31 May 2023 | Warsaw, Poland [Daniel Kluska with tedNEWS]
It is May 2023, and five years have passed since the 22nd Session of the Polish Union Conference took place. From 25-27 May 2023, the 23rd Session took place in Warsaw, with the delegates electing pastor Jarosław Dzięgielewski as the new president of the Polish Union Conference. Pastor Piotr Bylina, who previously served as the Secretary of the West Polish Conference, was elected as the Union Executive Secretary, while Piotr Gołaszewski, former Treasurer of the South Polish Conference, assumed the role of Treasurer of the Polish Union Conference.
Pastor Dzięgielewski brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having served the Church in different capacities over his 37-year ministry. Commencing his ministry as a young pastor in the Warsaw-Central church, he has since served as Secretary and Treasurer of the West Polish Conference and area coordinator for the Pomeranian District. He also served as President of the East Polish Conference and South Polish Conferences, and, between 2013 and 2018, as Union President. From 2018 Dzięgielewski served as the President of the West Polish Conference
Under the theme “I WILL GO: change, inspire, create relationships, make disciples, and testify,” the 158 Session delegates present represented the West, East, and South Polish Conferences. These sessions, provide a platform for the election of key officials, the adoption of new strategies aligned with the worldwide Church, and the discussion and approval of reports from different Church officers, departmental directors, and institutional heads.
The Session took place at the Polish College of Theology and Humanities in Podkowa Leśna and was attended by representatives of the Trans-European Division (TED), including pastor Daniel Duda, President, pastor Róbert Csizmadia, Executive Secretary, and pastor Ian Sweeney, Field Secretary. The Session was also honoured by the presence of representatives from the Polish Ministry of the Interior and Administration, including Andrzej Sosnowski from the Department for Religious Denominations and National and Ethnic Minorities – who greeted the delegates on behalf of Polish government, and Monika Piszcz-Czapla from the Department of Legal Regulations.
Delegates also voted on the new constitution, which harmonises the durations of the union and conference terms to five years. Previously, conferences had a four-year term. This change will facilitate the scheduling of conference sessions soon after the union session. Furthermore, Pastor Mikołaj Kryżanowski was elected by the delegates to serve on the Union Executive Committee, representing pastors and the Ukrainian work.
The two-day meeting concluded with a memorable Sabbath worship service held at the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Solidarności, Warsaw, where outgoing officers were recognized and appreciated for their dedicated service to the Church. Pastors Ryszard Jankowski, Marek Rakowski, and Maksymilian Adam Szklorz, who respectively served as the President, Secretary, and Treasurer, were honoured for their years of dedicated service.
“On behalf of the TED, I would like to express our gratitude for the services rendered by all three officers and our excellent collaboration,” Duda said. “Ryszard Jankowski served as the President of the West Polish Conference for 15 years, and the Union President for the last five years. Moreover, he will be remembered for his unwavering dedication as the Youth Director for many years. We extend our best wishes to him in his retirement.” Taking time to show appreciation for each officer, Duda continued, “Maksymilian Szklorz holds the distinction of being the longest-serving Union Treasurer in the TED, having been elected to this position in 1993. We greatly valued his professionalism and financial expertise. We would also like to thank Marek Rakowski for his 15 years of service as Union Secretary, his meticulous work, as well as his contributions to the Family Ministries department and more recently, the Ministerial Association.”
Among the distinguished guests attending the Saturday church service were Jadwiga Zalisz, Director of the Bible Society for Poland, and representatives of various religious associations, including priests Doroteusz Sawicki and Łukasz Leonkiewicz from the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Sławomir Pawłowski from the Council for Ecumenism of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, and Michał Jabłoński from the Evangelical Reformed Parish in Warsaw.
“We welcome the new team and wish them richest blessings from our Lord, God’s guidance, and wisdom from the Holy Spirit in their new appointments. We are looking forward to continuing a good collaboration for the blessing of all our members in Poland and the whole society,” Duda concluded.
[Photos: Krzysztof Romanowski and Daniel Kluska]