Lea and Petra Williams, Czech Republic

Lea and Petra Williams, Czech Republic

Leading the Anglican congregation in Brno and developing a vibrant Christian community where people can meet Jesus and grow as disciples.

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Thirty years after the Velvet Revolution ended Soviet rule in the Czech Republic, it is now the most secular country in Eastern Europe according to a 2017 Pew Research survey. Yet there is growing interest in the spiritual. We seek to join in with what God has started in one such community, a small Anglican congregation in the city of Brno, to see a vibrant Christian community develop.

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Lea and Petra’s story

The harsh realities of the Soviet era continue to cast a shadow. While attitudes towards the church were previously ambiguous, imposed atheism and the persecution of believers (from brutal force to subtle harassment) have left the community of faith scarred and society deeply sceptical.

Yet there is growing interest in the spiritual. Evangelical and charismatic congregations, along with new worshipping communities, are connecting with those exploring faith and seeing small yet consistent growth. We seek to join in with what God has started in one such community, a small Anglican congregation in the city of Brno, to see a vibrant Christian community develop.

Planted in 2011 following requests for worship, the congregation meets for monthly evening services. We dream of seeing this become a Christian community (of both Czechs and internationals) committed to the practice of missional hospitality, blessing the city and connecting with the significant student population. We want to encounter God through exploring the Bible, breaking bread together and developing a church community where everyone can play their part in the mission of God.

Brno, a former industrial centre and the Czech Republic’s second largest and fastest growing city after Prague, has reimagined itself as a centre for technology, engineering and research. It is a young city, home to six public universities and 80,000 students. We know the city from Petra’s family connections and time studying there.

Petra, a Czech, moved to Glasgow in 2005, encountered Jesus and became involved in church life. As she grew in her faith, her pastor encouraged Petra to explore theological studies. Lea, from Shropshire, came to faith as a child and was shaped by his parents’ example of sharing faith and nurturing new believers. At a young age he felt called to ordination, enthusiastically telling his teacher, “One day, miss, I will be a vicar.”

We met at International Christian College, where there was a strong emphasis on mission and global Christianity. We married in 2009 and have two children, Olivia and Theodore. After working with children and families at a church in Essex, Lea was ordained in 2016. Lea completed his curacy in north Essex and Petra works as a photographer. Lea has spent time with Anglican chaplaincies in Prague, Moscow and Brussels, and learned the Czech language. We have been discerning a call to long-term ministry in the Czech Republic for a number of years.

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