History of Partnership

Our partnership begins in 2008.

2008 - Laurie Anderson and Helen Epps visited Olomouc.

"Our introduction to and experiences with the congregation were very warm and welcoming and revealed just how eager they are to proceed with further partnership contact, whatever that might be..." Laurie Anderson for the Witness Ministry Team- 2008

2009 - in the spring of 2009, Lara Silver, daughter of Kent and Rebecca Silver, was studying abroad in Prague and had the chance to visit Olomouc.

"My weekend in Olomouc was fantastic! Everybody was so friendly and made me feel very welcome. I would love to have the opportunity to go back and spend more time with the congregation."  Lara

2011 – in the autumn of 2011 Ivana Markova visited the partner-PCUSA congregation in Athens.

"No wonder we in Olomouc were matched with Covenant based on the congregation profiles. Two university towns, about the same size, similar congregations. So it was written in the preliminary materials, which we could read before looking at the map, before meeting the two first pioneers, Laurie Anderson and Helen Epps who came to visit and explore. But reading is not seeing with one’s own eyes." Ivana Markova, December 12, 2011

2012 –in summer Barbora Nohavicova visited Athens from May 30 to July 1, 2012

"I am so glad that I met so many nice people in Athens. I am returning home with wonderful memories and new friendships. I found a new family in your church. You are a great community, and lovely place full of life and love! I look forward to sharing with my community. I will miss you!"- Barbora Nohavicova, June 31, 2012

2012- Mark Harper, Covenant’s pastor and his son Gabe visited Olomouc from July 2 to 12 2012.

"Thank you for the hospitality and the warm welcome you has already, all week, extended to me and my son Gabe. It is a gift of amazing grace to experience, to be a part of God’s extended family."  Mark Harper, Olomouc, July 12, 2012

2012 - in September Laurie Anderson and Sue Rathbun attended a partnership conference.
"The Walking Together" conference took place in September of 2012 in Annapolis, Maryland USA. The 3-day event included participants from several PCUSA Churches throughout the United Sates as well as pastors and leaders within the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (ECCB) traveling from the Czech Republic for this event.

"I think that the friendship with the American Presbyterians can bring our parishes inspiration and stimulation. They are Americans - active and optimistic. They like to define things as a "project" - and after having done that; they will not rest until they have realized it. They are not just coming for a trip; rather our parishes are set in motion by the question of what we can do together."  Petr Sláma/Karen Moritz

2013 - in the summer of 2013, Shari and Anna Cobb, Linda Rogers, Rebecca Silver and Sue and Steve Rathbun traveled to Olomouc for the first Olomouc English Camp.

"Going to Olomouc was a great experience. Learning about members of the congregation and making so many new friendships was amazing. I think that teaching them was as rewarding for us as it was for them." Anna Cobb

"I left the Czech Republic with a love for the old world beauty of the cities we visited, but more importantly, I feel a special love and bond with the people we met. Learning English as a second language is vital to the growth and success of the people of the Czech Republic. I feel very blessed that I was able to help them, just a little bit, to accomplish this goal. I am thankful for the friendships made with the people of our partner church and for the companionship and deepening friendships I have made with the other Church members who accompanied me." Shari Cobb

2014 – in May of 2014, our dear friend Iva Markova visited us again for a short time after visiting family in Boston.

"While in Athens, the most import thing to me was meeting with people and seeing friends." Ivana

2014 – in July/August – Jana Vrajova and Vera Schnaubeltova

"It is true, that the best thing for our partnership is meeting each other.  For me your congregation now are not only "some people at the other side of the word", but friends."  Vera

"Isn´t it a kind of a miracle, that we from the both sides now know so many people from our congregations? A fellowship of love..." Jana

2014 - in  September – Daniel Batla

"I want to thank you again for all you have done for me while I was there!! This summer has been an amazing experience that ended in Athens. I thank all of you for an incredible week, meeting wonderful people and eating delicious food!!"  Daniel

2014 - in October - Pastor Daniel Zenaty.
Daniel is the pastor of a church in Pardubice, Czech Republic. During his 2-month stay in the US to learn about the PCUSA, Daniel spent a week with us in Athens.

"God bless you and all people in Athens!" Daniel

2015 – Linda and Phil Koehler in Olomouc.
Linda and Phil were traveling in Europe and extended their stay with a visit to our Olomouc friends.

"Staying with Ivana and being guided around the countryside with Vera was like visiting family.  It was the highlight of our entire trip.  We are grateful to be part of their church family." Philip and Linda Koehler

2015 - the summer, Joan Prittie, Tommy Ward, Hanna Harper, Susan Harper, Helen Epps, Pam Knox, Linda Rogers, Steve Rathbun, Jim Anderson, Ginger Davis-Beck, Adam Brooks, Kay Brooks and Sue Rathbun traveled to Olomouc for the second Olomouc English Camp.

"It was great to get to know all of our new friends in Olomouc and we hope that we will be able to have this experience again."  Adam and Kay Brooks

"Our trip to Olomouc this summer was one of the richest experiences of my life."  Susan Harper

"Eva is a wonderful example of those at the ECCB Church in Olomouc who don’t say, "I am too old to learn another language,” or “I am embarrassed to speak to anyone in English.” I think of Eva each time I struggle to be understood, and know that I can do it too!" Ginger Davis-Beck

"The genuine warmth and hospitality of our Czech brothers and sisters in Christ defies description. They made us feel right at home, and they clearly appreciated our efforts to help them with the English Camp, but they may in fact have given us a greater blessing than we gave them. It was a particular thrill for me to be there, given that the church partnership was very much a passion of my beloved late wife Laurie, who helped to forge the connection seven years ago. It was wonderful to see the partnership bearing such splendid fruit." Jim Anderson

2016 – in April 2016, Mark Harper, Linda Rogers, Sue Rathbun and Rebecca Silver traveled to Prague and met up with our friends from the Czech Republic at the PCUSA and ECCB Partnership Conference.
It was wonderful to see Iva, Vera, and Jana from Olomouc and also Daniel Zenaty again. Mark shared a presentation about Stewardship and Linda, Rebecca and Sue gave an update on our partnership.
Meeting the new Pastor in Olomouc – Pastor Jan Lukas and presentation by the children in Olomouc during Worship.

2017 – in July,  Jim Anderson, Terry Centner, Emily Ballard-Myer, Josh Ballard-Myer, Mark Harper, Katy McGill, Bemene Piaro, Linda, Rogers, Sue Rathbun, Rebecca Silver and Stanka Stanislava (friend of Bemene from Slovakia) traveled to Olomouc for the 3rd Olomouc English Camp where we traveled around the United States in our theme “ Around the US in 5 days.”

"The people in Olomouc are just as us. They laugh and tell stories. The children play new and exciting games, even if they can't speak to you. The elders tell stories of how we use to be; grand in their tales of life in communism. The teens are teens. There is a huge reward in working to help those there feel more comfortable with a new language. But, so much more comes from this trip. Breaking bread, eating, laughing, and loving. This trip proved that we are more alike than different and that we are all part of a loving community that transcends language, politics, and nations. We are the children of God." Katy McGill

"As Ivana Markova let us know in no uncertain terms when we were laughing at the image of cowboys riding through cobblestoned European villages: "Do not mess with my Winnetou!" Mark Harper

"What a powerful experience. The love, fellowship, and joy shared with my host family and our Czech congregants will remain with me the rest of my life. I am so thankful I was able to be a part of this ministry.” Terry Centner

"We as a congregation are truly growing closer to our sister church in Olomouc!” Linda Rogers

"Our trip to Olomouc, made possible by this church, was a very memorable experience for me. Whether it is the memories I made or the friends I made. I am glad that I got the experience. " Josh Ballard-Myer

"The Czech Republic and our partnership church hold a special place in my heart." Rebecca Silver

"Gods love shines brightly through the wonderful people of Olomouc." Sue Rathbun

2017 – August 5-10 - Marta Slamova visits Covenant
Marta is 15 years old and lives in a small historical town Stará Boleslav not far from Prague. Her parents are Lucka and Petr Sláma who are members of the E.C.C.B and know many of our friends from Olomouc. Marta traveled the summer and stopped to visit us in Athens.

"And then I reached the South. I started in Athens, GA, quite a small town with a huge university. (I would really love to study there once)."  Marta Slamova

2017 – August 16-25 Jan Dostal visits Covenant
Jan Dostál is a member of our partner ECCB church in Olomouc. He is 21 years old, and attends Charles University in Prague. His field of study is Political science and international relations. Jan worked the summer as a camp counselor in the USA in Voyageurs Lutheran Ministry in northern Minnesota and then traveled to Athens.

"Thank you for the opportunity of being here. Why not?" Jan Dostál

2019 – The fourth English Camp was July 8-12 with the overall art museum theme “God’s Great Gallery.”
Daily themes included creation, Bartimaeus, the Good Samaritan, Joseph’s coat of many colors, and Jesus calms the storm (Mark 4: 35-41). Covenant’s 12 team members were Jim Anderson, Cliff Brock, Mark Harper, Joan Prittie, Steve Rathbun, Linda Rogers, Rebecca Silver, Tamara Stam, Ton Stam, Kathy Stege, Eli Stone, and Valerie Stone.

Also in 2019, there was a PCUSA and ECCB Partnership Conference in April with several people from the Czech Republic attending as well as David Sinclair, a Church of Scotland contact we work with sometimes in Prague. Olomouc pastor Jan Lukáš and his wife, Dagmar, visited Athens in May.

2020 – A group of eleven people from Olomouc intended to visit Covenant in the summer. Tamara Stam and Valerie Stone helped prepare for their visit, but all plans (including the next English Camp) had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 virus.

2022 – Covenant welcomed Olomouc church member Jan “Honza” Dostál for almost a week, offering him fellowship, a look at Covenant’s outreach work, and area tours that might aid with his new career in Social Sciences and International Relations. 

2023 – Valerie Stone was part of the speaker team for the Church Partnership Network’s “Church and Environment” online conference in March. There are plans for church members to attend the July “Together on the Way” conference in Olomouc.

More information and pictures you find at Barbora Nohavicova partnership website: