Partner Church In Romania PDF Print E-mail

 

The flag of the Hungarian Unitarian Church and the Transylvanian Unitarian Church

Partner Church Program

Download a Printable Handout about the Partner Church Program

Our Partner Church in Kézdivásárhely, Romania

Visitors from our Partner Church

Unitarians in Romania

Mission of the UU Partner Church Council

Sermons and writings about our partnership

Other Related Links

Recent News -- A New Minister at Our Partner Church

 

partnerchurchministerjan2013Our 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.
 
Our partnership grew strong with Rev. Maria and her congregation and we warmly thank her for all of her work.  We look forward to remaining in contact as friends now.

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!

First of all we were very happy when we received your personal greeting letter. When we arrived in the congregation we heard with happiness that our new congregation has a partner church and that you keep contact with us in many ways it is possible.

I, István, am the new minister of the two congregations from November 1st.   My wife, Csilla, she is hospital minister in Sepsiszentgyörgy. We have two daughters, Boglárka 4 and ½ years old and Eszter 1 and ½ years old.

The parish house from Szentivánlaborfalva is our new home.  We were happy to come in these congregations, because we got closer to our hometown and our parents are closer also.

I finished my studies at the Theology in 2005, my wife in 2006 and we were ministers in Marosvásárhely and Nagyvárad.  Now we are preaching and serving in Kézdivásárhely, Szentivánlaborfalva and Sepsiszentgyörgy. Wonderful and helpful congregations.

We hope together we will have a beautiful future and we can work together.
We are waiting for you with love and happiness in our congregations.
We wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year blessed by our God.

Sincerely,
Buzogány-Csoma
István, Csilla, Boglárka and Eszter

 

 

Our July 7 - July 19, 2011 Pilgrimage

In July of 2011 a group of congregants including Rev Mark Evens visited our partner church in Kézdivásárhely. Take a vicarious trip with them by viewing a short slide show of their trip.

- Or view a larger collection of photos.

Or you can view photos from Rev Pap's visit on this Flickr site .

 

If you would like to read the sermon Reverend Maria Pap delivered at our service on Oct. 3, 2010 or would like to read other sermons by Maria Pap and others about our partnership, please follow this link..

 


tourgroup

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 Partner Church in Kézdivásárhely, Romania

 

The Kezdi Congregation July 2012

 

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:

  • We agreed to work together to establish a spiritually stimulating, mutually respectful, culturally sensitive, active, long-term collaboration with another congregation;
  • We agreed to identify ways in which we could provide support for their church and its members;
  • We committed ourselves and our children to learn from and about them in order to enhance our own understanding of our religious heritage and the people of other cultures who share it with us.

 

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.

 

Visitors from Transylvania

 

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.

 

Unitarians in Romania

 

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. 

But Transylvanian Unitarians continue to practice their faith, maintaining ethnic and faith traditions that are now more than 400 years old.  The Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council was founded in June 1993 to focus and coordinate the enormous grassroots energy of dozens of UU churches which had formed partnerships with Unitarian churches in Central Europe following the collapse of Communism in December 1989.  There had been programs established in the 1920s, but most had not been sustained during the Communist years.  Most have been established or re-established since the fall of Communism.

Hungarian-speaking Transylvanians continue to struggle to survive in the Romanian government system.  Many have not had their land and property returned to them since 1989.  The Partner Church programs such as ours have contributed support, both financial and personal, to their fellow churches.  The model of their faith and perseverance has strengthened us in return.

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.
They taught me about trust.
They taught me about perseverance in spite of repeated hardships. 
They demonstrated the value of community. 
And they showed me again how to experience joy in the simple things of life.”
—Leta Thornton

 

Mission of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council

 

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.

We will:
BE a bridge that connects congregations around the world;
REACH across boundaries to collaborate with old and new partners;
CREATE transformational opportunities for pilgrimage and hospitality, for learning and for service;
CHALLENGE ourselves theologically and open ourselves to changed values and behaviors;
ESTABLISH global community as a common commitment of liberal religion;
INITIATE partnerships that promote global friendships, international awareness, human rights, and a better world; and
SUSTAIN this global vision, enlarging and renewing it as new occasions teach new duties.

 

Links to related information

 

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

 

We have a new minister at our partner church in Kézdivásárhely, the Rev. István Buzogány-Csoma.  He sends us greetings from his congregation and his family.