The 2017 meeting of Hungary Provisional Annual Conference took place from April 20 to 23, 2017, in Dombóvár (Southwest Hungary). One day prior to this event, on April 19, 2017, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new church building in Miskolc had been organized.
Miskolc UMC had been planning the construction of a new church building for 15 years. Finally, the long-expected groundbreaking ceremony could take place. The new church building will be constructed on the same property where the old one served the church. This was not the original plan, but after ten years of unsuccessful attempts to build a church on a new property situated closer to the center of the city (there were too many objections of neighbors), the church leaders decided to remain at the old place. And surprisingly they discovered that it will be much easier than expected to build a purposeful, beautiful church with sanctuary, group rooms and a pastor’s apartment. During the upcoming months, the congregation will gather in the nearby facilities of an Adventist church. The groundbreaking ceremony on April 19, 2017, was a joyful day for Miskolc UMC. Ecumenical guests and a regional TV station were present, as well. According to the plans, the church should be structurally complete by the end of this year. For the completion of the interior, however, the church still needs funds.
One day later, the meeting of Hungary Provisional Annual Conference started. It was the first such conference under the leadership of the new superintendent László Khaled. Against the background of the motto of this year («to understand what the Lord’s will is», Ephesians 5:17) he addressed the challenges and possibilities of a missionary church work on a local level.
Besides the Church Council, there is also a «Mission Council» in Hungary, which pools a number of different ministries. This «Mission Council» helps the various groups to work on the same themes and to aim at the same target. This year, there was an interesting suggestion, which was approved by the Conference after a brief discussion. The «Mission Council» had dealt with the situation of the spouses of pastors who – while keeping to the sidelines – often provide their invaluable support in many regards, but whose faithful and committed service is often not appreciated and esteemed. The «Mission Council» suggested to officially declare January 20 as the «spouse’s day». On this special day, husbands and wives of pastors shall feel the appreciation of the members and friends of the congregations in an imaginative and loving manner. This day was chosen because Susanna Wesley, pastor’s wife and mother of John and Charles Wesley, was born on January 20, 1669.
In addition to many discussion items related to the specific situation in Hungary, the developments in the worldwide church and the work of the Commission On a Way Forward led to an intensive discussion on homosexuality and the unity of the church.
The change of generations in the church is continuing. At the 2017 Annual Conference meeting, another pastor retired (Mihály Sztupkai) and a young pastor (Donát Gyurkó) was ordained elder. Tamás Szuhánszky was accepted as probationary pastor, and Dániel Vadászi was recommended for theological studies at the Lutheran Faculty in Budapest. This process of passing on the responsibility to a younger generation is shaped by an amazing mutual appreciation.
The next Annual Conference meeting will take place from April 19 to 22, 2018.
Source: Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland
Date: April 24, 2017