflections came together to weave an intricate tapestry of what democracy means when viewed by churches, and what the role of the church is when it comes to questions of democracy.

The attendees were also graced by the presence of Pavel Fischer, Czech senator and former Czech Ambassador to France, as he shed some light on the situation of the church within a largely secular Czech society.

The conference concluded as it began: in communion. Attendees came together for a closing worship service, led by Jana Hofmannová and Mario Fischer, and shared in the Lord’s Supper.

Protestant churches continues to wrestle with questions of populism, extremism, separation of church and state and other questions related to the issue of democracy. This conference did not solve any of these issues, but it showed ways to continue discussion and to rise awareness in churches.