Members from five protestant denominations gathered February 4 for the second annual Protestant Roma Mission Conference, which took place at a Baptist congregation in Budafok. More than 300 people were in attendance and spent the day together in faith discussing what it takes to fly, like in Isaiah 40:31.
Roma and non-Roma children play together in a village where the adults are full of animosity. While people may lash out at one another outside, the church is a place of peace. The magical cooperation of civilian volunteers and the local congregation seems to almost be God’s answer to the prayers of the community: the “Sheep of Pátka” children’s home.
The RCH has recently published an English translation of a popular interview series done highlighting the work of Roma youth, mission workers, pastors, and artists within the RCH. The publishing of this work was supported by the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland (EKiR).
An After School project managed and overseen by the Reformed Church in Pilisvörösvár relies on the funds raised by selling soup and sweets at the Szimpla market to support their summer camp for disadvantaged children.
As a child, Attila János Lakatos was diagnosed as having a developmental disability, but now he is a college student who can easily cite professional literature and recite Bible verses one after another. János is a third-year Deaconry student passionate about the deep work that deacons provide for communities of faith. He plans to get a degree in social work as well and eventually would like to work among orphans, because János was once an orphan himself.
More than three hundred people gathered in the reformed church of Káposztásmegyer for the Hungarian Roma Mission’s Annual Prayer Meeting on the 9th of April. A sermon was given by István Szabó, Presiding Bishop of the RCH. Those who gathered prayed together in small groups for the Roma people, the Church, and asked for the Lord’s help for their ongoing problems. The worship was led by the members of Budapest’s and the Zemplén region’s various congregations.
Rev. Matthias Herren, Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) secretary for Middle and Eastern Europe, along with other representatives from HEKS, recently made a trip to Hungary. He oversaw progress on a Roma initiatives that HEKS funds, and also introduced his successor, Angela Elmiger, who will be the next HEKS secretary for Middle and Eastern Europe.
Starting this September, it will be mandatory for all students to learn about Roma studies at the Debrecen Reformed Theological University. The university has set up a separate department for bringing students closer to Roma history, culture, and traditions. The department will be led by Romologist Mrs. Judit Kármán Szabó Phd., who is convinced that the department could turn the negative view of Roma in society into a better one.
“It’s very timely to realize that the question of integrating the Roma society is essential for us,” warns Dániel Szabó. As the former Lay President of Cistibiscan Reformed Church District, who has been committed to the Roma Mission service for years, said, that isn’t the main reason to work among them; it is also the missionary command of the Lord. Dániel Szabó or as we call him “our beloved Uncle Dani” speaks of his commitment towards to the Roma people and talks about the joy of this service.
We continue the conversation with Rev István Lakó, the Assistant Pastor and Roma Mission Leader of the Reformed Congregation at Salétrom Street, in the eighth District of Budapest, about the unique ministry happening there at YOU+ME. He discusses how this ministry is different from other Roma outreach projects and the tangible ways in which it has impacted the community.
The meeting was organized for the initiative of the members of the Protestant Roma Mission Forum with the participation of the Reformed, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Baptist and Methodist Roma mission communities. The theme of the day was, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,” which urged the Roma and non-Roma brothers and sisters to serve with. The day-long conference was filled with worship songs and testimonies. The Roma missions of the different churches were also introduced, which according to Ágnes Nyeső, National Roma mission coordinator of RCH, was a great opportunity for taking care of the relationships and for living out our unity.
Rev István Lakó, the Assistant Pastor and Roma Mission Leader of the Reformed Congregation in Salétrom Street, in the eighth District of Budapest, talks to the RCH about the unique ministry happening there. He discusses the set-up of the Roma ministry that takes place there, the special draw that this work has for volunteers, and the importance of making volunteering something that is easy for people to do.
Between the 25th and 27th of September, the Reformed Church in Hungary held a National Roma Mission Conference titled “You blessed us, You redeemed us, You welcomed us into your country.” The conference was supported by the Church of Rhinland, one of our most important partner church in Germany.
“Roma men just can’t survive without their wives. The family would not function without the mother,” says one Roma woman. The question is, how do we raise up these women so that they, in turn, can raise up their families and communities?
Claude Ruey, President of the Board of Trustees of HEKS paid a short visit in Hungary on June 6 and met colleagues of the Roma Ministry and Pál Huszár, Lay President of the Synod of RCH.
“Last year it was quite hard to round up nine people, today thirty-six of us have gathered here” - mentioned a pastor as he shared his joy with the participants of the National Roma Mission Meeting and Prayer Day on the 18th of April at Reformed Congregation in Káposztásmegyer, Budapest. More than two hundred people from all over the Carpathian Basin participated in the event whose sermons and testimonies were about faith in God and the question of trust.
Tragedies like the Roma Holocaust will only be unrepeatable if there is a culture of respect and if the mainstream and Roma “learn together, work together, live together and think together,” the minister of human resources said.
Between the 25th and the 28th of February, nearly sixty people attended the conference called “Rapprochement Among Nations”, which provided an opportunity to experience the healing and reconciliation among Christians of different origins. Roma brothers and sisters arrived in a large numbers for the event, from around the country and across borders, but representatives of other nations were involved as well. One night prayers in Romani, Welsh, Hungarian, English, Korean, Romanian and Ukrainian were said, in which they begged for the healing of the wounds from the hit of the ethnical conflicts.
The Biztos Kezdet Kid’s Center was opened in the village known as the fresco-village, Bódvalenke on 29 May. The program is a lifesaver for the inhabitants where more than half of the population are children and 28 of their mothers are younger than 18.