News from Serbia II

In January of this year we marked one year anniversary of our mission  work in Serbia. Namely, in January 2008, we have started regular church services in Sremska Mitrovica and Belgrade. Since then about 20 people joined the church in Serbia that is officially called the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Serbia.

 

 

 

On Saturday January 31, 2009, we had the privilege and joy of confirming young married couple Limbocki into membership of the church. They are from Šabac, a town near Sremska Mitrovica, and they are hoping to plant a church in their hometown some day.

At the same service Sergej Beuk, the head of the church in Belgrade, was awarded certificate for successfully accomplished pastoral studies at The Reformed Theological Institute “Mihael Starin”. Sergej Beuk acquired his master’s degree at the Protestant Theological Seminary in Novi Sad.

Our pastoral studies at the Reformed Theological Institute are designed for those who wish to work at our churches and have already graduated theology at one of the non-reformed seminary.

News from Serbia

Less than a year ago the Protestant Reformed Christian Church in Croatia stared a mission work in Serbia. Now we have regular church services in capitol of Serbia, Belgrade and in Sremska Mitrovica in rented chapels. The synod of the Protestant Reformed Church appointed licensed preachers to both churches (in Belgrade Sergej Beuk in Sremska Mitrovica Petar Petrović). We are currently working on registration of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Seriba, which would in ecclesiastical and juridical sense be affiliated to the Synod of church in Croatia. That alone is a certain miracle, since our two countries where at war several years ago.
 
The Presbyterian Church of Australia helped pay the rent for church in Belgrade, for what we are greatly thankful. In May of this year pastor Danny Mihailović from Australia visited our churches in Croatia and Serbia, and we had a baptism in Belgrade.
 
On November 22, 2008, married couple, Miroslav and Viera Crvenka where received into membership of the church in Sremska Mitrovica.  The couple whishes to start another church in their home town, and we are thankful to the Lord for that.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church in Tordinci

After the Protestant Reformed Christian Church congregation in Tordinci, together with the Reformed church congregation “Dobroga pastira”/Good shepherd/ in Osijek, had separated from the Reformed Christian Church in Croatia, this  denomination (Reformed Christian Church in Croatia) had been trying to acquire ownership of the church building in Tordinci. In 2005, the Reformed Christian church in Croatia sued the congregation in Tordinci with the request to erase, from the Public ownership record, the congregation in Tordinci as the owner of the real estate, claiming that the building belongs to plaintiff, not to defendant. The defendant, Tordinci congregation, was denied as the legal entity and claimed not to have the right of ownership. But, the Municipal court in Vinkovci ruled in favor of the defendant, on the basis that the plaintiff’s complaint was unfounded.
 
The prosecutor filed and appeal to the County court in Vukovar which confirmed the ruling of the Municipal court in Vinkovci. The prosecutor went on to the Supreme Court and filed for the revision of the current law on religious communities, but Supreme Court confirmed that the complaint was unfounded, and confirmed the previous two rulings.  The Supreme Court ruled that the congregation in Tordinci is a legal entity according to the Croatian laws on religious communities, so the congregation in Tordinci is a legal owner of all its real estate.
 
By the current law, which plaintiff filed for revision with the Supreme Court, on religious communities and organizations says that they are non-profit and legal entities (article 6, sec. 3). According to the church’s acts and bylaws all of the organizations that exist in the church have their rights as the legal entities. The plaintiff was never the owner of the real estate, but the congregation in Tordinci was, so there where no grounds for erasing the congregation as the owner of the church building from the Public record of ownership of the Republic of Croatia.
 
The ruling of the Supreme Court raises some hopes that the matter of the ownership will be resolved in the same manner with the church building of the Reformed congregation “Dobroga pastira”/Good shepherd in Osijek that has been unavailable to the owners for six years now.

European Conference of Reformed Churches in Netherlands

From 4, till 7, of November the European Conference of the Reformed Churches took place at Soest, Netherlands. About 80 delegates from all over Europe, and even some delegates from US churches, where present at the conference. Croatia was represented by Rev. Dr. Jasmin Milic, modarator of the Protestant Reformed Christian Church in Croatia. He had a privilege of speaking at the conference on church work in Croatia.

Subjects discussed at the conference where: better connection among Reformed churches in Europe, mission work, coordination of institutions for theological education, etc. Next such conference will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2010.

Tordinci: Special Church Service of Ordination

Special church service took place in Tordinci on Saturday, October18, 2008, at the occasion of ordination of Jadran Jelovcic and Nenad Adzic as Ministers of the Word and sacraments, pastors. Dr. Joseph A. Pipa Jr. delivered a sermon, and the ordination was lead by the Moderator Dr. Jasmin MIlic with the assistance from Dr. Pipa, rev. Paddy Cook, and elders of the church in Tordinci. Jadran Jelovcic is a pastor and a founder of the Protestant Reformed Church in Šibenik, and Nenad Adzic is an assistant pastor of the church inTordinci.