Moderator celebrates Church's Hungarian connection

Moderator-Hungary
Rt Rev John Chalmers (right) met with the newly elected Presidium of the Reformed Church in Hungary to sign a Memorandum of Commitment between the Church of Scotland and the Reformed Church in Hungary

The Moderator of the General Assembly yesterday celebrated a special relationship between Scotland's national church and Hungary which has lasted for centuries.

Rt Rev John Chalmers was in Budapest meeting with church leaders and former scholars, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in the Reformed Church in Hungary.

In a speech to mark the 150th anniversary of a bursary scheme for Hungarian students of theology, who were able to study at Scottish Universities, Mr Chalmers said: "I pray that you have enjoyed the good things of our religious culture and values. We can be generous, caring and warm; we know how to be enthusiastic, committed and gracious. These are the things of our life in the Lord Jesus Christ that I hope you have absorbed into your culture and into your Church.

"In 1863 the aim in starting a bursary programme was to further develop the aims and ideals being promoted through the Scottish Mission in Budapest: to strengthen links between the historic Reformed Churches in Scotland and Hungary, to enrich educational opportunities for leaders of the Hungarian Reformed Church, and to promote evangelistic work on the part of the Hungarian Reformed Church. Over the years we have seen that aim come to fruition in so many ways and so many lives."

The 86th Moderator of the modern era also met with the newly elected Presidium of the Reformed Church in Hungary to sign a Memorandum of Commitment between the Church of Scotland and the Reformed Church in Hungary.

Christians in Hungary and Scotland can trace their connections over many centuries. With both countries embracing the Calvinist Reformation.Committed to its principles, relationships developed and blossomed as people in both countries sought to be faithful to Christ in following a new spiritual path.

The Church of Scotland and the Reformed Church in Hungary have links going back to the early days of the Reformation. Since 1841, with the arrival of the first missionaries, a special relationship developed between the two churches, manifested in the Scottish Mission in Budapest, an outreach of love, which celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2016.

Mr Chalmers also visited Hungary last November, when he was a guest of the Reformed Church in Hungary. He wrote a passionate account of the visit on his return to Scotland which you can read on the Church of Scotland website.