Who We Serve: Elderly, mentally and physically disabled, and the Roma in Hungary.
Debrecen Reformed Great Church (DRGC) – Hungary’s largest Protestant church.
Following World War II, organized religion was banned by Hungary’s Communist regime. The state confiscated the estates, schools and institutions of the Reformed Church, and many individuals suffering from disabilities were removed from sight and housed remotely. A “free church in free state” model was adopted following the collapse of communism in the 1990’s, and Hungary’s economic transition was relatively smooth. However, dissatisfaction with the government in the 21st century has coincided with targeted discrimination and political anti-Roma (Gypsy) rhetoric.
- The Roma population is Hungary’s largest minority
- At least 2/3 of the poorest people in Hungary are Roma
- Faced with racial inequality, Roma have minimal skills, education and training – making them first to lose jobs as unemployment increases
- 1 in 5 Roma children enroll in secondary school. Only 13% complete
Presbyterian History of Engagement
1567 – Reformed Church of Hungary established
1899 – Great Church of Debrecen
2009 – The Hungarian Reformed Church (HRC) was established as a community of Reformed churches within and outside the borders of Hungary with a common synod, the General Convent.
In partnership with DRGC, address the post-Communism challenges of unemployment and homelessness including:
Spiritual development and relationship building. Members and staff have shared mission work; built relationships through pulpit exchanges, high school exchanges, full choir exchanges and numerous editing of translations for the Reformed Theological University of Debrecen. Many times have prayed, worshiped and served together.
Today the ministry has grown and evolved to focus on joint outreach projects specifically focusing on addressing education disparities and homelessness issues facing the elderly, mentally and physically disabled, and the Roma in both Hungary and the Ukraine. These include: Immanuel Home –a pre-school located on DRGC property for multiple-handicapped children, Beam of Hope – homeless shelter, Home Health Care Nurses, Roma House, Roma College, Szurte Hungarian Reformed Roma School for children in Ukraine.