Social Ministries ofThe Reformed Church in Hungary „… Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you. When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side… Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Introduction • Prison Ministry • Gypsy and Roma Ministry • Homeless Ministry • Ministry of Marriage and Family Counselling • Ministry to Alcoholics • Hospital Ministry • Refugee Mission • Airport Chaplaincy • Mission to the Hearing Impaired • Crisis Hotline • Ministry to the Visually Impaired • Leprosy Mission
1. Our mission is to preach the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life according to Jesus Christ’s command. The ministries listed above act as the extended arms of our Church, offering an eternal treasure to everyone. This treasure is a relationship with the living God who is close to everyone. The love of God can be found in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. His forgiveness is offered to everybody, it gives hope to all. 2. Through our personal lives we confess the power of the Holy Trinity, who never despised or rejected us. Only God has the power to give one a new chance at life. As the followers of Jesus Christ, we want to go where He went: visiting the imprisoned, the sick and the downtrodden. Human effort is not enough to bring about such change; therefore we confess God’s Almighty power, which is able to transform society with renewed lives. 3. It is not enough to get to know Jesus Christ; the mission work can only be done in full communion with Him. We confess with the words of D. Bonhoeffer: “The Church must be a part of human community, not commanding but helping, serving it. Life with Christ, living for others must be proclaimed to everyone, regardless of rank or social order”.
It is the RMC’s mission to preach the resurrected, living and active Christ, to help, to heal, and to be present wherever He leads us, and to depend on Him in everything. The aim of this booklet is to introduce our ministries, their work and to provide those interested with contact information. We hope, that pastors, their supporters, those who need help or their family members will receive useful information. We are prepared to go anywhere if we are called to introduce our work and our plans. We are also ready to help with starting any kind of ministry service in congregations. At the same time we also ask for your prayer support, involvement in our work through volunteerism and donations if the Lord so leads. May 2007. Budapest Rev. Erzsébet Magyarné Balogh director
Reformed Mission Centre The Reformed Mission Centre is temporarily functioning at Reformed Synod Office, Budapest 1146, Abonyi street 21 until the renovation of the Reformed Mission Office building at Alagi square is finished. The centre coordinates the work of all the ministries. It assists the various ministries by offering professional and material support. It also helps them to participate successfully in writing grants and providing human resource support. The Centre also represents the ministries to bodies within and outside of the church. We invite you to approach the Centre if you have any questions, concerning any of the ministries. If you are led to donate to the Centre or to any of the specific ministries, you may send your contribution to RMC’s bank account number listed above or through the attached postal check. If you wish to donate to a certain ministry, please ear mark the name of the ministry on the check. Bank account number: Inter-Európa Bank Rt.: 11100104-18188404-36000001
The Reformed Church’s prison ministry is focused on the proclamation of God’s love through Jesus Christ. This is a very important fact to be recognised by all the prisoners. The ministry’s work is two-fold: to proclaim the freedom of Jesus Christ offered through repentance and God’s forgiveness offering spiritual support to those incarcerated and to offer support to those ex-prisoners re-entering society. One of the ways in which the latter is achieved is through organizing family weeks for prisoners. This is composed of one week where prisoners can attend a retreat with their families. This has proven to be a very important element in helping inmates reenter society after having served their sentence. Another aim of the ministry is that members of the church would not forget about those who live their lives in prison. A long term goal of this ministry is to establish a half-way house for those inmates who have no family to return to once released. The prison ministry operates throughout the country.
This ministry is focused on the proclamation of God’s love through Jesus Christ, which is very important to be recognised by all the Gypsy and Roma people. The ministry wishes to emphasise the importance of the biblical and the confessional teachings of the Reformed Church. It is committed to act according to Jesus Christ’s command to destroy the walls of prejudice and to feel responsibility for all the Gypsy and Roma people recognizing them all as God’s children. Summer camps and Religious education is an important part of the ministry which also reaches parents and the families through the children and youth. This ministry tries to help the Gypsy and Roma population in providing counselling regarding life questions, healthcare education and crime prevention. In the Reformed Church district of Tiszántúl and Tiszáninnen independent roma missionaries are serving the local population. One of our goals is to inspire more pastors and congregation members to serve actively in mission among Roma people for the glory of God. Another aim of the ministry is to help members of the church accept and make a place for Roma people in church and congregational life.
The Homless Ministry is focused on the proclamation of God’s love through Jesus Christ. This is an important truth to be recognised by all the homeless people. The aim of the ministry is that the members of the church would not forget about the homeless people. The goal of the ministry is that those who live without a functional family and without the community of a congregation would experience the power of the healing love that can be found in Christian community. The ministry does not aim to convert the non-Reformed homeless, but uses the importance of the Biblical and the Confessional teachings of the Reformed Church as the framework for its activity. It is committed to help homeless people find a congregation to belong to and help them by nurturing their faith. Regular events include Bible studies, worship and outreach events. The ministry works in Budapest but our goal is to establish centres for the homeless and expand services to the homeless -based on Christian principles - in more cities of the country.
Disaster in the family, children with behaviour problems, conflicts between family members, living with a disabled child; these are examples of crisis situations. The task of the Marriage and Family Counselling Ministry is to give a pastoral and psychological help to the victims of these kinds of crisis situations. The ministry’s service is focussed primarily on pastoral care and crisis-intervention. However, it also attempts to help individuals return to congregations where they can enjoy the support of a full community. The director and the co-workers of the ministry are always ready for dialogue and consultation in cooperation with pastors and other experts. At the same time the ministry staff are also ready to meet and share the work of the ministry with congregations, cultural centres and schools through professional presentations, (for couples and families) communication trainings in order to raise awareness of the availability of such a service.
Our goal is to transmit the message of John 8:36 to people suffering from addiction and especially those who are alcohol dependent: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We offer treatment through Blue Cross Ministry in the city of Dömös. We hold alcohol-prevention presentations in among children and teenagers schools. The new lives of those recovered from an addiction are the witnesses of the Father and Son and Spirit who works with power and authority. Aftercare groups offer community and a sense of belonging to those who recently entered recovery. They also encourage recovering addicts to belong to a church. Our goal is to introduce alcoholics to the blessing and need to depend on the living and active God instead of depending on alcohol or any other substances. We are happy to share our testimony in congregations.
Our mission is to comfort and encourage those who are in the midst of the trial of disease, are suffering and are in a desperate situation, through visitation and offering pastoral care. We pray for them and with them to experience the presence and guidance of the merciful God. Hospital chaplains, congregation members and hospital staff do this work and it is essential to have the prayer support of the congregations. Not only the poor but the sick will also be always with us. Illness is something that can touch us at any time and on that day the words “I was sick and you visited me” will be understood in an entirely different way. This encouraging service is left up to us; to incite our natural family and our congregational family as well to visit the sick and pray for them and this ministry.
The service is focused on the proclamation of God’s love through Jesus Christ, which is and important fact to be recognised by all refugees. The goal of the ministry is to transmit God’s love to those refugees; individuals and families, who live in refugee camps and have been forced to leave their countries because of their Christian faith through pastoral care. The ministry does not aim to convert the non-Christian but it Biblical and the Confessional teachings of the Reformed Church serve as the basis of the work of the Refugee Ministry. Those serving with this ministry are committed to give refugees the experience of a community, to help them in learning Hungarian and integrate into Hungarian society. When appropriate, the spiritual needs of the refugees are also met by distributing Bibles and Christian tracts to encourage them in their faith. The Scott Mission of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland located in Budapest provides them with a place of English language worship and Christian fellowship.
Before taking a flight, many of us can be nervous, depressed and afraid. In their feelings of desperation and defencelessness, passengers need to be assured of the presence of God, regardless their denomination. There is a serious need for some at this time for pastoral care and a sense of being listened to. This arises from our most basic human needs. Worship services at the airport are ecumenical and are run by the four main-line churches in Hungary. There are regular service hours and worship services in the ecumenical chapel at Budapest Airport - Ferihegy II. The dates of the worship services are noted in the calendar of the ecumenical chapel. There is one pastor from the Reformed Church in Hungary who ministers at Ferihegy.
This ministry is focused on the proclamation of God’s love through Jesus Christ, which is very important to be recognised by all the deaf people. The ministry does not aim to convert the non-Christian hearing impaired person but it uses the Biblical and the Confessional teachings of the Reformed Church as the theological basis for its ministry. The Ministry to the Hearing Impaired is committed to helping deaf people and hearing impaired people to find congregations to belong to and also provides them with spiritual support so that they could practice their faith. Bible studies and community events are held in several cities of the country. Religion classes for the deaf and hearing impaired are offered in the Institutes for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired. To serve the children and youth, the ministry organizes summer camps and after school events as a means of reaching this young people with the Gospel. The ministry is also willing to visit congregations to introduce its work.
Crisis Hotline Psychological problems and diseases and suicide attempts appear to be more prevalent in modern societies. Hungary, and especially Budapest leads the statistics on the world suicide list. The emerging numbers of these cases raised awareness among a number of existing organizations to help those in need by preventing suicide and helping them to find a way out of their crises. The Telephone Pastoral Care is a preventative service and it volunteers in suicide prevention, crisis-intervention and in the provision of psychological counselling. Its goal is to prevent critical situations from escalating and to help people to find solutions. Flyers and placards are made available to congregations to inform everyone of how receive help.
The service is focused on the proclamation of God’s love through Jesus Christ, which is a very important fact to be recognised by all visually impaired people. The ministry does not aim to convert the non-Christian, but its work is based on an understanding of the importance of the Biblical and Confessional teachings of the Reformed Church. It is committed to help blind and visually impaired people in finding congregations to belong to, and also disseminating among them Christian literature in Braille providing them with additional spiritual support. In several cities of the country Bible studies and community events are organized. Lectures on Bible study, worship and evening devotions are held regularly. For detailed information write to the address listed above.
The Leprosy Ministry has been serving on an ecumenical level since 1974 and since 2002 it has been a member of the International Leprosy Ministry. It cooperates with local protestant ministries. The Reformed Church in Hungary, The Hungarian Evangelical Church and The Hungarian Baptist Church send delegates to the decision-making council of the National Committee. The ministry operates according to Jesus’ words: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10:8). The goal of the ministry to heal the lepers all over the world (the estimated number is 6 million especially in India), the rehabilitation of the healed, to educate them and their families, to teach them professions, to find them jobs and homes. This ministry is supported by Christian denominations in Hungary. The way to support its work is to collect donations of hand knitted wound-dressings /bandages / and blankets. The co-workers of the ministry are pleased to show illustrated presentations on the service of the Leprosy Ministry in congregations or at other events.