From 10 to 12 February 2022, the conference “The Time is Now” (Już czas) was held in Łódź, Poland, jointly organised by the Catholic Archdiocese of Łódź, CHARIS Poland and the Charismatic Community “Voice in the Desert” of Kraków. The event was attended by more than 500 charismatic Catholics, Greek Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Evangelicals, Baptists, Pentecostals, New-Charismatics, members of “houses of prayer” and local groups and of the Polish National Catholic Church, charismatic communities and Christian agencies (Youth with a Mission), as well as Messianic Jews. In addition, there were international guests in‒presence or online from Sweden, United States, Canada, Brazil, Scotland, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy.
The official representative of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was Monsignor Juan Usma Gómez, head of the Western Section office, who gave two talks on Catholic participation in the ecumenical movement and the work of the Holy Spirit in the reconciliation of Christians.
The conference, chaired by Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś (Catholic Archdiocese of Łódź) and Karol and Małgorzata Sobczyk (Voice in the Desert, NSC CHARIS), included moments of charismatic prayer, praise, witness, and teaching, led by various leaders from different Christian traditions. Particularly significant was the penitential celebration, which included the confession of sins against unity by representatives of the different Christian traditions present at the meeting, the ‘mutual washing of feet’, a sign of communion and service, the mutual expression of sorrow for the divisions tearing apart the body of Christ, and the explicit request for mutual forgiveness. The event, the first of its kind, was an occasion for repentance, the healing of memories, rapprochement and reconciliation, especially with New-Charismatic Christians from different groups who, in the 1990s, suffered serious misunderstandings that led to division.
Several Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Primate of Poland, were present at the event, which was also attended by the head of the Evangelical-Methodist Church, Bishop Andrzej Malicki, current president of the Ecumenical Council of Poland. Twenty one Evangelical, Pentecostal and New-Charismatic leaders took an active part in the meeting. At the end of the event, a large group of participants, including many young people from different traditions, publicly expressed their intention to commit themselves to ensuring that relations between Christians in Poland are sealed by brotherly love, expressing solidarity for the suffering of their parents’ generations and thanking everyone for the courage of this gesture of rapprochement and reconciliation.
Photos © Fundacja Służąc Życiu