On Saturday, February 5, 2022, the new church building of the United Methodist congregation of Miskolc was dedicated.
In the late nineties, the vision of a new church in the northeastern Hungarian city of Miskolc had emerged. At that time, no one would have expected that with this vision a tree had been planted in whose shade one or the other would no longer be able to sit because so much time would pass before the vision was realized. Again and again, the plans had to be adapted to the changing conditions and possibilities. On the one hand, with regard to the building site and the size of the church. In the course of the planning work, however, it was also decided, for example, to rely on renewable energy and to integrate a photovoltaic system and a heat pump into the building project.
The joy was all the greater when the church could finally be dedicated. Not only members and friends of the congregation in Miskolc took part in this festive service – leaders of the United Methodist churches in other areas of Hungary, who had met in the days before for a leadership conference near Miskolc, were also present. In addition, Greek Catholic Bishop Atanáz Orosz and leaders of other Protestant churches expressed the good ecumenical relations through their participation in the service.
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty!" reads the 6th chapter of the Book of Isaiah, to which Bishop Patrick Streiff referred in his sermon at the dedication. "Indeed, we observe and celebrate God who calls to service today, and whose holy presence Isaiah is almost afraid of. The God who purifies his servant, and who asks the calling question addressed to us today: who is ready to say yes to the Lord's service?"
The dedication of the church was a historic moment. Superintendent László Khaled called it a "gift of grace" and an "ancient biblical teaching" to be allowed to build a house of God. On the one hand, the atmosphere was marked by solemnity – Bishop Streiff had carried the altar Bible into the new church, Superintendent László Khaled the baptismal font, Pastor Zoltán Kovacs from Miskolc placed the chalice of the sacrament to the Lord’s table. In addition, former leaders in Miskolc and at the national level also participated in the service. On the other hand, many words of gratitude were shared. Gratitude to God who had provided for the church through all these years. Gratitude to the people who were responsible for the planning and building of the church. Gratitude to the congregation in Miskolc who faithfully and patiently worked towards the realization of the vision - and offered their support when in the Roma community in Alsózsolca, which belongs to the Miskolc circuit, the dream of a church could become reality faster than it was the case regarding their own dreams. Gratitude was also expressed to all the people in Hungary and abroad who, through their generous sharing, had helped to cover the construction costs. By the way, it is remarkable in this context that 80% of the necessary funds were raised in the country itself.
"We wish the whole congregation a fruitful spiritual work and God's blessing in this new place," stated Superintendent László Khaled – echoing what Bishop Patrick Streiff also mentioned in his sermon: The new church is a gift. But it is also a task. It is a matter of responding to God's call and – with the new instrument in the hands – "saying yes to the Lord's service."
Source: Superintendent Lászlo Khaled / Urs Schweizer, Assistant to Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich