ALCOA, Tenn. (Aug. 17, 2016) – Eleven years ago, the Johnson City District started a ministry in the Czech Republic.
Earlier this year, the Holston Conference Missions Team decided to embrace the Czech ministry as one of its own. The invitation is now extended for all Holston churches to join in supporting the Czech Republic's English Speaking United Methodist Church, according to the Rev. Tom Hancock, chair of the Holston Missions Team.
“We are taking on a new mission opportunity,” Hancock said, referring to the church known as ESUMC in Prague. “They have a building and worship services but John [Redmond] needs a worship leader and money for outreach ministries.”
The Rev. John Redmond is a local pastor appointed as a missionary in Prague since 2014. He followed the Rev. Michelle McKinnon-Young, who planted the church during her 2011-2014 appointment in Prague.
Redmond, along with wife Denise and their two children, Eli and Ada, recently returned to the U.S. from June 22 to Aug. 8, speaking to churches about their ministry.
The Czech Republic region where Redmond serves has the highest rate of atheism in all of Europe, according to Hancock’s latest annual conference report.
“The Church is considered by many to be a cult, and Christians are often viewed as weak or, worse yet, lunatics,” Hancock said. “Surveys show that 67.9 percent of the population of the Czech Republic claims no religious affiliation. It’s a mission field with few workers but the potential for a great harvest.”
The Czech Republic ministry started in 2005, when Johnson City District leaders in Holston Conference realized the need for a United Methodist theological presence in Prague. The city is home to a large group of internationals (200,000) and locals who use English in their daily lives, according to a Board of Global Ministries report.
Financial support is needed not only for the church itself, but also for Redmond’s missionary support and for the education of his children, Eli and Ada.
“While the cost of living is relatively low in Prague, the cost of education for their two children equals John's income,” Hancock said.
Mission teams are also invited to visit and serve at the English Speaking UMC in Prague.
To find out more, contact Redmond at email@example.com or call the Johnson City District office at (423) 926-7533.
You may give to the ministry through the United Methodist Advance or send checks to: Johnson City District of the UMC, 2615 South Roan Street, Suite 106, Johnson City, TN 37601.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.