CTS Students Visited Hungary

2015. május 18., hétfő

It has been a long tradition that student from the Columbia Theological Seminary visited RCH. Aim of the annual exposure trips, hosted by Rev. Zoltán Bóna, is “to deepen one’s experience and understanding of the Church and its ministry in a significantly different socio-cultural context”.

“At Columbia Theological Seminary, occasional opportunities to travel with others for the purpose of exploring the world through the lens of our Christian faith are offered to students. Thoughtful, purposeful journeys can stir questions, lead to insight, raise anxiety, and give new energy and perspectives. Some journeys bring us closer to God and to other people.” – reads on the CTS website.

Travel opportunities through the Center for Lifelong Learning have included contemplative retreats at monasteries in Georgia and Alabama, an eco-kayaking trip in the Bahamas, pilgrimages to Iona in Scotland and the Holy Land, a seminar in Greece, and Presbyterian Heritage tours to Coastal Georgia and South Carolina, and Central Europe.

In May, the Columbia Seminary group visited Hungary which was “full of listening, learning, and meeting passionate leaders of the Church” – as the group of 5 students and their teacher, Dr. Pamela Cooper-White, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling witnessed on their website, created to post messages and news about their adventure in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine. Purpose of this course is “to deepen one’s experience and understanding of the Church and its ministry in a significantly different socio-cultural context, and consequently to gain clearer insight into the mission of the Church in our own context. The course seeks to provide opportunities, through the challenges of an alternative social context, for social analysis, theological reflection, and a deepening of commitments to the Gospel.”

The group started at the national headquarters of the Reformed Church in Hungary where they met some young church leaders in the ecumenical relations department who gave them an informative and engaging overview of the RCH’s mission, history, and governing structure. They had presentations about the Eco-Congregation movement by the head of the RCH’s leader and about the mission to the Roma people.

They also had the opportunity to go to the Castle Hill area for some sightseeing where Rev. Zoltan Bóna, host on behalf of RCH, gave them some in-depth history of the town. Later on the group travelled to Szentendre where they met Rev. Dr. Béla Tóth who gave them an inspiring tour of the High School that his church supports and where he teaches some religion courses.

On the next day they went to the Juhász Zsófia Református Szeretetotthon in Őrbottyán and Bethesda Children’s Hospital before worshiping and participating in a Bible study at Gyulai Church in Budapest. 

In the next morning, the group visited a Jewish Community, ‘Chabad House’ and met Köves Slomo rabbi, then went to the Hungarian Parliament Building. At the end of the day they travelled to Tihany to see the Benedictine Abby.

Their visit in Hungary ended in Hortobágy where they learned about the traditional shepherd life, then traveled to Debrecen to meet with students and faculty at Debrecen Reformed Theological University. Rev. Dr. László Gonda, professor of Mission Studies, gave a wonderful synopsis of Hungary’s Reformed history. The group had a great discussion about theological education with Dr. Gonda and students at the seminary. After the discussion, they visited the Reformed Great Church of Debrecen – the largest Protestant church in Hungary. Finally, they drove to Fehérgyamart in the easternmost part of the country. There, they met with Pastor Gusztáv Némedi of the local Reformed Church.

The Columbia Seminary group described its stay in Hungary with the following words: “We have received a gracious welcome to this beautiful country, and we are filled with hope! Not only hope for the rest of our time here and our rich experiences, but also for the future of the Reformed Church in Hungary, our new colleagues and friends.”


Compiled by Enikő Essek

Source: https://centraleuropetrip2015.wordpress.com/


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Reformed Church in Hungary

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Our church through American eyes

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