The Eco-Congregation Movement (ECM) of the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH) held its annual general council on 24th November 2017 in Budapest. Beside electing a new chair, structural changes were adopted, including a close cooperation with the Károli Gárspár Reformed University.
Presiding Bishop István Szabó also participated in the meeting, and after his opening prayer, he offered a new framework for ECM. He presented the new positive financial facilities and structures of Károli Gáspár Reformed University of RCH based on the new comprehensive agreement between Hungarian Government and RCH subscribed on 5th October.
The care for creation program would be integrated into the Institute of Church and Society as an organizational unit of the University. This will open new possibilities for researching, organizing conferences, publishing and teaching. Also the financial and administrative support will be covered within the university’s infrastructure. The aim of the integration is to strengthen the link between the church university and the congregations, and to extend the activity of the university to the field of natural sciences and ecology. The delegates welcomed the new plan, emphasizing the continuing importance of networking and the inclusion of volunteers that should be maintained in the future, even after the proposed structural changes.
The State-Church Agreement states regarding to public service activities that the Government acknowledges that in addition to its faith-related duties, the Reformed Church also takes part in the performance of activities for public benefit, in view of which the Church is awarded special rights, including the foundation, maintenance and operation of nursery schools of public and higher education, and institutions that are involved in charity, inclusion, diaconal, social, healthcare, family, child and youth protection, sports and environmental protection activities.
Eco-congregation Officer Boglárka Szűcs together with the leadership of the church expressed their acknowledgement for the wonderful work of the eco-congregations and members of the Council in the last three years. The delegates renewed the operative council that includes two new members: Erika Tóth, and Márton Mihucz. Three former members withdrew from the council: Rev Eszter Karsay, Rev Dr Ágnes Fekete and Anna Varga. Seven more members were confirmed in their position: Dr Borbála Gálos, Katalin Fördős, Géza Gyimóthy, Rev Áron Kocsis, Rev László Szalay, Dr András Victor and Rev Dr Tamás Kodácsy. Former chair, Tamás Kodácsy has unanimously been elected again as a chair of ECM and authorized to begin the negotiation of integration with Károli University where he worked as university chaplain between 2004–2014.
The Eco-Congregation Movement of RCH was established on January 4th 2012 by the framework of ECEN Twinning Program together with Church of Scotland. The aim of ECM is to raise awareness in Reformed congregations for environment protection.
Read reports and articles about the Eco-congragtion Movement and its activities here.
Text: Ecumenical Office of the Reformed Church in Hungary