The Eco-Congregation Movement provided meal for one hundred cyclist on a bike breakfast held on 9th of September in Lágymányos. The RCH’s Eco-Congregation group joined the HCC (Hungarian Cyclists’ Club) for the first time in their event for the sake of popularizing cycling, which takes place in every half a year. They even organised a race for the students of Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church. We also hopped into the saddle to report from this special occasion.
For some time the Eco-Congregation Movement also serves as the research workshop for the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church. They aim to mobilise people, but not as a must-do assignment, but rather as something which gives them happiness and makes them participate with joy. At the same time there’s a serious environmental conservation content behind all this. They think that one of the best methods of doing this if they offer outdoors activities. This is why they joined the HCC’s breakfast event which is being held all over the country. On 9th of September from early morning until noon the volunteers gave out pastries, fruits, sweets, homemade syrup and coffee to the busy cyclists on the Danube bank.
The bike breakfast is a perfect opportunity to slow down in the morning rush and have small talk with others and around one hundred people participated. We’ve met with an old couple who brought out their bicycle especially for this event. According to their experiences, this event also helps in the communication between colleagues. The volunteers of the Movement and the leader of the Northern-Pest part of HCC Gábor Vargosz Varga talked about why it is good to cycle, what are the environmental, medical benefits and how the Cyclists’ Club helps the cyclist society, or why the RCH’s environmental responsibility is important. We believe that these few minutes they’ve spent here wasn’t taking the time away from their day and they began their work in a better mood than usual.
This is not the first cyclist Movement in RCH of course, the Eco-Congregation popularizes HCC’s Bike to Work campaign every spring and fall and they even organised and named their own group Christian Cyclists, which is open to new applicants. They would like to encourage the members of churches to cycle. In 2015 they joined the CEC Pilgrimage for climate justice and the UN Climate conference in Paris with bicycles: they organised a cycling relay from the Carpathian Basin and at each stop, they’ve put a handful of soil, taken from where they live, into a thin vessel. They rested at congregations and emphasized the importance of the protection of the Creation and climate justice everywhere they went. The “Bicycling for your neighbour” group is still active and they organise events with the Starpoint Reformed Youth Festival.
The prizes of Let’s cycle, Károli! campaign were given out on the bike breakfast to students and workers from the university. The participants had to collect kilometres between 1st of July and 31st of August with any kind of bicycle. The routes had to be documented and sent in and the participant with the most were given a valuable gift certificate. The winner was Nikolett Szécsi, a freshman, the second was Zsolt Szabó, associate professor and the third was Flóra Sass, also a freshman.
In the conversation between Jesus Christ and Nicodemus, Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to the wind. The latter is known for all cyclists – reminded the winners pastor Tamás Kodács. The founder and head of the Eco-Congregation Movement compared the participants to slipstream, saying: “If more of us would cycle together, it would be very good to hide behind each other’s back, because it would be easier to cycle in slipstream. I would like to thank you all for cycling today, you served as an example, who can be followed.” Boglárka Szűcs the coordinator of Eco-Congregation Movement called bicycling a distinguished ministry. She asked the winners to convince others to participate in this joyful, healthy and environmental-friendly activity.
Associate professor Dr. Zsolt Szabó, the second winner collected 191 kilometres although he didn’t have to cycle to work between Károli University and Ludovika University of Public Service during summer break. Additionally he cycles 500 kilometres every summer. In the Year of Reformation he cycled from Prague to Wittenberg with his members from his congregation and they visited their sister church in Zilah, Romania. He said that four or five days in saddle can refresh people completely.
Nikolett Szécsi, who was newly accepted to the Faculty of Teacher Education in Kecskemét cycled 530 kilometres during summer despite the fact that she only learned to cycle as an adult, started doing sports actively two ago years and took a liking to cycling after that. She started with her father’s bicycle and she bought her own not too long ago and will upgrade it with her prize. Besides going to work, she cycles with her friend in Alföld, her longest distance being 100 kilometre. She didn’t come to Budapest only for the awards, she put the t-shirt of the Eco-Congregation Movement on and handed out breakfast with a smiling face to her fellow companions who instead of hopping into cars by habit or comfort got on bikes. We hope to welcome more people at the next bike breakfast!