Nestled in the beautiful Homorod Valley of the Transylvanian region of Romania lies the small village of Homoródújfalu. Here, about 100 families, primarily Unitarian and ethnically Hungarian, form a close knit agricultural community. Each household owns sheep and cows that pasture in the hills surrounding the village during the day, and return in the evening. Kitchen gardens abound and the village is surrounded by corn fields. While some villagers have found work in nearby cities, many of the young adults have left the village, and the elders remain to work the ancestral land for their livelihood.
UU Organizations working around the world to promote sustainable development:
NEWS FLASH – Another retirement! Anne Greenwood is stepping down as co-chair of the Transylvanian Partner Church committee after more than 13 years, and 23 years of involvement. Now is the time to revitalize this long-standing relationship, and co-chair Stephanie Ann Blythe has said she will lead the charge! In the words of Josh Searle-White, now is the time for us to ask ourselves “What is Needed?” What relationships do we want and how do we nurture them among and between ourselves and our co-religionists?
We have a long, successful relationship with the village of Homoródúfalu in the Transylvanian region of Romania. These ethnic Hungarian Unitarians have been buoyed up by our visits, our interest in them, and our support of their young people in gaining an education. But what have we gained? After seven visits to that village and many cards, letters, Facebook exchanges, and more I have international friends, women and men, who know my name and greet me with hugs. I have watched their children grow up and become translators for us while pursuing new careers and leading the way into the age of technology. I have a deeper understanding of the underpinnings of my faith and an appreciation of the perseverance and dedication of these wonderful people to their culture, their church, and their faith. It has been a great joy and one of the most meaningful engagements of my life as a member of this congregation.
In December we sent a donation to Homoródújfalu for the 21 students who are benefitting from our Village Education Fund. We were only able to send about 25% of what we have raised in the past! Your new ideas and interest are solicited on how to best support our partners. Contact with Anne Greenwood or Stephanie Ann Blythe for more information.
NEWS FLASH – Speak out against the gold mining crisis! You can find information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Romanian_protests_against_the_Roşia_Montană_Project concerning the exploitation and destruction of Roşia Montană’s rich cultural heritage and history by gold mining multi-national corporations. Watch this video, produced by the Unitarian Church in Transylvania—many Balázs scholars we have met are shown in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B_GZOtAFS8
Come to Coffee & Conversation with our Balázs Scholar, Rev. Karoly Vass
Saturday, Feb 22, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. Hosted by Thad and Lucy Smith,
This sociable fundraiser will provide ample time for lively discussion on all things Transylvanian. From religious history to the current mining crisis in Romania, share your questions and get better acquainted with this remarkable Unitarian minister.
Thad's home is wheelchair accessible and conveniently located near Central and San Pablo Ave. A $20 donation is suggested. RSVP to Anne Greenwood.
Thanks to all who signed our Super Card to send holiday greetings to Homoródújfalu.
And if you are thinking of gift-giving please consider making a gift to our Village Education Fund. We try to support 21 young people with a $400/year gift! Because there is no local high school or university, they must travel and board away from home. (Checks payable to UUCB, Village Ed Fund, any amount welcome.) There are a few remaining pieces of Village handmade embroidery for sale at our table and all proceeds benefit our Partners.
Looking for a trip to take next summer? Consider a Partner Church Council Travel service trips in April or September 2014. Besides visiting our village, you get to see historical sites in Transylvania. More information at www.uupcc.org. Click on “Pilgrimages.”
Celebrating 23 years of Partnership – Transylvanian Thanksgiving is September 29, 2013
As I write this, Jean Gleason and Larry Nagel are heading home from a whirlwind visit to our Partner Village Homoródújfalu in Transylvania. We hope to have news about the work being done on the restoration of the church floor and pews, both of which have suffered from a recurrence of a very invasive fungus that destroys the wood. We thank all of you who have and who will have contributed financially. I say 'will have' because the non-pledge offering on September 29th is dedicated to our village and our scholarship fund. We have not been able to fully fund our promise of $400 per student per year (21 students this year!) so any financial support we can muster is still being sought. I hope all who are interested in our Transylvanian connection have been able to come to the 29th event after the 11:00 a.m., and do stop by our table in the Social Hall for more information. Contributions should be earmarked "Partner Church." THANK YOU!
Anne Greenwood and Stephanie Ann Blythe
Co-Chairs, Partner Church Committee
Rev. Károly Vass: Biography
Balázs Scholars Program — Starr King School for the Ministry
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley is acting as the host congregation for this year's Balázs scholar, the Reverend Károly Vass, and his family. He is the nineteenth Transylvanian Unitarian minister in recent years to study at Starr King School for the Ministry. Rev. Vass joins a long line of Balázs scholars, Transylvanian Unitarian ministers who are committed to not only improving the lives of their fellow congregants in their homeland, but also to sharing with North American Unitarian Universalists the breadth and depth of their passion and caring for their homeland and for our common faith tradition.
Rev. Károly Vass finished his initial theological studies in 2010, and has been serving as assistant minister in his home congregation in Sepsiszentgyörgy while completing a master’s degree in theology. Before committing to ministry, he studied economics at Babes Bolyai University. “I am,” he says, “particularly interested in social ethics, but also in how Unitarian Universalist churches are organized, how religion is reflected in your daily lives, and how you welcome newcomers and share your values with them.” Rev.Vass is joined this year by his wife Gyöngyi, a former teacher in the Unitarian kindergarten in Kolozsvár who runs the Sunday School program in Sepsiszentgyörgy, and their two children, a girl, Veronika, who will be two in October and a boy, Benedek, three years old.
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