Companion Synod – Hungary
Building mutual relationships between the Northeastern Iowa Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary
AboutThe Northeastern Iowa Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hungary began a companion synod relationship in 2011. Through this relationship, synod members have an opportunity to expand their horizons to learn, grow and pray with and for our brothers and sisters in Hungary.
In August 2011, the Rev. Dr. Tamas Fabiny, bishop of the Northern District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (ELCH), and his wife visited the ELCA churchwide offices in Chicago and several sites in the Northeastern Iowa Synod. In May 2013, Bishop Steven Ullestad and others from the Northeastern Iowa Synod visited Bishop Fabiny, congregations and other sites in Hungary.
- Our faith and synod are strengthened by our relationships with our companion synod.
- Our companionship builds us up — we learn from other people, which helps us recognize what is happening here.
- Seek ways to get our congregations involved.
- Submit a supplement to the Star newsletter before year end.
- Continue to support of the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) project.
- Share about YAGMs and companion synod at conference assemblies.
- Work to establish congregational connections with churches in Hungary.
- Feature Katie Frush in Star newsletter about her trip to Hungary.
- Arrange a conference call with Bishop Tamas Fabiny about the Syria refugee crisis and the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 uprising in Hungary.
- Utilize communications tools such as Skype to connect youth groups, build partnerships and exchange ideas.
FACILITATOR — Rev. Al Schulz
SYNOD COUNCIL LIAISON — Sheila Schaefer
SYNOD STAFF — Rev. Mark A. Anderson
Roma College director visits Northeastern Iowa Synod
The Northeastern Iowa Synod welcomed Pastor Erzsébet Molnár, director of the Lutheran-sponsored Roma College in Hungary, as a guest from May 30 to June 15, 2016. The Roma College is a residential college program that provides mointoring, cultural education and other support to help Roma students transition to university life.
During her visit, Molnár met with the synod’s Companion Synod – Hungary Network, preached at Trinity Lutheran in Mason City, and participated in WIYLDE, the Wholly Iowa Youth Leadership Discipling Event at Wartburg College. She addressed the Synod Assembly, where she also led a Hungary Companion Synod seminar and joined youth for fellowship.
In addition, Molnár met with people responsible for helping minority populations integrate in academic institutions at Wartburg College, the University of Northern Iowa, Augsburg College, and College Possible in Minneapolis.
Roma guest visits Northeastern Iowa Synod
The Northeastern Iowa Synod and Wartburg College welcomed a Hungarian Roma guest in May 2015 as part of the companion synod relationship between the Northeastern Iowa Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (ELCH). At the same time, a Wartburg Theological Seminary student visited a Hungarian university as a guest of the ELCH.
Jeri was the guest of honor at two receptions in Waverly, and he worshipped and spoke about his Roma culture at four churches: Zion (Jubilee), La Porte City; Zion, Castalia; United, Chester; and St. Paul (Maple Leaf), Elma. In addition, he visited two Iowa farms; toured the Iowa Capitol, the State Historical Museum and the offices of the Iowa Department of Human Services in Des Moines; met with faculty at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque; and attended a Rachel Kurtz concert.
Wartburg College provided lodging for Jeri, who recently received his social work degree from the University of Debrecen in Hungary. Jeri accompanied Wartburg social work students on their field placements to area social service agencies, including North Star Community Services, The Larrabee Center, Boys & Girls Club of the Cedar Valley, and St. Paul Lutheran’s Saints Alive after-school program in Waverly.
Read More Jeri enjoyed his time in Iowa and noted that he especially liked being among people who showed no racism toward him for being a Roma (formerly called Gypsy), like he encounters in Hungary. Jeri left Iowa on May 22. “We’re really doing some creative things in this companion relationship,” said Kit Kleinhans, Wartburg College professor of religion who holds the Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission. “This exchange has the opportunity to be transformational in the life of this young Roma man and also in the life of one of our synod’s seminary students, to see how things are done in a very different culture and how much the church is involved in addressing some of their social issues.” The synod and Wartburg College funded the airfare and room and board expenses for Jeri’s visit. Congregations and individuals are invited to contribute toward those costs. “Our hope is that this exchange will be only a first step in a continuing and expanding partnership between the synod, Wartburg and the Roma College at the University of Debrecen,” said Pastor Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop. “The opportunities this collaboration makes possible are staggering.
Wartburg seminarian visits Hungary
Katie Frush, a first year student at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque and a member of Zion (Jubilee) Lutheran Church in La Porte City, spent a few weeks in the spring of 2015 at the Roma College in Nyíregyháza in Hungary as a cross-cultural immersion.
Jeri enjoyed his time in Iowa and noted that he especially liked being among people who showed no racism toward him for being a Roma (formerly called Gypsy), like he encounters in Hungary. Jeri left Iowa on May 22.
“We’re really doing some creative things in this companion relationship,” said Kit Kleinhans, Wartburg College professor of religion who holds the Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission. “This exchange has the opportunity to be transformational in the life of this young Roma man and also in the life of one of our synod’s seminary students, to see how things are done in a very different culture and how much the church is involved in addressing some of their social issues.”
The synod and Wartburg College funded the airfare and room and board expenses for Jeri’s visit. Congregations and individuals are invited to contribute toward those costs.
“Our hope is that this exchange will be only a first step in a continuing and expanding partnership between the synod, Wartburg and the Roma College at the University of Debrecen,” said Pastor Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop. “The opportunities this collaboration makes possible are staggering.
She worked alongside Roma College students and had opportunities to engage in a network of social programs, such as a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, elderly care facility, women’s shelter, meal program and addiction center. She stayed in a Nyíregyháza College dormitory.
Follow Katie’s blog about her time in Hungary.
Pen Pals from HungaryThe Jubilee Conference (Cedar Falls-Waterloo area) of the Northeastern Iowa Synod has begun a pen pal relationship with fifth and sixth grade students from Szombatheyly, Hungary. The conference received 27 letters from the students, with assistance from Chelsea Paulsen who serves as a Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM) teaching English at the Lutheran school in Szombathely.
The students introduced themselves, told about their families, and shared about their interests, such as playing soccer, volleyball, and basketball, swimming, reading, biking, shopping, listening to music, camping, dancing, and playing musical instruments.
Watch for more updates as this pen pal connection continues to grow.
Join our Companion Synod Trip to Hungary and Eastern Europe
May 12-24, 2017
Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary
Rostered leaders and lay members of the Northeastern Iowa Synod are invited to join Dr. Kathryn Kleinhans of Wartburg College and Pastor Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop, on a trip to Hungary and Eastern Europe May 12-24, 2017.
This trip joins Kleinhans’ “Reformation Then and Now” May term class in Germany, then proceeds to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. It will be an opportunity to experience the ministry of our companion synod — the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary — and learn about the history of the church in Eastern Europe during the Reformation and during the Communist Party era.
Destinations in Germany include the concentration camp in Flossenburg where Dietrich Bonhoeffer was killed; Herrnhut, the original Moravian settlement and birthplace of the Daily Texts; and Dresden, site of the Frauenkirche (Lutheran) Church of Our Lady.
The tour will visit Prague, Czech Republic, where Jan Hus began a reformation of the church 100 years before Martin Luther, and an international Lutheran congregation in Bratislava, Slovakia.
In Hungary, the tour travels to Sarospatak, the traditional birthplace of Saint Elizabeth; Nyiregyhaza, site of the Lutheran Roma College; and Budapest, to meet with Lutheran bishop Tamas Fabiny.
Young Adults Serving in Hungary
We invite you to join the Northeastern Iowa Synod in sponsoring these Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) in the coming year.
Seven young adults will begin a year of service in Hungary in August 2016 as part of the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program. In addition, two young adults from the Northeastern Iowa Synod will begin serving in Madagascar.
Learn more about the 2016-2017 YAGM volunteers
Global Mission Links
- ELCA Global Mission
- Global Church Sponsorship
- Engage in Global Mission Congregational Resources
- Global Service Opportunities Global Events
- Global Links Newsletter Hand in Hand Newsletter & Blog
Refugee Crisis in Hungary
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is working with Lutheran companion churches, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (ELCH) and the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia, and with The Lutheran World Federation, to assist people seeking refuge in Europe now and to meet their future needs.
Lutheran Disaster Relief is working in partnership to provide food, diapers, blankets, water, health kits, hygiene kits and psychosocial services to assist those who have fled their homes.
Lutheran World Relief is shipping mission quilts, baby care kits and personal care kits to Serbia to distribute to refugees and migrants. LWR is supporting ACT Alliance members to provide humanitarian support, such as hygiene items, winter coats and blankets, emergency shelter and psychosocial support in Hungary, Serbia and Greece.
The bishop of the Lutheran church in Hungary, the Rev. Tamas Fabiny, has said that the ELCH is working to “promote a culture of mutual respect, inclusion and love” among refugees entering Budapest. Read Bishop Fabiny’s letter about Refugee Crisis in Hungary.
Response to the Migration Crisis
(PowerPoint Jan. 2015)
Learn more how you can support organizations responding to this this refugee crisis:
Northeastern Iowa Synod Trip to HungaryMay 2013
Members of the Northeastern Iowa Synod and Wartburg College visited Hungary in May 2013 as part of the Companion Synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hungary.
Ashley Debilzen, a Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM), writes about the Iowa group’s visit in her blog. The group met Ashley at the Children’s House in Gorogszallas where she works. Ashley accompanied the group to Nyiregyhaza where they visited the Roma College and met another YAGM, Kristen Wall. The visit to the Roma camp was a life-changing day for many in the group.