REVISITING TORDATUR IN 2015
-By Tom Toth, Member
After making the first Unitarian Pilgrimage to Hungary and Romania in 2014 with six other members from UUSD, Tom and Ceil Toth promised Rev. Piroska Bodor that they both would return in 2015 to renew friendships, get to know more people in the congregation, including the teenagers, and continue to plan for the future of our Partnership. They visited Tordatur from July 23 to July 29 of 2015.
Ceil and Tom arrived at the Kolozsvar Airport in Romania and were met and taken to Tordatur by Rev. Piroska and her husband Marton. Later in the day,the Hungarian folk dancing group arrived. Many of them are teenagers from the Tordatur congregation and are taught dance by Marton. After watching the group perform, there was a social with a "Thank You" cake (made by the dancers because UUSD had provided the group with some funds for a summer folk dancing camp).
Highlights of the visit included:
• Spending time with Rev. Piroska to discuss the Partnership.
• Attending a Hungarian Folk Dance Festival and seeing the Tordatur group perform superbly along with many other groups.
• Going to a salt mine thermal bath with Rev. Piroska; Marton; their children Orsi and Szilard; and Rev. Piroska and Marton's parents.
• Sharing a wonderful dinner at Andras and Gyongi's house. Afterward a group of teenagers arrived, some from the folk dancing group, and then a party began. Andras and Gyongyi's son was the DJ. Tom and Ceil brought Rock and Roll music from the 1950's and taught the group the jitterbug, the Twist, and other Rock and Roll dances. They all danced the night away until it was very late.
• Attending the Sunday Service at the Tordatur Unitarian Church. During the service, an infant boy was baptized. This was their first opportunity to witness a Unitarian baptism. After the service, they shook hands with the people outside the church. Just as in 2014, an elderly woman recited a poem about her mother meeting her at the gate. It was very emotional and the older ladies of the congregation cried.
• Being treated to pork gulyás and homemade pastry cooked over open fires at a fantastic social after the Service. Later, they were invited to a party for the boy who was baptized.
• Walking through the village at night with two young adults, Robert and Julia. Each of their families had hosted members of the congregation in 2014.
• Spending time with Rev. Piroska and Marton's parents and having breakfast and dinner with them.
• Visiting the Torda Museum, which houses many artifacts and a painting depicting the Edict of Torda. The minister of the Unitarian Church of Torda met them there and explained the history of the painting.
• Being invited that evening to Ferenc and Jolan's house for dessert. They have a Bed and Breakfast where Tom and Ceil stayed in 2014.
On their last evening at the parsonage, a group of teenagers came to talk and say goodbye. They thanked Tom and Ceil and were very appreciative of everything that UUSD has done for them and the rest of their congregation.
Hungary-Romania Pilgrimage: 2014
A total of 8 members participated in the Hungary-Romania Pilgrimage which began May 5, 2014. The UUSD pilgrims (Rev. Mike & Peggy Smith, Tom & Ceil Toth, Peter Schott, Jeffrey Davis, Lauren Mund, and Betty Metzler) returned from their Pilgrimage on May 23rd. Their experience was extraordinary! The Unitarian historical sites were amazing.
It was so exciting to be at the places where our religion began, took its roots, and flourished, many times under very trying circumstances. Our five day stay in Tordatur could be described as unforgettable. Members of the Tordatur Congregation were so hospitable, kind, generous, and loving to us unbelievable. Many thanks for a truly enriching experience go to Rev Piroska Bodor, her husband Marton, the host families and all the members of the Tordatur Congregation.
The eight people on the trip in conjunction with the Partnership Committee are held two special events: a dedication of gifts from Tordatur at a Sunday service and a public presentation to describe their experiences including food and refreshments, photos, commentary, and a question and answer period. Both events were held on Sunday, August 24. You may view the video here: UUSD Pilgrimage to Hungary & Romania.
Transylvania Partner Church
To support our ties with Transylvanian Unitarians, UUSD became a partner to a church in Tordatur, Romania. In sixteenth-century Transylvania (now Romania), Unitarian congregations were established for the first time in history. These churches continue to preach the Unitarian message. The UU Partner Church Council was formed because of concern about Transylvanian Unitarian churches in Romania needing assistance after the fall of communism. Since its establishment, more than 190 relationships have been formed between U.S. churches and congregations largely in Romania, India, and the Philippines.
Our Transylvania Partnership Committee is responsible for developing and implementing a program with our Tordatur Partner Church including having regular correspondence with the minister, sharing information about our services and life of our congregation, developing programs for possible visits, creating a dialogue to analyze the differences and similarities between us, and planning joint activities that can be held simultaneously in both congregations. Contact Tom Toth at 302-945-7930 to see how you can help.
Tordatur Church Minister, Rev. Piroska Bodor 2nd from left
Transylvania Church Visit
Rev. Piroska Bodor and her husband, Marton Csette visited us for five weeks during the summer of 2012. They arrived on August 2 and returned to Tordatur, Romania on September 7. They had a busy itinerary involving both church and local events. On August 5 after Sunday services, there was a Meet and Greet for them. Marton and Rev. Piroska demonstrated and taught us the Csardas, a Hungarian national folk dance.
Rev. Bodor presented Rev. Smith and the congregation with a beautiful carving depicting the seal of the Unitarian Church in Transylvania and UUSD’s Flaming Chalice. While here, they attended some of our services, committee meetings, a Board of Trustees meeting, and a Covenant group meeting. Rev. Mike and Peggy also had a dinner for them. On Sunday, August 26,Rev. Mike and Rev. did a combined service with Rev. Bodor giving the sermon.
Time at the beach for relaxation was also on their schedule. A day was spent in Washington, D.C., several days in the Pocono Mountains, and a day in Manhattan. They also were invited to a Scandinavian dinner, a boat ride on the Indian River and Bay, UUSD’s annual picnic on August 26, and an evening of playing bocce ball.
Rev. Bodor and Marton received a tour of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. On August 7, they were honored with a meeting with Lewes Mayor Jim Ford and members of the City government. They received an honorary Lewes certificate of citizenship, the City of Lewes flag, and several fun Lewes souvenirs. Mayor Ford was very hospitable and enjoyed giving a tour of City Hall and the Police Department. Coverage by the Cape Gazette culminated with a wonderful article in the August 17–August 20 edition.
Photo by Henry J. Evans Jr. Courtesy of the Cape Gazette