Transylvania Partner Church Committee

Transylvania Partner Church Committee

  • Sign up for events with our guests from Désfalva
  • Check back early and often as we update the table of activities for our partners’ visit in September!
  • The Partnership
  • Committee Mission and Goals
  • Past Events

The Partnership

Sign up here for events with guests from of our partner congregation in Désfalva, Transylvania, who will visit us September 13-23, 2013. Reverend Sándor Szentgyörgyi, minister in Désfalva and Dean of the Kis-Küküllő district, his wife Tünde Szentgyörgyi, the only schoolteacher in the village primary K-8 school, and prominent in the Unitarian church women’s movement, and their children “Sanyi” (Sándor Jr.), and “Tündike” (Tünde younger); László (“Laci”) Kiss, parish president of Désfalva congregation and his wife Aranka Kiss; János Kiss, master carver of the kopjafa pillar to be dedicated after the 11:00 service on Sunday, Sept 22; and Ms. Enikő Molnár, salesperson in the village shop and mother of two children.

Table of Activities for our Partners’ Visit

Check back early and often.  Anything in red is not yet confirmed and/or needs volunteers and participants!

The Partnership

The Transylvania Partner Church Education Fund was established in 2001 by the Rev. Dr. Victor Carpenter and the Rev. Sándor Szentgyörgyi, ministers of First Church and Désfalva, respectively, in order to provide financial support to benefit high school and university students of Désfalva who could otherwise not attend school. Because there is no high school in the village, students must commute to or live in distant towns to continue their education, usually not in their own language, and must pay out of pocket for books, travel, room and board. The Fund provides each student a $250 annual stipend to help defray these expenses, and we plan to support 10 students next year. Your gift of any size will help First Church continue its critical role in funding this important program. Click here for the donation form.

2010 Pilgrimage

You can read our blog, look at our photos, and view a video  from the 2010 trip.

The Partnership

In 1990 First Church joined the Partner Church movement and was partnered with the Unitarian Church of Désfalva. Désfalva is a tiny farming village in the middle of Transylvania.  About a third of Désfalva’s residents are Unitarian. There are also Calvinist Reformed and Eastern Orthodox churches in the village. The primary language of the village is Hungarian. Désfalva also has Roma (Gypsy) families. Whatever their profession, everyone in the village must farm to provide basic needs.  Rev. Ferenc Bálint Benczédi was the minister of Désfalva at the time our partnership was formed; Hans de Muinck Keizer established the partnership and nurtured it for many years.  Rev. Bálint Benczédi is now the Bishop and resides in Kolozsvár. Our Minister of Music Alfa Radford met him in Transylvania while on a choir tour in 1990, and the 2010 group had the honor of spending time with him both in Désfalva and in Kolozsvár.  Thus began and thus continue the pilgrimages between our two congregations.  We are excited and honored to host a group in Belmont this upcoming church year!  We continue to offer each other mutual support and love as we journey through life sharing our Unitarian heritage.

Here’s a link for Désfalva’s website.

Here’s a link to a nice interview with Rev. Sándor Szentgyörgyi on Hungarian TV.

Here’s a link to an interview with Rev. Sándor Szentgyörgyi about the nearby village of Harangláb on Hungarian TV.

Committee Mission and Goals

Our partner church program is a journey in relationship.  The Transylvania Partner Church Committee (PCC) seeks to serve as a bridge between the Désfalva Unitarian church community and the First Church community through outreach, social action, personal contacts, and the sharing of the joys and concerns of our two congregations.   We seek to:

  • Provide support and outreach to the church and village of Désfalva through scholarships, support of education programs, relief for the poor, and special projects
  • Maintain regular communication between the Désfalva and First Church congregations
  • Encourage and facilitate the formation of personal relationships between members of our two congregations
  • Enrich First Church worship services and community through Transylvanian and Hungarian readings, food, music, art, and traditions.

For more information, please contact partnerchurch@uubelmont.org