New Gate Marks 450th Anniversary
Inspired by the anniversary, our partner church in Szekelyzentmihaly completed a beautiful new gate welcoming people visiting the church. This style of gate is seen everywhere in the Szekely region of Transylvania and is a beautiful art form. There are dozens of gates at residences in our village, each with unique carvings.
An Update from Tamás & Kinga
January 2017: Tamás & Kinga sent a long letter about events in Szekelyszentmihaly. Highlights include:
- Tamás and Kinga will welcome a new baby in September.
- In November, the bishop will visit; an event that only happens every 35-40 years. This is a huge event!
- There will be a ceremonial inauguration for Tamás.
- One-quarter of the church was re-roofed before Christmas.
UUCM Welcomes Partner Church Minister and Family
May 2016: Reverend Tamás Tófalvi visited UUCM from our Partner Church in Szekelyszentmihaly, Transylvania. He was accompanied by his wife Kinga, who is an English teacher, and their 8-month old daughter. Connect to their Facebook site, and read more about Rev. Tamás Tófalvi and his family.
During their 3-week stay in Milford, NH, the Tófalvis attended numerous church and local activities and visiting Boston, New York City, and the Maine coast. See photos from their visit.
Partner Church’s New Minister
August 2014: The enthusiastic new English-speaking minister, Tamás Tófalvi, is bringing new energy into Székelyszentmihály parish. His many diverse projects are increasing the involvement of people in church and parish activities. Read Rev. Tófalvi’s letter.
History of UUCM’s Partner Church Program
The UU Partner Church Council was formed in 1990 to help foster a cultural, spiritual, and economic bond between American congregations and partner churches in Transylvania. That year UUCM formed a partnership with the Unitarian church in the town of Székelyszentmihály in the Transylvania area of Romania. (See village profile.)
Because they are ethnically Hungarian, they have spent the last hundred years as a minority in Romania. Click here to watch a brief overview of the geopolitical history of the region.
The UUCM Partner Church Committee was formed:
- Fundraise to support college students from our partner church.
- Undertake or support infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life for the town.
- Hold social events with Hungarian foods, music, and videos from Székelyszentmihály to create a cultural bond for UUCM members.
- Coordinate pen pals between the children of our congregation and theirs.
- Support any travelers from our congregation who make the trek to Székelyszentmihály.
Members of our congregation have visited our partner church on five different occasions, most recently in the summer of 2004. The travelers included three teenagers from our congregation, who met and stayed with their pen pals’ family while in the village. On an ongoing basis, we communicate throughout the year with our partner church.
Past assistance to our partner church has included the following.
- Financial support for a large-scale multi-year project to bring a gas pipeline to the village, providing heat to public buildings. Because gas was available, a Dutch company built a small commercial building and began manufacturing automobile airbags, bringing new jobs to the village in 2006.
- On an early trip, visitors noticed that the gym floor had holes in it and was weathered. A repair project was completed with materials paid for by UUCM and volunteer labor from the village.
- Immediate financial aid sent to families who suffered the loss of buildings, crops, and livestock during flash flooding in August, 2005. Székelyszentmihály was one of 14 villages devastated by a flash flood.
- The UUA Partner Church Committee completed a Community Capacity Building study to help residents prioritize town wide building projects.