But these days, the Rev. Patrick Hipp is building a congregation in the town. And one day, with God’s help, there will be 33 United Methodists in Dolný Kubín.
Dolný Kubín is a two-hour drive from Senec, where Hipp was minister to a new congregation. Through his work in Senec, he made contact with people from Dolný Kubín.
Hipp said he looked out the window one day in Senec and saw a mother with children on the playground.
“I thought: We need such families to come to our congregation. And when I asked myself why we didn’t have such families, it became clear to me that someone should talk to this woman about God’s love,” he said.
He asked his wife, Zuzana, to go to the playground and talk to the woman. His wife asked: “Why me?”
“You are a woman, after all. Please go to her and speak to her as one woman to another,” he said.
Zuzana Hipp talked to the woman in the park about God’s love, invited her to come to the church – and she actually came. Together the two women read the Bible, prayed, exchanged experiences and learned.
The woman’s husband wasn’t happy about her involvement in the church, but she remained faithful and eventually found the courage to invite her husband to come to the church himself, Hipp said. He said the husband came and to everyone’s surprise, he liked what he experienced and eventually started off on the path of believing.
This couple often had people from Dolný Kubín visiting them and they began to talk about their belief in God to their visitors, Hipp said. The visitors came to the church service and were touched by it.
It almost became a rule: Whenever visitors from Dolný Kubín were in Senec, they were taken along to the service. Eventually two people from Dolný Kubín were baptized — to the great joy of everyone, including their families, Hipp said.
But there was no United Methodist church in Dolný Kubín, so Patrik and Zuzana Hipp were frequently invited to come and start church activities there.
They were hesitant, because of the distance. The question “Why me?” also cropped up again somewhere. “But in a moment of weakness, we promised to pray about it and to come and visit them some time,” Patrick Hipp said.
After more than one visit and an encouraging response, the Hipps made a decision.
“If it is God’s will, we will go to Dolný Kubín twice a month in future,” Patrick Hipp said.
Since 2017, regular services have been held there.
The congregation and the Hipps were on the lookout for new possibilities for growth and decided to put their musical talents to work. They developed a program focusing on music.
There are currently 10 to 15 persons attending the church service on Sundays, but there are 17 to 22 young people between 12 and 18 years old who meet to make music and sing together, Patrick Hipp said. And when they meet, they hear something about what God says about their quite practical and current questions of life through the Bible, he added.
Patrik and Zuzana Hipp said they know the question “Why me?” But they also said they heard God’s counter-question: “Why not you?”
Schweizer is assistant to the bishop for the Central and Southern Europe Episcopal Area in Zurich.
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