International Anglican - Lutheran Conference in Hungary

Left to right: Dr Virgil László (ELCH), Canon Dick Lewis (ALS Secretary), Rev. Mária Szücs (ELCH), Rev. Helen Harding (Anglican) and Rev. György Aradi (ELCH) at the conference in Révfülöp. Photo: ELCH
Left to right: Dr Virgil László (ELCH), Canon Dick Lewis (ALS Secretary), Rev. Mária Szücs (ELCH), Rev. Helen Harding (Anglican) and Rev. György Aradi (ELCH) at the conference in Révfülöp. Photo: ELCH

By Dr Virgil László

The conference of the Anglican-Lutheran Society (ALS) took place between 12-16 September in Révfülöp, Hungary, with the title “‘Fear Not, Little Flock’: The Vocation of Minority Churches Today.” The Anglican-Lutheran Society was formed in 1984 with the aim to provide meeting opportunities of the two denominations and to promote Christian unity.   

About sixty participants from all over the world were listening to the lectures. On the first day Prof. Dr Tibor Fabiny briefly introduced the history of Hungary and of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary (ELCH).

The sessions of the conference usually had two lecturers: an Anglican and a Lutheran one. The first session’s theme was “Divided Communities”, and considered the role of minority churches in situations where there are competing spheres of cultural, linguistic and national loyalty.  The lecturers were Praxedis Bouwman, president of the Communication Committee of Lutheran Minority Churches in Europe (KALME), and the Most Revd. Michael Jackson, Anglican Archbishop of Dublin.

The second session dealt with the issue of diakonia by Annamária Buda, head of the Department of Diakonia at the ELCH Central Office and Madeleine Holmes, Environmental Officer for the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe.

The third session revolved around “Involving the Laity” by the Rev. Dr Roy Long and Canon Dr Robin Greenwood. The fourth session also had two presentations on “Ecumenism” by Dr Christiane Groeben, the lay President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy and the Right Rev. Jorge Pina Cabral, Bishop of the Lusitanian Church, a member Church of the Anglican Communion serving the people of Portugal.

The last session’s presentation was delivered by the Rev. Anne Burghardt, Secretary for Ecumenical Relations in the Department for Theology and Public Witness at The Lutheran World Federation. She spoke about “Lutheran Spirituality in Central Eastern Europe”. Beside the lectures, the participants split up for small group discussions and in the end a panel discussion summarized the results.

Regular morning and evening prayers and a Sunday worship service with Eucharist in the Lutheran Congregation of Balatonfüred provided spiritual food, where in the latter case the preacher was Bishop Dr Tamás Fabiny, vice president of the LWF.

An excursion to the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany, founded in 1055, and a Saturday night wine tasting served as cultural and gastronomical delicates. The ELCH as the host provided a reception which was attended also by ecumenical guests like the Most Rev. Gyula Márfi, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Veszprém; the Rev. Zoltán Tarr, Chief Councilor of the Synodal Office of the Reformed Church; the Rev. Vilmos Fischl, Secretary of the Ecumenical Council; and the local Mayor, Mr Géza Kondor.

Dr Virgil László is the Ecumenical Officer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary.

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A more detailed account and lectures of the conference is available on the ALS website.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.