The Hungarian Baptist community had a grand gathering on August 15th, 2021 in Tahi, Hungary in order to praise God and to meet with each other on the occasion of the induction of the new Leadership Team of the Union. A large number of arriving participants were welcomed by hymns played by the brass band, by Christian literature on offer at the bookstall and by Christian greetings.
The service started at 10 in the morning with Mission Director István Durkó welcoming the participants and praying God’s blessing on the gathering.
Baptists came to the Carpathian Basin first at the time of the Reformation, but waves of religious persecution have chased away our forefathers into far countries for good by the end of the 1700-s. Baptists came again into this region in 1846. Three brothers dressed in costume characteristic of that era – Péter Barbarics, Balázs Mikes and Zsolt Paróczi – demonstrated this start of the Baptist Mission which took place in the area of the Austrian Monarchy of the time 175 years ago, on the initiative of Oncken. The three original missionaries - János Rottmayer, János Vojka and József Marschall – came to life again for us in a sense to impress upon us their commitment to the mission and thus to encourage us to follow their example. The same call was made to us by János Papp stepping into the role of Oncken. Prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings of these 175 years were offered up by Bálint Dóczé from Slovakia, Zoltán Nyúl from Serbia and by János Papp on behalf of Baptists from Hungary.
The festive sermon was given by Dr István Gergely, President of the Hungarian Baptist World Alliance. He reminded us that the Hungarian Baptist Mission had a powerful ministry right from the start, has always found the way to people’s hearts and never left those in need within society without help. If the Christian community joins hands joyfully, it can move mountains.
The Baptist Union of Hungary held its General Assembly on June 5th, 2021. On that occasion, the members of new Leadership Team of the Union were elected for a four-year term of office. They were inducted into their office at the present service held in Tahi. Gyula Háló, President of the Electoral Committee inducted János Papp into the office of President and László Ottó Varga into the office of General Secretary of the Union. The two were then prayed for by former President Kálmán Mészáros and former General Secretary Kornél Mészáros respectively. Following this, the other elected officials of the Union were also introduced and inducted into their respective offices: Barnabás Balogh and Sándor Bödő members of the Supervisory Board; István Durkó Mission Director; Norbert Simon Finance Director; Péter Kiss Director of Operations; Zsolt Paróczi, Gyula Háló, Lajos Téglási and György Opauszki Heads of the Departments for Education, Communication and Culture, External Affairs and Social Ministry respectively. Péter Barbarics, Secretary of the Election Committee prayed for them.
In their inauguratory addresses, both President János Papp and General Secretary László Ottó Varga stressed the importance of fellowship and Christ-like functioning within the Christian community. The inducted leaders were then greeted by dr. Vilmos Fischl, General Secretary of the Ecumenical Council of Hungarian Churches, by István Kecser, General Secretary of the Hungarian Pentecostal Church, dr. Tibor Fedor, Director of the State Secretariat of the Prime Minister’s Office Responsible for the Relationship with Churches and Nationalities, and by Szabolcs Papp, member of the National Council and Vice President of the Budapest Baptist Mission District.
Letters expressing good wishes were received and read out from József Steinbach, Bishop of the Transdanubian Diocese of the Reformed Church and from Dr Tamás Fabiny, Presiding Bishop of the Hungarian Lutheran Church.
Csaba Nagy, leader of the Hungarian Baptists in Transcarpathia, Ukraine and Lajos Téglási, Head of the External Affairs Department prayed for the newly inducted leaders and the entire community of Hungarian Baptists.
Congregational singing was led by the worship team and musicians of the Budafok Baptist Church conducted by Júlia Szilágyi.
The festive service was concluded by the entire congregation singing the Hungarian National Anthem.
Following lunch, those interested could gather information at a round table discussion by leaders of the Hungarian Baptist World Alliance, while at a parallel talk information was shared about the foreign mission activities of the Baptist Union of Hungary. Additionally, the Biblical Family Theme Park entertained the children with numerous different games. Baptist family reunions, spiritual conversations and times of prayer were also enjoyed by many during the afternoon.
May the blessing of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit accompany the new Leadership team in their ministry, so that all they do may be fruitful!
(Budapest, Hungary) Hungarian Baptist Press Service - Lajos Téglási, Head of External Affairs Department