The Fruits of Unity

2019. május 17., péntek

“Living the unity of the Church does not mean concentrating on the past, but, rather, the present which is the season of planting,” says László Gonda, ecumenical secretary of the Transcibiscan Reformed Church District, who is also responsible for the preparations of the Hungarian Reformed Unity Day Celebration. In addition to a common worship service, music programs, prayer chain, podium discussions and choir meetings are also waiting for those interested in the program of the celebration in Debrecen on 18th May.

The vivid tree motif, rooted in the Carpathian Basin from 2009, was kept. What does it symbolize to you?

On the one hand, the tree is a biblical symbol that symbolizes the life of a believer. For example, when the Book of Psalm talks about the tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit (Psalm 1:3). The tree is also a universal symbol of life. This tree refers to the organic togetherness of our Hungarian Reformed community and our common roots. It also symbolizes that we do not want to show something old when we speak of unity. The past is important, but the fruits are yielded in the present.

The motto of the Unity Day is from Zechariah 8:23: “Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.” What does this motto means to you personally?

The Church that gathers God’s people represents a life which is in covenant with God by being present in the world. We hope that through our lives those living around us will recognize the salvation of Christ. We trust that more people will want have a life following Christ. To me, this biblical verse also means that the Reformed Unity does not exist for itself, but also that we, the Reformed people, want to show the nature of the Kingdom of God and invite others into this community of love.

Let us talk about the programs: the common worship will be the central part of the celebration. What will it be like?

It will be a thanksgiving worship. We would like to express our gratitude for God's sustaining love; although we have been separated by borders in the Carpathian Basin for almost a hundred years, the Hungarian Reformed Church was reunited ten years ago. In fact, our unity was continuous every time because we are first connected in our unity in Christ, besides tradition and culture. At the common worship, we will be also together in Communion at the main square of Debrecen. It is also a beautiful symbol of our unity that the Communion bread will be made from flour coming from all over the Carpathian Basin.

There will be a gathering of choirs in Small Church in Debrecen, after which all the choirs will participate in the liturgy of worship. Prior to the common worship, there will be children's programs all day in the courtyard of the Reformed High School. In the Market of Opportunities, for example, there will be a chance for participants to get to know better the RCH Refugee Integration Ministry, while at another booth, those who are interested can receive information on twinning opportunities with congregations in the Carpathian Basin. In the Chapel of the Debrecen Reformed Collegium, a prayer chain will take place, while the Collegium will also offer space for podium discussions on topics such as, Church and Communication, and Church and Public Life.

How will young people be welcomed?

A program venue and stage especially for the university and high school age group will be provided at Déri square with discussions and spiritual programs.  In addition, the five best bands of the music talent show called Üstökös will be introduced. The winner will perform at the Starpoint Reformed Youth Festival.

It wouldn't work without volunteers

"They serve for the implementation of Unity Day," says László Gonda, Program Manager about the voluntary work of over one hundred students from the Debrecen Reformed Theological University, as well as the Debrecen Reformed Collegium, and the students and scouts of Dóczy High School will make up the majority of the volunteers.

Prior to the fesitivities on 18 May, the Common Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church will meet on 17 May. Ecumenical guests from WCC and WCRC will also be present and share greetings with attendees.

Originally  published in Reformatusok Lapja  (LXIII, 18, May 5, 2019)

Written by Márk Hegedűs

Translated by Virág Kiss


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