December 19, 2010, was the highlight of a very unique year for Kovacica UMC in Serbia: it was the day of the dedication of the new sanctuary and church building with a parsonage.
Just one year ago we had no idea that a lot of things would change in the following few months. But then it turned to be a very exciting year, full of God’s presence and grace. Sometimes we even had difficulties keeping up with the goodness that God has shown us, because so many things happened in such a short time. But the biggest joy for us was to see God’s almighty hand at work, who provided more than we expected to be possible.
Kovacica UMC was founded in 1950 when an existing Blue Cross society decided to join the Methodist Church. This was a temperance movement started within the Slovak Lutheran Church, but as the time progressed they started drifting apart from their «mother church». They were never a denomination but rather a movement. After the Second World War, the new communist regime put an ultimatum before them – either to become a separate denomination or to dissolve, because they could not exist just as a «religious society». They did not want to become a new denomination nor did they want to go back to the Slovak Lutheran Church. At that time, there were Blue Cross societies in almost every Slovak community. Some of them did dissolve, but nine of them decided to join the Methodist Church. Kovacica was one of these societies.
For many years the congregation was meeting in a house that long ago became unsuitable for the work and the needs of the congregation. After many years, God richly answered our prayers. In August 2010, Kovacica UMC got its very first pastor ever with residence in Kovacica – Daniel Sjanta who together with his wife Elena started serving in this congregation. But there was another great joy that we experienced – God has given us a new church building, which we were able to adapt for our needs. We are especially grateful to our Bishop Patrick Streiff for providing a loan to buy the house and to brothers and sisters of Science Hill UMC, Kentucky/USA, who have made a very generous contribution, which helped us to finish a lot of necessary things.
The dedication service on Sunday, December 19, 2010, was therefore an amazing celebration of God’s graciousness – for the people in Kovacica but also for Church members from other local churches who made their way to Kovacica through freezing cold and snow. The sanctuary did not offer enough space for all people attending the service – the choir from Kisac, for instance, had therefore to be seated in the parsonage, located in the next room, and just came to the sanctuary for contributing to the service with wonderful hymns. After lunch with many opportunities for fellowship a second worship service took place in the afternoon.
Of course, our work is not done yet. This is just the beginning for us. The beginning of a journey, which we are excited to be on. There is much more to do and we pray that God would give us the necessary strength to go on as the disciples of Christ and to share his hope and peace in Kovacica.
If you wish to know more about the work done here in Kovacica, please visit http://emckovacica.blogspot.com. (We are always updating the blog - you're welcome to visit us again).
Source: Daniel Sjanta, Kovacica / Maria Virag-Palik, Novi Sad
Date: January 17, 2011