United Methodists have been in Debrecen, the second-largest city in Hungary, for nearly 50 years, but the church council only recently bought a house for the emerging congregation.
Some United Methodists lived in Debrecen during communism, but they were not organized as a congregation. For decades, pastors from Nyíregyháza or Szolnok ensured Debrecen United Methodists had a connection to the whole church, visiting members and friends there.
In 2008, Superintendent László Khaled, then a theology student, attempted to found a small house group.
The group grew steadily and after a little more than a decade — in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown — the church council was able to buy a house for the congregation in Debrecen. The building needs renovation, but has a good location that is close to the big city bus station and easy to find and reach.
Zoltánné Gulyás, a United Methodist there, said the building will soon become a place for baptisms, weddings, confirmations, meetings and possibly a children’s camp this summer.
“What does this building mean for us? A place for meeting with God, for teaching and prayer. A multitude of positive experiences. Peace, rest, love, joy and happiness. All because I feel at home at the house of God,” Gulyás said.
The first service in the new building was held at Pentecost 2020, after the first COVID-19 wave had died down and worship services were allowed again. The church also organized the first vacation Bible school in summer 2020, with almost 30 children.
"It is a fundamental priority for us as the United Methodist Church in Hungary to be in a discipleship process rooted in the mission of Jesus Christ," Khaled said.
He said this discipleship process is not limited to existing areas of work, but also includes the establishment of new faith groups and churches, including the one in Debrecen.
Schweizer is assistant to Bishop Patrick Streiff, who leads the Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area. News media contact: Vicki Brown at 615-742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.