First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Bridgewater is a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association ( UUA ) of North America which is headquartered nearby in Boston.
On a regional level, we are a member of the Ballou Channing District (BCD) of the UUA, and also of the Cranberry Cluster of UU churches in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Our Partner Church
Partner Church Council (PCC)
Haranglab ~ Bridgewater
(Updated August 25, 2005)
Very serious flooding has occurred in Central Europe, with the most serious damage and a number of deaths in Transylvania, including several Unitarian villages. As of August 25, it seems that Haranglab is not in the worst-affected area, but we are awaiting specific information from our friends there.
Meanwhile, the entire PCC community is mobilizing to provide assistance, with the help of UUSC. Check the PCC flood page for updates and pledge forms.
HARANGLAB RECEIVES INTERN MINISTER
On September 1, 2005, Rev. Lorant Tokes (TOE-kesh) will begin a two-year term as a ministerial intern at our partner Unitarian Church in Haranglab, Transylvania.
For the past five years, five families from The Unitarian Church in Summit, New Jersey have provided a seminary school scholarship for Lori, a young man from Summit’s Partner Church in Barot, Transylvania. Rev. Alpar Kiss (KISH), the minister in Barot, is a very active member of the Partner Church movement.
This spring, Rev. Tokes — known as Lori — graduated from the Unitarian Seminary in Kolozsvar, Transylvania, after a five-year course. In Haranglab, he will reside in the parish house that was recently repaired by the Haranglab congregation with assistance from our church in Bridgewater.
Rev. Tokes will be ringing the bells in Haranglab when Bridgewater has its peace vigil and dedication of its peace pole. Of course, Hungarian will be one of the languages on the pole!
Our August 20, 2005 worship service included a discussion of Economic Fairness and Awareness resources. Despite the title, these resources are actually intended to help congregations deepen their partnerships, moving away from charity models.
Many members of our committee first became aware of them during a regional meeting in Belmont in February 2005. Our discussion centered on the “Summary of Transylvania Focus Group Comments” and the “Draft Guidelines for Review.”
Rev. Sandor Szentygorgy is the minister for the Unitarian congregations in both Desfalva and Haranglab.
OUR FIRST PILGRIMAG E: A dozen members and friends of First Parish — including five children and youth — completed a visit to Haranglab and other sites in Transylvania and Hungary in August 2004. Photos, narrative, and some video from the first half of the trip are now on James Hayes-Bohanan’s Transylvania Pilgrims web page. We were thrilled that some of those we met in neighboring Desfalva were able to visit our church community in November.
Since our previous minister introduced us to the Partner Church Council concept in a February, 2001 sermon , our congregation’s connections to its Transylvanian roots have increased steadily. By the end of 2001, the congregation had begun a partnership with a small congregation in the village of Haranglab.
In April, 2002, we were blessed with an additional sermon on the subject (and first-rate violin music) from Dr. Judit Gellérd, a native of Transylvania and a founding member of the PCC.
Also see letters from Transylvania and the Balkans/PCC section in our online book store, including a new book by Dr. Judit Gellérd.
Partner Church Council – The Partner Church movement draws on the experience of many congregations over the past 15 years. The web site includes links to other church web sites, advice for travelers, and deep insights into the meaning of partnerships. The movement started in Transylvania, but now encompasses the Philippines and other parts of the world
Partner Church page of the First Church (UU) of Belmont, Massachusetts, whose partner church is in Desfalva, Transylvania is near our partner church in Haranglab, and shares the ministerial services of Rev. Sandor Szentygorgy. The PCC committee at Belmont has been most helpful in mentoring our committee as a new PCC congregation.
(views expressed on these sites are the responsibility of the respective authors and organizations)
The Hungarian section of RecipeSource is a great place to begin learning about the cuisine of Hungarian communities in Romania.
The US Embassy Bucharest website has recently posted the December, 2003 report on religious freedom in Romania , which contains a number of references to the Unitarian Church in Romania and catalogues the various disputes concerning religious activity in present day Romania. The disputes seem to be largely between the Orthodox Church and everyone else.
A bibliography of Eastern Europe and Balkans readings was prepared specifically for Partner Church participants.
An online Hungarian Language Course by Aaron Rubin at Harvard (even though Transylvania is in Romania, almost all Unitarians there are part of the Hungarian-speaking minority).
The Rough Guide to Romania , in a new third edition.
For more maps, tapes, and books, see the Romania page at the Globe Corner Book Store in Cambridge (we might just need to have a field trip!)
The Nationalities Problem in Transylvania 1867 – 1940 , sponsored in part by the Soros foundation, describes the problems experienced by both Romanian and Hungarian minorities in the region. (Chapter III in Part II directly concerns Haranglab and the rest of Transylvania.)
The Alba Regia Memorial Chapel in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is maintained by the Hungarian Freedom Fighters Federation.
We are not the only group building relationships in Haranglab. Raymond van Bohemen has led groups of Dutch youth on several visits to work with the Roma (Gypsies) of the village, who are an even more marginalized group than the Unitarian Hungarians! See especially the photographs from their July 2004 visit — just before ours! Perhaps we can visit the village together some day! (You can use WordLingo to get rough translations of these pages from Dutch to English.)
This is not an endorsement, because I have not yet used these services, but the Green Mountain travel company specializes in Transylvania, and as such has some interesting information and wonderful photos on its web site. Its office is not far from Haranglab.
Transilvania.info is a new web portal for the Transylvania region. Flags in the upper-left corner allow users to choose among English, Hungarian, Romanian, and German versions of the site. The site includes links sorted by topic and county within Transylvania. Best of all, it includes an excellent three-language dictionary that is very easy to use.
The Romania map page at the University of Texas includes several high-quality base maps and thematic maps, including the small-scale map on this page.
Locating Haranglab is a bit difficult – it is a very small place, and Romanian place names typically have German, Romanian, and Hungarian versions. Thanks to the kind help of ESRI Romania , I have found that Haranglab is located near Bagaciu in the southwestern part of Mures County . View more county maps at Radu Rautiu’s informative web site.
In Transylvania Today – published by the Atlantic in 1997 – Jeffrey Tayler writes that Transylvania is not just for Dracula buffs any more!
Transylvania, A Short History is a book by István Lázár, and is available in its entirety from Mississippi State University. Warning: this is over 200 pages long and requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
The Partner Church Committee includes
James Hayes-Bohanan (chair) ( firstname.lastname@example.org , 508-531-2118)
Transylvania news clippings: http://www.transilvania.info
Romania Post: http://www.romaniaglobe.com/
Budapest News: http://www.budapestpost.com/
These links direct to parts of a network of several Eastern European news source sites that provide world news. These sites have emphasis on news in Romania and Hungary, respectively.
Web page by James Hayes-Bohanan