Prague, June 2014


Dear friends,


We are happy to invite you to the annual conference of the Association of Friends

of PTF which will take place on November 14-16, 2014 in Prague. The theme of our meeting will be “Where is the exit? Europe’s guilt and ways to reconciliation”.

The invitation for this year told:


"Dear friends,        

We would like to invite you to the annual conference of the Association of Friends of the PTF which will take place on 19-21 October 2012 in Prague. The main topic will be “Religion: Trauma or Therapy”.

 We will seek to explore the function of religion from a psychological perspective. Our point of departure will be the position of German philosopher and theologian Christoph Türcke of Leipzigwho argues that humankind needs religion regardless of the fact whether or not God exists. This theme will be discussed in the papers by experts arguing from various perspectives."

The annual meeting of the Association of Friends of the Protestant Theological Faculty took place on 20-21 October 2012. Many of the members of the Association are former international students at the Faculty, and people came from as many as 10 countries to meet old friends and re-visit Prague. The theme of this year's meeting was "Religion – Trauma or Therapy". The idea of the organisers was to examine faith from the psychological and social points of view. Prof. Tomáš Halík, a well-known figure to the Czech public, described the factors that lead people to worship God: anxiety, vulnerability, and mortality. It is remarkable how often religious symbols are used even in secular public life. People usually turn to religion because it offers to rescue them from danger. But true faith is accompanied by a struggle with anxieties and doubts; it does not mean a legalistic approach, but a prophetic one, and being silent in the presence of the mystery of God. Prof. Leif Gunnar Engedal from the MF Norwegian School of Theology analysed faith in terms of its content, rituals, and consequences and from the practical and intellectual viewpoints. He also informed the participants about current literature dealing with these themes. In general it can be said that religion makes it possible to evaluate life more positively and to better come to terms with upheavals, and thus provides the foundations for more stable mental and physical health.


 In the first part of the program Cornelia von Ruthendorf analyzde the reaction of the churches in the former German Democratic Republic on the invasion into Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Recently Cornelia finished her dissertation on same subject.


In the second part we focused on the question how churches today are prepared to act and react in situations of crisis. From Norway we invited Sjur Isaksen to present the reaction of the church in Norway on crises what the churches did after the mass shooting in his country in the summer 2011. Also we will hear from Bendy Ružička of the Czech Psychosocial Intervention Team how Czech churches are involved in resolving crisis situations.

© Spolek přátel ETF - Association of Friends of the Protestant Theological Faculty