Establishing new churches in Hungary

«Church planting» was the main theme of this year’s meeting of Hungary Provisional Annual Conference, which took place from April 23 to 26, 2015, in Budakeszi. For the first time the Annual Conference members spent half a day to discuss a specific theme.

In the past 25 years two new churches have been established in the region of Budapest (Óbuda and Budakeszi). Additionally, house groups in Kürtöszpuszta (Roma church), Debrecen, and Sopron have developed into beginnings of local churches. At some other places groups of Methodist churches have started missionary activities, quite often in Roma settlements.

At all these places the leaders experienced hope and disappointments. People joined the new groups – and left them. Over and over, the most important elements proved to be reliable personal relationships between Methodists and people not belonging to the church, endurance, a strong hope that the love of Christ changes the lives of people, and a readiness to leave one’s own comfort zone and to take a missionary chance. In addition, every new church has its own history and its specific environment. People are therefore required to be flexible in order to remain open to God’s new and sometimes surprising ways.

The UMC in Hungary is still small in numbers; however, there is a slow but steady increase in membership. The reliability and the astonishing commitment of pastors and lay people as well as the willingness to live discipleship of Jesus Christ in a very practical way, tremendously contribute to this positive development.

The church is facing a change of generations. This year the first pastor of the older generation retired. Next year Superintendent István Csernák will follow. Bishop Patrick Streiff has announced already this year that László Khaled will be his successor. This early announcement enables the designated superintendent, who is part of the young clergy generation, to prepare for his new ministry (→ church visits, continuing education). Bence Vigh, who also belongs to the young clergy generation, was ordained elder of the UMC in Hungary.

The following delegates will participate in General Conference 2016: László Khaled (clergy) and István Ambrusz (lay). The next meeting of Hungary Provisional Annual Conference will take place from April 14-17, 2016, in Óbuda.

Source: Bishop Patrick Streiff, Zurich (Switzerland)
Date: April 27, 2015