Open Dialogue and a New Beginning

2013. október 02., szerda

The Reformed Alliance in Germany is an independent organization similar to an NGO comprised of 600 individual members, 360 member congregations and 3 member churches. Recently two board representatives, including General Secretary Jörg Schmidt, met with leaders from the Reformed Church in Hungary to discuss the Alliance’s upcoming board meeting to take place in Hungary in April 2014.

Schmidt described the Alliance as having two main functions, which are first to find out what it means to be Reformed today and second, to determine what is of interest to German Reformed Christians, especially in political and church life, and bring those topics into discussion in Germany. Its tasks include promoting Reformed issues and theology throughout Germany, which is especially important because the Reformed confession is a considerable minority, and along those lines being a means of connection for Reformed people, congregations or churches that may be isolated in their locations.

Aside from planning for next year's board meeting, Schmidt and his colleague, Reformed pastor Sabine Dressler, wanted to discuss the current political and social situation in Hungary with the RCH. "When this (Hungarian) government started its work, in Germany we had a feeling that there is a difference and we don't know what it means," Schmidt said. But during the RCH's participation in the Kirchentag in Hamburg earlier this year, RCH Bishop, Gusztáv Bölcskei, initiated several open discussions about these very topics, and a conversation between the two organizations began. These panels focused on and encouraged open, frank dialogue among equals concerning the political situation in Hungary. They served as one side of the topic Fair Communication (FAIRständigung), one of the RCH's main themes throughout the Kirchentag.

FAIR Communication (FAIRständigung)

As one of the largest genuine Protestant communities in the Eastern part of Europe, we will intentionally address and discuss critical issues at Kirchentag and, instead of merely reporting about the colorful life of our Church and the Hungarian society, we will create a space for encounter and exchange. We are convinced that churches, especially Protestant communities have an essential responsibility in communication and mutual critical discussion of churches and countries in an increasingly disintegrated Europe. Otherwise, diversity and crisis will become a test of tension and instead of solidarity (and cohesion) we will be faced with frustration and distrust on the continent – not in the least between "East" and "West". However unity and reconciled diversity shall flourish in Europe which we have been shaping together for hundreds of years with Hungary as the easternmost bastion of the west.

Since then, it has been decided that the board of the Reformed Alliance, called the moderame, will hold its annual meeting in Budapest and focus on the current situation in Hungary both politically and religiously as well as the challenges facing the Hungarian-speaking churches in the Carpathian Basin. Schmidt labeled the meeting as a "new beginning" for his organization. "I think in Germany and maybe in Hungary too, we have pictures of the other country, and my hope is that our pictures might be changed," Schmidt said.

Dressler echoed this, saying, "I see now a chance to get into something new from eye to eye, being both of us, Hungary and Germany, as a part of Europe, and to regard these problems, for example migration and asylum, as a common task for the future as being Reformed Christians."

The meeting will be held in the Synod building of the RCH in April 2014.


Amy Lester

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Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

PO Box: 1140 Budapest 70, Pf. 5

Phone/Fax: + 36 1 460 0708 


Our church through American eyes

We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.