Every year, on the last Sunday of October, the RCH church members dedicate their offering to support the renovation of church buildings of a single congregation selected by the leadership of the four Church Districts and confirmed by the Synod of RCH. This year, on October 31, offerings of the Reformation Sunday donation campaign will support the renovation of the church building of the congregation in Kisvárda. The walls and the roof are already finished, but the bulk of the work is still to be done, which will require about 90 million HUF. Since 2016, as a sign of joint solidarity, the German Diaspora organisation, Gustav Adolf Werk also supports the beneficiary congregation of the Reformation collection. The Presidium of RCH, Bishop Zoltán Balog and Lay President János Molnár sent out a circular to the twelve hundred congregations inviting them to join the campaign this Sunday.
It is a long-standing and nice tradition of our church to support one of our congregations with a collection on the last Sunday of the month of Reformation. In recent years, together we have helped to build and expand several churches. Thanks to the support, churches were built all over the country, in Nagykovácsi, Badacsonytomaj, Mezőnyék, Debrecen-Lencztelep, Sajólád, Erdőkertes, Esztergom, Nyíregyháza-Örökösföld, Kesznyéten, Kalocsa and last year in Balatonakarattya. We express our gratitude for your offerings.
This year we are collecting donations for the second church of the congregation in Kisvárda in the Tatra street. The construction started in April 2020 and the first phase of the work was financed by the congregation itself and through grants from public tenders. The walls and the roof structure are already finished. However, in the church interior work is still in progress; stone wall cladding and stone floor tiling, painting, mechanical and electrical works are still to be done, the gallery is not yet finished, and the pews, pulpit and altar are still to be completed. In addition, the congregation would like to build parking lots around the church and do the necessary landscaping. To do all this, the congregation in Kisvárda still needs about 90 million forints (around 250 000 EUR – ed.), due partly to the incredible price increases in the construction industry over the last few months. The congregation hopes that the Reformation donations collected on the last Sunday of October will allow them to start the completion of the church building construction.
Living congregation and church planting
Kisvárda is a town in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County in north-eastern Hungary and has about 18,000 inhabitants. Majority of the local population, around 6 800 individuals identify themselves as Reformed. The main Church was built between 1833 and 1871 in eclectic style. The church is not only the centre of the congregation's life, but also the venue of festive events organized by the primary and secondary school belonging to the congregation. They organize daily prayer services, public and church celebrations, like opening and closing events of the school year. In the church, eight services are held per week for the congregation. Because of its central location, the church is also the venue for many concerts, ceremonies and meetings of the Church Presbytery. In average 350 members attend worship service on a Sunday morning, and between 80-100 in the afternoon in the main church. The number of members hasn't been decreasing which is a sign of a living community and an partly outcome of a councious youth ministry. Beside various groups for youth and young adults, women have also been very active in community life.
In the community hall in Tatra street, where the new church is being built, a new community has been planted where in the past 8 years around 60-70 people celebrate worship.
Joint solidarity of Hungarian and German congregations in Hungary and the Middle-East
The Reformed Congregation in Kisvárda is also one of the beneficiaries of the Gustav Adolf Werk (GAW) Aid organisation responsible for the Diasporawork of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD). The GAW which is a long-standing partner of the RCH regarding construction work in local churches, and since 2016 also in Roma mission projects, aims to collect 25 000 EUR for the construction this year. Each partner church in Central-Eastern Europe and the Middle East is offered namely an annual allocation, and based on their applications, GAW coordinates the collections campaign among German protestant congregations and churches, and other European partners, to support programs published in its Project Catalogue. GAW not only offers financial support for its partners, but also serves as a platform of information and exchange among partner churches through publications, newsletter service and advocacy. Through its scholarship program the organisation also promotes theological education of becoming pastors and future leaders of diaspora churches.
The GAW was founded in 1832 in Leipzig as Gustav-Adolf-Stiftung. Since 1851 there has been an independent Women’s Association. According to its mission statement, GAW supports protestant communities worldwide to enable them to live their faith in Jesus Christ in freedom and to work diaconally in their settings. It enables encounters, enriches religious life and fosters tolerance by mutual learning; attracts men and women for active cooperation. The GAW follows the biblical motto: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6,10)
GAW and RCH have been working together also outside Hungary in the past years. We have coordinated our efforts for the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, Ukraine and we have been journeying together with minority church in the Middle-East, especially in Lebanon and Syria. As of this year RCH has renounced part of the annual GAW allocation and redirected 5000 EUR to projects in Ukraine and another 15 000 EUR to support protestant churches in Syria.