We, called and saved by Christ Jesus, are sharing such a love-community at the Parish of the Reformed Church at Kossuth Square, Budapest, in which we know each other and help each other walk the way of God, thankfully devoting time to serving God and the ones who seek Him. The Gospel of Christ has reformed our lives and this we cannot hide: the preaching, the catechesis, the family and personal life are all about it.
The history of our congregation
In the light of the first documents, the endeavours of the protestant community were a public affair for the inhabitants of the village called Pestszentlorinc near Budapest: they were supported by the magistrates, welcomed by the other denominations, aided by local sponsors and factories. Among the members of the congregation we would find quite a few office-bearers, teachers, craftsmen, council-members – even the first elected pastor of the parish was one of the latter.
It was planned already in 1912 that a church should be built, but due to World War I, the construction had to be postponed. Ultimately, the post-war inflation of the currency back then ‘korona’ put an end to such dreams.
Almost two decades later, however, the village grew, became a town and the residents of the state-owned housing estate, who had arrived from the parts of Hungary detached after the War, became a significant resource of the congregation. The faithful flock was large, with active presbyters and plenty of initiatives, thus the construction of the church-building finally took place 1931-41. The site was donated by the town, the materials were provided partly from a dismantled factory building, and the local craftsmen worked hard on the construction. The first Mayor of Pestszentlorinc was the main trustee of the congregation for a short time.
Peace was short, and the congregation had to face war-losses again. The congregation scattered, but thank God, not even the military evacuation of the town could break it totally down.
In the new, communist era starting from 1945, possibilities of the congregation seemed to disappear; it was getting harder to provide even the daily needs. However, by the grace of God, these years saw a revival and an improvement in religious life, with hardly any decrease in the number of congregation members. From the 1950s until the change of regime in 1990, congregational life adopted a peculiar form characterized by seclusion, partly compelled by external factors. While in the 30’s and 40’s the congregation was a noteworthy cultural factor in town, with plenty of local, regional and countrywide events of importance held in the church’s basement (equipped with a stage and with a capacity of 250 seats), during socialism, the same basement had to be leased out as a store-room.
The political changes after 1989 revived some possibilities: a parsonage was built, catechesis classes restarted, and the community’s activities were again frequented by the members. Small groups were formed; the church was full of life again. The members became better acquainted with each other and discovered new areas of ministration. Unfortunately, the congregation could not always improve on the God-given opportunities due to human weakness, but overcoming these problems we are now looking for the future with hope
SANDOR, Balazs, PhD in theology, was born in 1971, as a firstborn son of a pastor-family with 13 children. At the age of 18, facing the conflicts of religious life during the communist regime, he decided to join the Regular Army. For a year he studied mathematics and physics in Russian in the Soviet Union, meanwhile his mother cried and prayed for him at every Bible-study class. Not in vain. As he usually comments: by Lord’s will, the whole Soviet Union collapsed because of him, as this was the year of 1989. In April he came home and left the Army then without breaching his contract, in order to start studies at the Reformed Theological Academy, Debrecen. There he was a founding member of the Theological Autodidactic Society, and he also went in legation to Serbia and Ukraine. As a deacon, he was a catechesis-teacher in roma (gipsy) classes and was pastoring 4 villages on his own. Balazs was consecrated in November 1996 and a month later he became the elected pastor of the congregation in Szigetmonostor (a village with 1 300 inhabitants), soon after which he married Gabriella Markoth, who was a student of theology back then.
Gabriella (Gabby) was born in 1974 as an only child of a physician mother and a father employed by the municipal council. She studied at a Secondary School class specialised in maths and graduated with excellent degrees, but to the astonishment of her family and friends, she confirmed in the Reformed Church and applied for a Theological Academy, the same one as Balazs. The initiative had come through her chello-teacher, who had acquainted her with Jesus Christ. She was consecrated as a pastor in 2001.
In Szigetmonostor blessings came upon every part of their life - in accordance with the promises of Psalm 133 - when the initial conflicts and division of the congregation were sorted out. Manifold activities started: choir, puppetry, baby-club, widows’ afternoon, men’s supper and alpha-course. The so-called silent days for presbyters, running competitions, and church-days became regular. The number of catechesis students doubled as well as the pastoral work, and slowly it became a public honour to be a member of the local protestant community. Three children of Balazs and Gabby were born in Szigetmonostor: daughters Kincso and Panna as well son Balazs.
These years Balazs could also experience the grace of God’s provision, in disability. Because of chronic kidney failure, he had to undergo dialysis three times a week. After three years and several dangerous operations, he is living now by the grace of our God with a kidney of his sister Boglarka. He used the time spent with dialysis well, and started working on his PhD in theology, which he received in 2005. In his dissertation he studied the interaction of the doctrines of the first councils (of the Trinity and the dual nature of Christ) and the historical worship practices.
In 2005 he was invited to be the pastor for the congregation of Cegled-Felszeg; this is the third congregation in a country town with 38 000 inhabitants. Here his son, Matyas was born. The ill-famed situation in Cegled eased a lot when Balazs searched the possibilities of compromise with clean hands and by following the truth. New groups were organized at Cegled as well. Events for families, al-anon, women’s alliance, youth-ministry, puppetry, baby-club, men’s and women’s supper, also diasporal services revived. For children camps were organised with a 100 attendees; English, then German Bible weeks started and Sunday worships were held for three age-groups. Furthermore, joint services with other congregations took place and important guest-priests were invited, but the most significant improvement was making the adult converts enter into service. All these blessed activities made the little congregation became one of the major ones of the bishopric.
In the spring of 2013, Balazs and Gabby moved here to Budapest, to the Parish of the Reformed Church at Kossuth Square, Pestszentlorinc. A vivid protestant faith is emanated by his sermons and ministry focusing on Jesus; he encourages us to live active and thanksgiving lives. We experience God’s saving grace “a good thing” (2Tim1:14) and are thankful for the open discussions with Balazs, thankful for the church garden full of children’s noise and last, but not least, we are thankful for the cosy atmosphere. All of us - men and women, old and young - are involved in the church life as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, not merely as Sunday visitors sitting in the pews.
Budapest Pestszentlőrinc Kossuth téri Református Egyházközség
1183 Budapest, Kossuth tér 5.
Tel/Fax: (+36-1) 294-35-40,
Mobil: (+36-30) 520-72-95