All the ones who work with me know that besides the well-defined tasks one can find in the job description of a minister I do all kinds of things to improve the quality of the mission we do at our Church. This is why instead of making a many page long list of the things I do through a year in this report I focus on counting the blessings, the results of the hard work done at this Church with God's blessing, and the challenges we face.
We are approaching the 3-year mark since the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles has been having a permanent pastor again after a gap of almost two decades. In 2004, after the 1-year mark, I reported that thanks to Gods blessing and the building and rebuilding process we had started, 14% of the congregation was new at that point. Today we are able to report that 54.3% of the congregation is made up by new members, who joined us in the last 3 years.
Meanwhile, the numbers show a smooth and steady change in good, the road, the building process is bumpy and we face a lot of challenges. It's not only about the challenging dynamics of our Church and the peculiar Californian context we are in, but about the challenge we face in becoming a true living Church able to do the mission as effectively as only Gods children are able to do. At the beginning of the building process, we changed the motto of the Church to Isaiah 40: 30-31, as we knew that the road was going to be so long and back-breaking that no human effort was able to match it. When we assess the works and results at our Church of the last 3 years we are aware that all the good things have come from God. We know that our strength depends on Gods power. We give Him thanks for making us able to start and run a Sunday School where more than a dozen children can learn about Gods deeds and miracles every Sunday. What does compare to watching 25 children taking part in a Christmas play about Jesus birth prepared by a professional and devoted Sunday School staff? We praise the Lord for making us able to start a Choir in November 2005 with 18 choir members. We give Him thanks for all the baptisms (7), weddings (2), confirmations (2), worships, fellowships, Bible Studies, Benefit Concerts, Ecumenical Worship Services, visitations, Summer Camps, Winter outings, counseling hours as all of them being opportunities to make a change/make a difference that pleases God and grows accordingly. In the almost 3 year period, we had 6 funerals of which 3 was about losing faithful voting members of our Church. We thank God for everything good we could experience through their lives. May God surround them with His mercy and comfort the ones who mourn. As the ones left behind, weve tried to be good witnesses to the Lord even in the saddest hours.
To reconstruct the old records of the Church we went as far as Nevada. We thank Margaret Saltzer and her family for helping us with this issue. Now we are able to go back as far as 1926 with a few gaps. To record and open up the present to all the ones we serve we maintain a weekly refreshed website: www.hungarianreformedla.org . We thank Sam Bacsa and Hegedus Attila for making this possible.
Concerning the future it is necessary to understand for everybody that even though it is important to keep growing in numbers, the most important thing is to keep growing in Spirit. The place and congregation we call our Church has to be a place where people can meet their spiritual and intellectual needs. Even though, we are not perfect as not one of the communities of human beings is perfect, our congregation has to be a place where people can get edified. We have to make sure that whoever comes to our Church gets enriched through the values and benefits God promised us. Everybody has to understand that whatever we do or we plan to do is led by good will and Christian love. Whoever is driven by ill will or any kind of ill motivation/powers supposed to leave us alone if he/she cannot be won by the love we exercise at our Church, as we seek a constructive Christian lifestyle God likes and not destruction. Finally, I would like to thank everybody who has helped building our Church/congregation through these years. May God help us edify each other, love each other, enrich each other according to His plan,
Rev. Istvan Kacso