Swimming for a New Congregation

2017. augusztus 04., péntek

Pastor István Szabó swam this summer to collect donations for the Budapest 9th District Christmas Market and also to draw attention to the Reformed Church there, located in the Attila József housing complex. We talked to the young pastor about this initiative, the new congregation planting, and community.

István Szabó has been living in the 9th District József Attila housing complex in Budapest since 2010. He said this area is an ecclesiastical administrative part of the Külső -Üllő Reformed Congregation, but the church is separated by Üllői street: the church of the congregation is technically in the 10th District and the housing complex where most of the congregation lives is still in the 9th.

"Because I live here I wanted to have a separate congregation in the area," he said, adding that the idea of congregation planting was also the same thing that Endre Kiss Sámson wanted, who is the pastor of the Küslő-Üllői Reformed congregation. In this way, work could begin with the approval of church leadership in September last year.

"I am currently a religious education teacher, which is a good opportunity because I can meet with kids and parents and get to know them so I can keep reaching new families," he said. The first year of congregation planting is about making contact: since September, István has been trying to participate in neighborhood programs and contact local organizations. "It's good that I'm already invited to participate in different occasions," he added. "The next step is to present Christ through personal meetings, like small group Bible studies."

István also told us that the community life is very lively in the housing complex. In the Facebook group, which is called "József Attila Housing Complex – I also live here!," the group members talked about how the community would be happy to have an advent sale before Christmas. Residents would like to have community programs, which can help them get to know one another even more. The organizers joined the Swimathon fundraising campaign and that’s why István Szabó will swim on June 18th.

Swimathon is a four-week community fundraising campaign and community event, which is held in a swimming pool. The people in the campaign swim and ask for support and collecting funds for a good cause.

"It's good that this initiative came from the bottom, and people get to know each other in this fundraising campaign," he said. His wife, Gyöngyi Szabó-Kis, also helps in the campaign and in the mission. According to Gyöngyi, with the Golden Gate Christmas market they would like to create a tradition, build a community, draw attention to charity and speak about the real message of Christmas.

"I recommend it to all churches to participate in local programs and initiatives because organizing the event itself brings people closer," points out István. “We get to know each other and I hope that people get to know our plan to create a new congregation in the housing complex."

Article by Zsuzsanna Farkas

Translated by Viktória Fülöp

Photos by reformatus.hu/András Dimény

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