Fall Synod Report 2013

2013. november 18., hétfő

The fall meeting of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in Hungary began on 14 November in Budapest. Several topics were on the docket for the meeting, including the Roma action plan, the findings of the Church Revision Committee and a discussion concerning the implication of the Leuenberg Agreement on church legal documents. In addition, Rev. Seon Koo, a mission coworker from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK), gave his greetings at the beginning of the Synod session. He highlighted the 18-year history between the RCH and PROK, and also provided his sincere wish that the partnership can be improved through the churchs' work and activities.

Leuenberg Agreement

The Synod decided during its spring session earlier this year to confirm its role within the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe and determine how well the church's legal documents are in adherence with the Leuenberg Agreement. In order to do this, the Reformation Committee, formed for the Reformation celebration in 2017, worked alongside the Constitutional Commission and examined several topics, namely public education law, the requirements for membership (especially elders), inter-denominational employment in church institutions and the naturalization of pastors.

The committee found that the church law is in accordance with the Leuenberg agreement, but that public education and church membership may need to be updated.

Hungarian Reformed Church Aid (HRCA)

The president of the advisory board of the HRCA, Sándor Pál, gave a report on the Church Aid's recent work. This includes the management of 27 diaconial programs, emergency response organized during the Danube flood this summer and more recently, the eight-doctor medical team that was sent to the Philippines following the devastation of typhoon Haiyan.

Annual Special Offering

Each year a special donation is held throughout the congregations of the RCH with the money going toward a specific project in October, the month of reformation. The Synod decides each year where the special offering will be donated. During the Synod meeting it was decided that the 2013 offering will go toward building a new church at the Debrecen-Lencztelepifold congregation. In a joint letter, Presiding Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei and Lay President Pál Huszár offered these words:

"Let this gift be a place for making sacrifices individually and as a community, that is a credit to the feat of the reformation, and it can be a beautiful example of carrying a common burden and helping each other."

Roma Action Plan

Lajos Püski, president of the RCH mission council, presented a finalized Roma action plan created by the Roma Mission Council to go along with the Council's previously accepted Roma Concept. The action plan outlines concrete examples for implementing the theological disciplines and aims presented in the Roma Concept. The Council created three action plans, each working toward a different goal. 

These goals are:

 

1. For congregations of the RHC to preach the Gospel’s life-shaping message to those living on the edge of society, including the large number of Roma.

2. By the service of the Church, Roma will experience God’s restorative and healing love in all dimensions of their life.

3. RCH congregational work serves for mutual reconciliation and repentance between Roma and majority society.

The Synod accepted the action plan, which means that the Roma Mission Council will now be disbanded because their work has been completed.

Church Revision

András Harmathy, convener of the Church Revision Committee, presented the committee's findings concerning the Revision committee's national dialogue with local congregations, which began around Easter. Harmathy stated that 207 congregations completed and returned the Revision questionnaire, which is 15% of RCH congregations. Reactions also came in from different ministries and organizations of the Church. From the responses, the Committee formulated three topics within the church that need to be addressed.

 The questionnaire asked for feeback on four questions:

 

1. How the congregations see their own mission?

2. How the congregations evaluate the national church’s contribution to their mission?

3. How the congregations evaluate the service of their related institutions?

4. What are the topics which are considered important for change?

 

According to the analysis of the responses, there are three topics and 28 concrete issues in which radical changes are needed. These topics are:

 

1. The congregational sense of mission

2. The structure and function of the Church in terms of trust and transparency

3. The role of institutions run by congregations

Harmathy concluded that the Synod members should be good attendants of the Lord and work to make changes based on the Committee's report. The Synod accepted the report, and the Committee's next step will be to form a series of consultations with the RCH presidium and experts from certain fields highlighted in the report as troublesome. The aim of these experts' consultation will be to present the Synod with concrete suggestions for forming its new strategy.

 

 

Amy Lester

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Reformed Church in Hungary

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We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.