Foothills Unitarian Church has had a partner Unitarian church in Transylvania since 1990, starting right after the overthrow of the communist government of Nicolae Ceaușescu. From the beginning we have worked to support this small congregation in Bethlenszentmiklos as they struggle to maintain their church and culture in the face of the Romanian government’s support of the Serbian Orthodox church as the “official” religion of the country.
Annamaria Bodoczi, a member of our partner church’s congregation, will be with us from September 23 to October 6th. She will help us celebrate this 25 year relationship. She will be the chalice lighter on September 27th, and she will attend the service on October 4th. Stop by the Partner Church Committee’s table in the Social Hall to talk with her.
Annamaria has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Babes-Bolyai University in Koloszvar, and she works as the press attaché for the Hungarian Democratic Party’s members of the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest.
Since 2005 the major activity of the Partner Church Committee has been to raise money for the scholarship program so that the young people from the village can afford to attend a Unitarian high school in Kolozsvar or a Protestant high school in Aiud. If they had to attend a government high school, the only religious education classes would be about the Serbian Orthodox religion. Also there would be no classes taught in Hungarian.
In the 10 years of this program, we have raised nearly $30,000. But the need continues. There are usually about 15 young people and their families who are helped by this program each year.
The other activity of the Partner Church Committee is to organize trips to Transylvania through the UU Partner Church Council. We are planning another one for May of 2016. Stop by the table in the social hall to learn more.