“We are looking forward to learning and connecting,” said Rev. Amanda Currie, the Moderator of the PCC. From 16-19 September, Rev. Currie, accompanied by Nicholas Jesson and Rev. Glynis Williams, visited the RCH as part of the mission trip to Hungary and Romania.
Rev. Amanda Currie, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC), Nicholas Jesson, her spouse, and Rev. Glynis Williams, associate secretary of International Ministries of the PCC visited the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) as part of the mission trip to Hungary and Romania with four other mission participants.
The mission trip delegation visited the Királyhágomellék district of the Reformed Church in Romania. The delegation met with the Bishop of the district, Rev. István Csűry, during which he shared the challenges and successes of the church’s ministry. The delegation also had the opportunity to visit and experience the daily lives of the various mission programs, including the Samuel House for children living in poverty, a ministry supported by the PCC.
In Hungary, on 16 September, the delegation met with the Presiding Bishop of the RCH, Rev. Dr. István Szabó for discussion. They also met with Gyula Sümeghy, the Director for International Relations of Károli Gáspár University of the RCH and Rev. Chae Hwa Jeong, pastor of the RCH’s Korean-speaking congregation in Budapest.
The next day, discussions continued with the Mission Department and the National Roma Ministry of the RCH at the RCH Synod Office. The delegation met with Rev. Eszter Dani, head of the department, and Anita Tóth, coordinator of the Roma Mission. The delegation also heard about the RCH Youth Mission and the Starpoint Reformed Youth Festival during a conversation with Rev. Péter Bedekovics, the Head of the Office for Youth Mission.
The Reformed Church in Hungary and the Presbyterian Church in Canada have a long standing relationship, one that has been focusing also on youth mission. For years, PCC has sent young people to attend the Starpoint Reformed Youth Festival, and in 2016, eight Hungarian Reformed young people attended the youth gathering, Canada Youth. This year, three PCC young people attended the 2019 Starpoint Reformed Youth Festival.
In the afternoon the delegation was welcomed to the Te+Én Community Center and Roma After-school Project. The delegation also visited the Scottish Mission, the English-speaking congregation in Budapest and met Szabina Sztojka Student Associate Minister, as well as engaged in conversation with the Presidium of the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia (Ukraine), Bishop Sándor Zán-Fábián and Lay President Béla Nagy.
On 18 September, the delegation traveled to Debrecen to visit the Great Church, the Reformed College and Theological University, and Reformed College. The delegation met with Rev. István Oláh, the Head of the Board of Trustees of the HRCA, Rev. Endre Iszlai, the Secretary of the Dean and Ecumenical Reference of the District, and Dr. Gusztáv Bölcskei, former Bishop and current member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, and Dr. Teofil Kovács, the Director of the Library and Archives.
The visit of the delegation provided space for deep conversations and discussions on the future of the partnership with the Presbyterian Church in Canada and the Reformed Church in Romania, and with the Reformed Church in Hungary. Rev. Amanda Currie said in a reflection, “An important part of why we are here is to build relationships, strengthening the partnership between our churches. This is what it looks like to be in communion with our siblings in Christ across geography, history, language and cultural differences. Thanks be to God who binds us together in the Body of Christ!”
In addition to visiting the RCH, the PCC delegation also had the opportunity to visit Kalunba Social Services Ltd., the refugee integration ministry of the RCH before the mission trip to Romania. The Presbyterian Church in Canada offers support to this ministry through grants and personnel. The Reformed Church in Hungary will be welcoming a new mission co-worker, specifically assigned to work with Kalunba.
After visiting the integration ministry, Rev. Currie wrote in her reflection, “We were amazed by the dedication and determination of this small team to support and equip the vulnerable people who are trying to make a new life in Hungary. [...] We saw that they are making a real difference in people’s lives, thinking creatively about new ways to fund the work and enjoying the small but significant victories.”
Photos from Rev. Amanda Currie