Summary of the April Synod Session

2013. április 26., péntek

The spring meeting of the Synod, the highest decision-making body of the Reformed Church in Hungary, opened with a devotion by Dean István Csegei and the 12th session of the 13th Synod cycle was officially called to session by RCH Lay President Pál Huszár.

On Wednesday, the first meeting day, three main points were discussed. First was the 40th Anniversary of the Leuenberg Concordia. The controversial interpretation of the Marburg Holy Communion initiated a more than 400-year debate between the Reformed and Evangelic churches, and within the Reformed Churches as well. For this purpose, in 1973 the Leunberg Concordia was declared to unite the Protestant churches. The Synod has decided to strengthen the role of the RCH within the community of European Protestant Churches toward the spirit of the Concordia.

For the next main Synod topic, András Harmathy announced the report of Church Revision Committee. Harmathy, as president of the committee, informed the Synod on the committee's process and about the questionnaire pamphlet entitled, "Touch" that was recently distributed to Reformed congregations. He summarized the negative and positive responses and asked Synod members to encourage their congregations to fill out the questionnaire. Before the report, the Synod also faced the results and data of the latest census, from which they informed the extent of the Reformed community.

Among matters discussed in the Synod was a proposal on the legal status and service of ministers. The actual draft plan of the proposal is the result of a six-year negotiation process. The debate is connected to the 89th paragraph of the church constitution and the expiring serving status of the ministers. After the debate, the Synod voted to amend the paragraph on the service and legal status of the ministers. The newly adopted proposal will go into effect in September.

The last topic of the Synod's opening meeting was the proposal on church jurisdiction. In the process of the actual second reading the members discussed the proposal in details, and adopted the amendments.

The second day of the Synod saw three main topics discussed. First, the Roma Strategy and the report of the Roma Mission were introduced. The report informed members of the Synod about the preparation and research process of the Roma Strategy, which was approved by the Roma Mission Council on 8 April. The Synod adopted the concept of the Roma ministry of the RCH that is based on the sociological research of the prayer relation to Roma communities and the church activity in connection with the Roma Mission. Presiding Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei asked the members to pay special attention for ways of encouraging the importance of participation in response to the negative contribution rate of RCH communities. Besides the strategy, the Synod gave its approval to the opening of the Roma Reformed Specialist Hall in Pécs.

After that Márta Kocsis, the Synod's legal adviser, announced her proposal to amend the Hungarian Reformed Church's constitution, which was adopted on 22 May 2009. The reason for this amendment is to correct and complete some points of the Preamble. The Synod decided that the unity of this faith and community expands other Reformed church communities within the Carpathian Basin.

The last significant topic was announced by Imre Hörcsök, the president of the educational committee. He submitted the concept of Reformed higher education and an amendment of the law on higher educational institutions. According to the votes of the Synod members, a new law will be created and its criteria adopted. Additionally, the Synod asked the education committee to compose a written proposal for the next session in autumn.

Besides the main topics the Synod also discussed some particular themes including the general assemblies of CEC and WCC, the participation of RCH at Kirchentag, the Starpoint Reformed youth festival as well as the annual reports of different committees. Finally, Presiding Bishop Gusztáv Bölcskei summarized the conclusion and results of the Synod before officially closing the session.

 

Translated by:Csilla Kuzma

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