A statement regarding the acceptance of our disabled brothers and sisters in the church was adopted at the recent November Synod meeting. The statement was prepared by experts from the Transtibiscan region and it was suggested that institutions and congregations should implement it in their missions. Coinciding with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the RCH talked to Ms. Zsófia Győri, Director of the Immanuel House of the Reformed Great Church in Debrecen.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH talks with Rev Bertalan Tamás, former Minister at the Mission, to hear about his time in the congregation. Rev Tamás was the Minister at the Mission from 1976 until 2005, a time filled with uncertainty, community building, and interfaith relations.
European Protestant churches from nine countries participated in an international research on confirmation work from autumn 2012 to spring 2013, which was a combined effort of the Hungarian Reformed Church together with Hungarian Lutheran and Methodist churches. We recently talked with Ádám Hámori, sociologist and a Hungarian member of the research team, about his thoughts on the confirmation ceremony, the confirmation education leading up to it, and the young people who participate in this education. This research was then also discussed in detail with attendees of the Konfi+ conference, recently held in Debrecen.
In an effort to learn more about the Scottish Mission in the lives of Hungarian citizens during the 175th Jubilee year, the RCH recently spoke with János Horváth about his emotional and trying times as a political prisoner in the Mission School. Horváth had attended services in the congregation as a child and then, later in life, was held prisoner in the basement of the school during the Nazi regime. He speaks poetically and with conviction about the vital work that the Mission has done in Budapest during his lifetime, and how dear the place is to his heart.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH talks with Rev Ken MacKenzie, former Minister at the Mission, to hear about his time in the congregation. Rev Mackenzie was the Minister at the Mission from 2000 until 2005, a time when church membership grew and the congregation made an intentional effort to reach out and build relationships with refugees in their midst.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH talks with Rev. Njeri Wagana Hughes, current Associate Minister at the Mission, to hear about her time in the congregation. Rev Wagana Hughes has been the Associate Minister at the Mission since 2015, though she has been a part of the community there since 2006.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH talks with Rev Zoltán Tarr, former Associate Minister at the Mission, to hear about his time in the congregation. Rev Tarr was the Associate Minister at the Mission from 2001 until 2005, a time when helping those seeking refugee was in delicate balance with also serving the ex-pat population in the city.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH speaks with Rev Susan Cowell, former Associate Minister at the Mission, to hear about her time in the congregation. Rev Cowell served in Budapest from 1994 until 1998 and is now serving at Kirkton Church in Carluke.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH talks with Rev Dr. Ottó Pecsuk, former Associate Minister at the Mission, to hear about his time in the congregation. Rev Dr. Pecsuk was the Associate Minister at the Mission from 2005 until 2009, a time when reaching out to those on the fringes of society was vital.
In celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Scottish Mission in Budapest, the RCH speaks with Rev Aaron Stevens, current Minister at the Mission, to hear about his time in the congregation. Rev Stevens initially came to the Scottish Mission as a young man teaching English abroad, but before he knew it, his ties to Budapest became greater and greater. He is now entering his 10th year as Minister here and he shares his memories of service and calling with us as a reminder that sometimes the church is called to do extraordinary things.
As a child, Attila János Lakatos was diagnosed as having a developmental disability, but now he is a college student who can easily cite professional literature and recite Bible verses one after another. János is a third-year Deaconry student passionate about the deep work that deacons provide for communities of faith. He plans to get a degree in social work as well and eventually would like to work among orphans, because János was once an orphan himself.
Starting this September, it will be mandatory for all students to learn about Roma studies at the Debrecen Reformed Theological University. The university has set up a separate department for bringing students closer to Roma history, culture, and traditions. The department will be led by Romologist Mrs. Judit Kármán Szabó Phd., who is convinced that the department could turn the negative view of Roma in society into a better one.
Rev István Lakó, the Assistant Pastor and Roma Mission Leader of the Reformed Congregation in Salétrom Street, in the eighth District of Budapest, talks to the RCH about the unique ministry happening there. He discusses the set-up of the Roma ministry that takes place there, the special draw that this work has for volunteers, and the importance of making volunteering something that is easy for people to do.
Elif and Sema, two Turkish women studying for their Masters at Károli for the semester, sit down to talk with the RCH about their interest in religion and Muslim-Christian relations. These women come from a Muslim background and studied in Budapest in order to gain firsthand experience with Christian communities here as they study various components of religion, both academically and philisophically.
We serve well if our work has a positive impact on the congregations – claims István Bogárdi Szabó. We asked the pastoral president of the Synod about major public church duties in 2016, the relaunch of the Church Revision Committee, the relationship between our Church and the state as well as the persecution of Christians.
God became man in order to share man's nature and destiny, and so that through the death and resurrection of the saviour He could start with us afresh. The question is: what have we made out of this?" says Bishop István Szabó. We spoke with the ministerial president of the Synod about the meaning of Christmas, the image of the Messiah in the time of Jesus, as well as how God makes and fulfils promises.
The connection that Very Rev. Dr. Ivan Patterson and Mrs. Maureen Patterson, of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, have with Hungary has been 20 years in the making, culminating with their current trip to Budapest to encourage and learn from students and ministers here. The RCH sat down with the two of them after the November 2015 Synod meeting to discuss the end of their time here, how it will continue to impact them in the future, and the Very Rev. Dr. Patterson’s thoughts on the role that the church will play in the coming year.
On the 16th of October, the Youth Prayer Night in the Carpathian Basin was held for the fifth time. The goal of the vigil was for the youth to experience unity in their own communities by staying in our congregations for a night of prayer, uniting with thousands of other youth, and, most of all, God. This year Seminary Students from Pápa prepared the materials for the night. We discussed the event with Rev. Szontágh Szabolcs, head of the Youth Office of the Reformed Church in Hungary.
We talked to Dóra Kanizsai-Nagy and Balázs Acsai as they shared their thoughts on the events of the last few months: the general public’s fears regarding migration, the importance of integration, and the work of the Refugee Ministry of the Reformed Church in Hungary. “Not everyone can be automatically accepted, but, instead of speeches of hate, calm words and a clear framework are needed.”
Following the case of refugees from Kosovo getting stuck at Keleti Railway Station in Budapest and at the railway station in Győr, professionals working with refugees and those more deeply familiar with the Hungarian refugee situation got upset by the government’s communication criminalizing refugees. We talked with multi-awarded head of RCH Refugee Ministry Dóra Kanizsai-Nagy and the Mission’s project coordinator Balázs Acsai about the dangers of the new communication, the misconceptions about refugees and the Christian attitude towards the refugee question.