|Partner Church Information|
Partner Church Program
Recent News -- A New Minister at Our Partner Church
Our long, rewarding association with the Rev. Maria Pap came to a close in August 2012 when she and her family moved to Kolozsvár to take on new assignments. Maria is now working for the Unitarian church's district office as an administrative assistant to the Bishop, while her husband is working with the office web site and doing their photography. Their daughter, Abigel, has begun high school at the Unitarian school there.
The new minister of our partner Kézdivásárhely church, the Rev. István Buzogány-Csoma sent us the greetings included below from his congregation and his family. We look forward to a possible fall visit from Rev. Buzogány-Csoma, as well as continued association with our partner church congregation.
Dear Members and Friends of our Partner Church from Ann Arbor!
At left is a photo from a 2008 trip to Transylvania and our partner church in Kézdivásárhely. Members of our congregation, including our then Interim Minister, the Rev. David Keyes travelled to Budapest, Kézdivásárhely and locations significant to Unitarian roots. The Reverend Maria Pap, minister of our partner church and Reverend Robert Balint of a Romanian Unitarian church are shown guiding our First UU of Ann Arbor tour group.
To view a slide show with more photos of this trip, follow this link...
Our partnership with the Unitarian Church of Kézdivásárhely, Romania (Transylvania) formally began by congregational vote in 1997. Our partnership is under the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council program. Transylvania was the birthplace of Unitarianism in 1565 and the Unitarian Church has persevered through centuries of hardships. Ethnically Hungarian, Transylvanians have suffered under the Romanian governments of the past decades.
The Unitarian Church of Kézdivásárhely has approximately 80 members. The minister is Maria Pap, who serves 2 congregations, has a husband and a teenage daughter. The photo of the congregation (above) was taken by Markó László Marko (2012). His caption "Kézdivásárhelyi unitáriusok Pap Mária lelkész kibúcsúzó istentisztelete után."
Rev. Maria Pap lives in the village of Szentivanlaborfalva and is also the minister of the Unitarian church there. On visits to Transylvania, we have enjoyed attending a baptism and a confirmation service there. This link provides a series of photographs, taken by Laszlo Marko, of their final service in July 2012.
What does this "partnership" mean for us? Among other things:
As Maria said in a sermon delivered to our congregation in 2007, "In every partnership, be it between individuals or communities, there comes a time when there is a longing for depth, a longing for a vision of where this particular partnership is going, of where this long walk is going to take us."
For the twentieth anniversary of the Partner Church program, Maria contributed to the written program with a paper called 'Inspiration'.
If you would like to read Rev. Maria's sermons and other sermons and writings about our Partnership, please follow this link.
We have enjoyed having visits from our Partner Church family and other Transylvanian Unitarians. Follow this link for photographs and to read more about our visitors.
The birthplace of Unitarianism was in Transylvania, then a part of Hungary, in 1565. Unitarianism flourished there briefly during the Reformation and then endured harsh persecution. Transylvania’s geographic position, caught between east and west, linguistically and ethnically Hungarian, made the position of Unitarians even more perilous. After World War I, the land area of Transylvania was transferred politically to Romania, but it never became Romanian in anything other than nationality. World War II was especially difficult, as the country was invaded by opposing forces and the political situation swung from one to the other. Jews, Roma, Unitarians, and other smaller ethnic groups were pursued and often sent to hard labor or extermination camps. After the war ended, the Communist regime continued the campaign against religious and ethnic minorities.
Here is a reflection on what we gain from our partnership:
“When I close my eyes, I see the faces of the people of my partner village and remember the things I learned from them.
The mission of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council is to foster and support partner relationships between UU congregations and individuals in the United States and Canada with Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist congregations, orphanages, schools and students in all other countries where partnering is sought and welcomed. These will be of high quality, firmly based, mutually beneficial, responsibly sustained, and linked by a joint and mutual covenant.
More about the UU Partner Churches: Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council web site
More about our Transylvanian roots: UUA Pamphlet: Unitarian Universalist Origins; Our Historic Faith