The 2018 gathering of Hungary Provisional Annual Conference took place from April 5 to 7, 2018 in Szolnok. It’s theme was taken from Ezechiel 37:14: «I will put my Spirit in you and you will live».
Because of the Hungarian Parliamentary Election, the Annual Conference meeting had to be concluded earlier than usual. However, there was nevertheless enough time to not only deal with a number of important reports but to also to celebrate worship services, to pray, to share, and to have moments with beautiful music.
Five years ago, the UMC had taken the Forrai School in Budapest under its auspices. Over the course of the last Conference year, a second school (Schola Europa) approached the UMC to explore its willingness to take over this school, as well. It is located close to the oldest United Methodist congregation in Hungary, on the Pest side of the Hungarian capital Budapest. This local church had already positively responded to this request and had considered it a positive challenge to be a missional church. After a thorough discussion, the Annual Conference followed this way of thinking and decided to take Schola Europa under its auspices. This actually means that the number of students in the two schools is higher than the number of professing members of the whole church in Hungary!
Last year, there was a groundbreaking ceremony of the new church building in Miskolc just one day prior to the opening of the Annual Conference meeting. This year, it was again just one day prior to the Annual Conference meeting that a no longer used property in Miskolc could be sold, which generated some meaningful income for the new church building. About two-thirds of the needed financial means could be collected so far – thanks to generous donations from both church members and friends in Hungary and abroad. However, the remaining part (EUR 210,000 or USD 260,000) will still be another huge challenge for the UMC in Hungary.
One day of the AC meeting was to a considerable part devoted to the theme of revival and renewal. There was a more historical part with a lecture on John Wesley and revival, while in a second part the Annual Conference members focused on questions of the present age. This led to some valuable moments of sharing of positive mission experiences.
The number of professing members remained stable (478 compared to 479 in 2017). There was no ordination of new pastors, but two men from Szekszard and from the Roma church in Abony were accepted as candidates for the ordained ministry. They will do an internship of one year in Hetes/Kaposvar and in Budapest-Obuda.
The next Annual Conference meeting will take place from April 25 to 28, 2019, in Obuda (on the Buda side of the Hungarian capital Budapest). The theme day will then focus on family and values.
Source: Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland
Photo: Students of Forrai School are no longer the only ones being accompanied by the UMC in Hungary