Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia
The New Jersey synod sponsors Friendship Camps in schools in Bosnia that teach music, companionship and peace-building skills among Christian and Muslim children
Who is the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia and what are its ministries?
The Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia (ECC), a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, (LWF) is part of the Conference of European Churches dating back to the period of the cold war. It is a minority church, with approximately 3,500 members, and has two administrative points, one in Zagreb and one in Kutina.
Following the impact of the local wars in Croatia, the ECC is in the process of unification and reconciliation. Diaconia is an essential part of the ministry of the ECC. The church has a diaconal station for female victims of violence, offers support groups and provides lectures for pastors to enable them to handle post-traumatic syndrome, violence and depression. Another vital part of the church’s ministry is the outreach to youth, students and young adults.
How do the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia.
The New Jersey Synod and the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia have been companion synods since 2002. Since 1999, 70 people have visited in 72 friendship camps in Croatia and Bosnia, sharing hope, healing and laughter in a complex region torn by political and religious conflict. Through personal interaction, arts and music, the camps build peace and understanding among children of different faiths. Currently, the camps are carried out only in Bosnia. For more information about this relationship and these trips, see www.servanttrips.org
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports pastors in the ECC.
In Croatia, the ELCA also works with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges, and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF’s relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participates in God’s mission to all creation.
The LWF Department of World Service program for the Balkans
is changing, but during the peak of the war there the LWF helped provide emergency assistance and then rebuilding for the 300,000 refugees.
Croatia: The context in which the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Croatia serves
Music is a big part of the Friendship Camps sponsored by the New Jersey Synod
New Jersey synod people entertain and lead drama and music at Friendship Camps in Bosnia
During World War II
, an Axis puppet state
known as the Independent State of Croatia
existed. After the victory of Tito's People's Liberation Movement and the Allies
, Croatia became a constitutive federal republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
. In 1991, Croatia proclaimed independence by holding the first democratic elections in the country. Croatia was recognized by the European Union
and the United Nations
in January of 1992.
The market economy of Croatia is one of the most advanced of southeastern Europe. According to recent data, 2.7 percent of the workforce is employed in agriculture, 32.8 percent by industry and 64.5 in services. The industrial sector is dominated by shipbuilding, food processing and the chemical industry. Croatia is also a popular tourist destination during the summer months providing additional income to the country. Environmentally, Croatia’s air pollution and resulting acid rain are damaging the forests, and coastal pollution is occurring from industrial and domestic waste. The country is in the process of landmine removal and reconstruction of infrastructure consequent to 1992-95 civil strife.
Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats
(89.9 per cent of the population). There are approximately twenty minority groups with Serbs being the largest minority, comprising 4.5 per cent of the total population. The official and common language is Croatian
. Religions practiced are Roman Catholic 87.8%, Orthodox 4.4%, other Christian 0.4%, Muslim 1.3%, other and unspecified 0.9%, none 5.2%.
For up-to-date information on Austria, type “Croatia” into an online search engine or visit: