«Faith produces abundance» – this would probably be an appropriate headline for the Annual Conference in Hungary and a good summary of this year’s theme of the UMC in Hungary. Does this mean that a prosperity gospel has put down roots among the Hungarian Methodists? No way!
Faith produces abundance – this headline refers to a verse from 1 Timothy 6:6: «You gain a lot when you live a godly life. But you must be happy with what you have.» And the context of this verse makes it blatantly obvious that it is not about economic prosperity. «Love for money causes all kinds of evil.» (1 Tim 6:10). The Hungarian Methodists have rather chosen this annual theme in order to consciously offer an alternative to the prevalent materialism in the Hungarian society – both in regard to lifestyle and aim of life. Bible studies and worship services helped to profoundly think about the gain of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The Annual Conference elected the members of the various commissions for the upcoming quadrennium. In other Conferences this had purely been a matter of duty, but these elections were utilized in a particular way to take a young generation, both pastors and lay people, into leadership functions. It is a joyful experience to see how gifted young adults contribute – in many regards – to the life of the church. Although the narrowly limited financial opportunities set a number of bounds to the service of the Methodists in Hungary, the Church can report a slow numerical growth (and behind every single figure there is a person…).
A young probationary pastor (and doctor of history), who had successfully completed his theological studies, was admitted as provisional member preparing for membership in full connection in the Annual Conference. Two additional young men are currently studying theology in Budapest. One ordained elder, Dr. Robert Hecker, had requested to be an ordained minister on honorable location in order to be able to fully commit himself to a ministry involving drug prevention work and sharing Christian values among young people in Szolnok.
The campaign «Children help children» of the UMC in Germany will expedite the construction of a long-desired church and multi-purpose building for the Roma congregation in Alsozsolca. The municipality has already offered a piece of land for such a building because its leaders very much appreciate the service of the UMC with and among the Roma people – and because the current, old assembly room is, already for a long time, much too small for the growing congregation.
Source: Bishop Dr. Patrick Streiff
Date: May 19, 2010