The temperature reached a moderate 80 degrees, the overnight low was 62, the wind blew at speeds up to 9 miles an hour, and the skies were clear.
The Los Angeles Times newspaper from August 1, 1926, reported that Los Angeles was to be hosting 9000 delegates from all over the US for various conventions that were to be held in the City during August and September. Also making the news that day was that the Southern California chapter of the National Aeronautic Association met at the Ambassador Hotel to plan flights and make the skies safer for air travel. Willem Van Hollander performed at the Hollywood Bowl the night before. The Times also reported that the LA Public Library downtown was just completed and that plans were underway for a new City Hall once a lawsuit against the State was won which would allow an increase to the building height. Power use had doubled in Los Angeles in the past 5 years. The Citys population stood at around 1.3 million people. There was a housing shortage, despite an increase in building permits over 1925. A Los Angeles department store advertised a woman's dress for $1.50 and shoes for $3.50. In a classified ad for a car, someone was asking $450 for a hardly used `26 Ford. A real estate speculator hawked income producing citrus estates, the Million Dollar Theater downtown was showing "The Son of the Sheik" starring Rudolph Valentino, and the starlet of the day was Gilda Gray. Prohibition, a national law that banned beer, wine and liquor was 6 years old, and the LA Times on Sunday, August 1, 1926, ran a story screaming that contraband liquor was flooding California.
Of interest to perhaps more people in 1926 was that President Calvin Coolidge, despite some foreshadowing of the Great Depression that was to come in 1929, announced that "business looks cheerful", inflation was at 0%, and unemployment was at 1.8%. Although telephones had been in the White House for many years, the instrument would not actually be on the President`s desk until the Stock Market crash of 1929. Still, according to Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce in 1926, Americans were enjoying the highest standard of living in the Nations history. The first movie with sound had just been demonstrated, and many top movie stars, Greta Garbo among them, had to learn English with the advent of the "talkies." Scotch tape, zippers, pop-up electric toasters, TWA, a coin bearing the image of a living president made their first appearances. A new machine called "television" had just been demonstrated in London. Americans on August 1, 1926, were celebrating Babe Ruth`s 33rd homer of the year.
The biggest international news appearing in newspapers in 1926 was that Mussolini had abolished political parties in Italy, Trotsky admitted defeat and bowed to the Stalin group as leaders of the USSR, and Joseph Goebbels had been appointed to the head of the Berlin Nazi Party. In Hungary, the nation`s only munitions works exploded, killing 24, and injuring 300.
Also in Hungary that year, the Treaty of Trianon was 6 years old, and Admiral Miklós Horthy was Regent. Trianon had stripped Hungary 2/3 of her territory, the economy was in a shambles, and many Hungarians were suddenly living under foreign domination.
Besides all this, although the local or international press apparently did not notice, on August 1, 1926, The First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles was officially established.
Since 1926, the population of Los Angeles County has grown to more than 10 million, the original LA Public Library downtown has recently undergone a significant addition, and LA City Hall was in fact built and has just been seismically retrofitted. Television sets can now be found in more than 98% of homes in the US. The world witnessed years of tyranny and foreign domination in Hungary, the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, then finally the 1989 downfall of communism. But now as in 1926, freedom and world peace again appear to be threatened by political fanatics, but this time not in Europe but in the Middle East.
Unlike in 1926, where even the President did not have a telephone on his desk, almost every house today has at least one telephone. Technological advances and computers have profoundly changed the way we live. Cell phones, pagers, personal computers, laptops, voice-mail, call-waiting and more, have become standard items in many of today`s households.
For more events throughout the life of the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles, please continue reading.
Although the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles was officially founded on August 1, 1926, it was actually in 1924 that the first attempts were made to organize a Hungarian church in Los Angeles. Reverend Istvn Cspke had come to town that year to organize a Hungarian Reformed congregation. At that time, there was already the Hungarian newspaper the Californiai Magyarság, the Hungarian Soccer Club and a Hungarian Workers Group - but no Hungarian church. Reverend Cspke brought 125 Reformed hymnals with him, held worship services, but for whatever reason was not encouraged by the results. After s short time, he departed Los Angeles, but left the hymnals with Mihály Pedry, and agreed to let them be used by those who came after him. These 125 hymnals became the foundation for what was to come.
In the summer of 1925, an official with what is now the United Church of Christ, Dr. Edward Evermeyer, encouraged a young Magyar seminarian - Albert Hady - to visit Los Angeles. Albert Hady came from Szatmármegye and had only been in the US only about 5 years. Albert Hady came to Los Angeles from Buffalo, New York and began scouring the LA area for Hungarians. He attended the Los Angeles Hungarian Soccer Club meetings, the Worker Group meetings, looked for Hungarian names in the phone book, and extended invitations to Sunday Worship services to all Hungarians he met.
At the end of the summer, the young seminarian had to go back to school. Encouraged by the attendance at the services organized by the young Albert Hady, János Décsmán, a former Elder from the Hungarian Reformed Church of Buffalo, now living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter Ilonka, decided with 42 Magyar individuals to petition what is now the United Church of Christ Home Mission Board to help them establish and sustain a Hungarian Reformed Church. Along with that request, they also asked the Home Mission board to entrust Albert Hady with the Pastoral position as soon as he finished his seminary studies. Meanwhile, the congregation made Albert Hady promise to return upon the completion of his studies. The Home Mission Board granted both requests in January 1926, and in June, degree in hand, Albert Hady returned to Los Angeles and to the people he had left behind.
On Sunday, August 1, 1926, after a celebratory Sunday Worship - ünnepi Istentisztetel után - the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles was officially founded. In going through the old First Church yearbooks, we learn something about the day`s services. On that day, Reformed, Catholic, Lutheran and Hungarians of other faiths came together to sing - "örül mi szívünk, mikor ezt halljuk: A templomba megyünk, Hol Istennek Szent Igéjét halljuk." The congregation rejoiced and Albert Hady encouraged them - "érezzétek és lássátok meg, hogy jó az Úr!" Afterwards, 42 people - "egy szívvel, egy lélekkel" - proclaimed the founding of the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles. János Décsmán, the former Elder from Buffalo became the Chief Elder. A Women`s Guild, a Bible Group and a Youth Group, the Church Newspaper and a Choir were quickly established.
Although the congregation spent their first four years meeting in an American church, the First Church bought its long-time home at 1101 West Florence Avenue in April of 1930, where they remained until 1987. The first Hungarian newspaper in California (founded in 1922) - the Californiai Magyarság - dedicated its Friday April 11, 1930 issue to the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles, proclaiming "Templomszentelési kiáltvány!" on the headline, in celebration of the anticipated blessing ceremony of the First Church`s new building, which was held on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1930. Dr. Edward Evermeyer conducted the English portion of the worship, Reverend Hady prayed a blessing, and a guest, friend and classmate of Reverend Hady`s from Lancaster, Reverend Antal Szabó conducted the Hungarian portion of the worship. In honor of the occasion, Ilonka Décsmán sang a solo and Duci Kerkjárt played the violin. The Church Choir sang "Az egyháznak a Jézus a fundamentuma" - the foundation of the church is Jesus.
And the church grew. With the regular westward migration of Hungarians seeking to escape the hardships of the Great Depression in the Eastern United States, political difficulties in Hungary before and after WW II, the Revolution of 1956, and also with the addition of second and third-generation Hungarians, there were regular changes to the make-up of the congregation. The constant element was the strong foundation of faith in God. In the 1941 Yearbook, Reverend Hady writes that "Isten dicsőségére dolgozhatunk..." Let us work to the glory of God. In the 40 Year Anniversary Book, Reverend Antal Szabó writes: "Akik tagjaivá lettetek ennek a gyülekezetnek, azok egy testvéri közösségbe kapcsolódtatok bele, akik vérségi egymáshoz való tartozásnál szorosabban egybekapcsol a közös hit, a közös származás, a közös emberi végzet. Kezdetben bármennyire is idegeneknek éreztétek magatokat az új hazában, itt nem vagytok idegenek, itt testvéreket, barátokat, lelki otthont találtatok. Ha sok volt a munka és a küzdelem, ha sok volt az áldozat, nem volt hiábavaló, mert általa olyan kincseket szerezhettetek, amiket nem rozsda, sem moly meg nem emészthetnek." In part, he writes - "In the beginning you may have felt like strangers in your new country, but you are not strangers here at this church. Here you have found brothers and sisters, friends and a spiritual home..."
The Reverend Albert Hady was the first pastor of the First Church, and officially served from August 1, 1926, until ill health forced him to retire 20 years later in 1946.
He was born in 1895 in Szatmármegye, and it was in the 1920's that he came to the United States. At that time, the Hungarian economy was in chaos and life and the future seemed bleak. Many Hungarians left their homeland for America to try and make a better life. Such was the case with Albert Hady.
Before coming to Los Angeles for during the summer of 1925, he taught at the church school at the Hungarian Reformed Church in Buffalo, New York. As a seminary student on vacation but also with the notion of church-planting, he spent the entire summer of 1925 in Los Angeles meeting and contacting other Hungarians. His persistence paid off and he quickly pulled together a group of Hungarians of all denominations, and every Sunday throughout the summer, he conducted Istentisztelet in Hungarian. At summers end, he returned to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to complete his studies and degree. Before he left, the small group of Hungarians made him absolutely promise - Igérje meg! - that he would return to become their pastor once he finished school. His studies in Lancaster were not easy - he was still learning English while completing his Bachelor of Arts, then his Master of Theology. It was with this degree in hand that he returned to Los Angeles in June of 1926, and on August 1, 1926, he and the people he had left behind the previous year formally organized the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles. He was officially installed as pastor in a formal ceremony in front of his congregation, on June 28, 1928.
Albert Hady was a pioneering Hungarian pastor who successfully planted a church and spent his entire 20-year pastoral call building the congregation and nurturing Magyar culture and the Magyar Reformed faith. Almost immediately upon the founding of the church, he worked to establish a Choir, a Women's Guild, a Bible Group and a Youth Group and also began publication of the Church newspaper - all of which served to preserve Hungarian spiritual and cultural life among his flock in their adopted homeland. It was under his leadership in 1930 that the congregation purchased their first home at 1101 West Florence Avenue. In 1946, again under his leadership, the congregation purchased a parsonage. It was because of Albert Hady's successful church-planting efforts that other Hungarian churches, including Hungarian churches of other denominations, were founded later in California. It was under Albert Hady's pastoral care that the congregation generated and fulfilled an action program to help Hungary during WW II. The work of the church was so successful, that it was recognized by the Los Angeles chapter of the Red Cross for raising the most funds from all of LAs participating churches.
After several years of declining health, Albert Hady retired in June of 1946. He passed away in April of 1970 after a lengthy illness. He and his wife, Ilona Décsmán Hady were much loved by the congregation as well as the entire Magyar Los Angeles community. Reverend Hady's years of hard work won him many friends and admirers both Hungarian as well as American. He preached dynamic sermons and was a man of tremendous faith and energy who successfully inspired others to work alongside him in building a future for the First Church and the community. Mrs. Hady actively worked with Reverend Hady during his entire 20-year service to the First Church. She served as Choir Director and Organist for 2 decades and remained an active member of the congregation until she passed away in 1998 at the age of 92.
The congregation's second long-time pastor was a classmate and good friend of Reverend Albert Hady. Reverend Antal Szabó received his call from the First Hungarian Reformed Church in January of 1946 and began serving in June of that year. He served the congregation 23 years.
He was born on May 29, 1900, in Szatmármegye, which became part of Romania in 1920. In 1921 he and his wife, Mária Bakk Szabó left their home for the United States. He attended seminary with Albert Hady in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then in Dayton, Ohio. He was installed as pastor in 1927 at the McKeesport First Hungarian Reformed Church. He came to Northern California shortly thereafter and worked hard to plant churches in the San Francisco-Oakland area. In the meantime, he obtained a Master of Theology at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. In 1931, he went to Perth Amboy, New Jersey as a substitute pastor and at the request of the congregation there, ended up staying 10 years. He went to Homestead, Pennsylvania for 2 years, but returned to Perth Amboy, where he felt the need seemed greater. In 1946, he was called to the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles until his retirement in 1969. After his retirement, from 1971 until 1974, he served as the pastor of the San Fernando Valley Hungarian Reformed Church. He was instrumental in keeping that church going through a period of great difficulty and retired finally in 1974.
It was under Reverend Szabó's leadership that the First Church on Florence Avenue underwent many improvement and expansion projects, including the installation of the beautiful stained glass windows. Among many improvements, the congregation during these years also purchased a modern Baldwin organ to replace the ancient foot-pump organ that Mrs. Hady had toiled on for 20 years. Reverend Szabó in 1963 visited a remarkable 518 people - in fact, many people can still recall his caring home visits. He baptized, confirmed, married and said funeral prayers for countless Hungarians in Los Angeles during his 23 years as pastor. The Christmas and Easter services required that extra chairs be set up for the overflow crowds that would come to hear his meaningful and carefully crafted sermons. In addition to the Hungarian services, he instituted English services for members of the congregation who spoke better English than Hungarian, but who in their hearts remained Magyar and wanted to attend a Magyar church.
Reverend Szabó and the congregation welcomed the Hungarian refugees from WW II, then 10 years later, the refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. English services were expanded, the Youth Groups and Choir flourished and other fellowship groups like the Harmony Club and the Martha Circle were founded.
Reverend Antal Szabó is remembered in the 1990 Calvin Synod Herald by Reverend Szabolcs Kálmén as a pastor who served. Reverend Szabó was a Magyar pastor who studied theology in the United States, but remained a part of and served among the Magyar community. Reverend Szabolcs writes that Reverend Antal Szabó was not argumentative, did not create dissent, did not offend - he served. He was the person who listened patiently to everyone, made peace, and did not put his concerns above those of others. With the active assistance of his wife, Mrs. Szabó, Reverend Szabó served his community faithfully and effectively. He stayed fresh and current in theological matters until the very end. He and his wife were much loved and tremendously respected by the community. He passed away in 1990 after a brief illness. Mrs. Szabó passed away October of 1996.
Other pastors who served the First Church were Alajos Krisik, who served for 7 months in 1932, while Reverend Hady was called to serve temporarily at a Hungarian Reformed Church in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. In the 1950's, the First Church was served by several very capable Youth Pastors - Reverend Knut Gundersen, from 1954-1955 and Reverend Frank Juhász Shepherd from 1955-1957.
After Reverend Szabó retired, Reverend Gyula Pál served the congregation from 1969-1981. The 1970's were times of great change. Reverend Pál was a recognized scholar during his seminary days in Hungary and later studied at Princeton and Lehigh University in the US. A serious theologian, he preached strong, scholarly and relevant sermons based on important Biblical teachings. He passed away on November 18, 2001, in Pennsylvania. Reverend Sándor Patócs served from 1982-1987, times of more change for the congregation. After March of 1987, several pastors served the congregation for short periods - György Nagy, for three months at the end of 1989. Ferenc Gál for from 1990-1991. A number of guest pastors have served the congregation, among them the Reverends Sándor and Mária Babos, Dr. László Berzeviczy, István Danyi, Szabolcs Kálmán, Héthalmi Péth Károly, Dr. Jakab Morsák, Bálint Nagy, Sándor Németi, Sándor Oláh, Sándor Szabó, and Dezső Trombitás.
In 1991, the Reverend Dr. Béla Bónis began serving our congregation as Supply Pastor. During that time, also purchased and moved into our new church home here in Hawthorne. Our congregation was blessed to have been able to serve God for more than a decade with Dr. Béla Bónis, who retired at the end of 2002 at the age of 85.
In 2003, after a long pastoral search process and with the assistance of our Hungarian Calvin Synod, our congregation elected a new pastor - the Reverend István Kacsó. We are elated to have Reverend Kacsó with us. This heralds a fresh and blessed period in our history, as Reverend Kacsó follows a tradition of the much-loved and respected pastors who have served our congregation and the Los Angeles community.
Reverend Kacsó has pastoral experience with Hungarian congregations in Hungary, Erdély, Serbia and other places in Europe, and more recently was a pastor of The American Hungarian Reformed Church in Allen Park, Michigan. He has a broad-based educational background that includes several advanced degrees in Theology, Philosophy, and American Studies from universities in Europe and the USA. He is well known for his inspirational, powerful and compelling sermons based on deeply rooted Biblical teachings. Each Sunday, he preaches two different sermons both in English and in Hungarian that reflect issues that are applicable to our daily lives, and seek to nurture a balanced way of living in today's world that is pleasing to God.
We are tremendously grateful to God for giving our congregation and Reverend Kacsó this opportunity to serve. We hope that He will continue to abundantly bless the work that we do together, and that everyone who worships with us will come to share our joy in serving Him and each other. In the process, we hope that each one of us will be able to answer our deepest inner call and discover who God calls us to be.
From 1926 until 1930, the First Church worshipped as guests of the First Reformed Church at 950 East 45th Street, in Los Angeles. This was an American congregation who extended the hand of grace and friendship to us and let our congregation worship in their buildings rent-free.
All the while, the Reverend Hady and members of the congregation actively searched for a home of their own. In 1930, with much joy and anticipation for a bright future, they purchased a church and several adjoining buildings at 1101 West Florence Avenue in Los Angeles. A lively church blessing ceremony - Templomszentelési ünnep - was held on April 13, 1930. Over the years, this building was remodeled, repainted and improved many times over. Many new roofs were installed, a new heating system and Baldwin organ were put in, the kitchen was enlarged, sanctuary remodeled and so on. Many people remember how the Reverend Antal Szabó spearheaded the 1940`s drive to raise funds for the purchase and installation of the beautiful stained glass windows. For those who are interested, the windows are still in the Florence Avenue church, which now belongs to another Christian congregation. The stained glass panels movingly depict a life-sized Jesus standing at the door and knocking. Another window shows Jesus with his head bowed in anguish in the garden at Gethsemane.
In 1987, the old Florence Avenue church was sold during an incredibly difficult and anguished time for the congregation. The entire congregation, but especially then-Chief Elder Margaret Saltzer and Dr. Béla Biró, began a persistent search for a new permanent home. While the great search for a new building was ongoing, the congregation worshipped as guests of the First Congregational Church in Pasadena. After five seemingly endless years of viewing countless church properties, in May of 1992 then-Chief Elder Béla Biró, while doing his regular daily scouring of church property-listings, discovered what might be a suitable church building for sale in Hawthorne. The entire congregation went to see the property, and discovered later that they all prayed for the same thing afterwards: they thanked God for bringing the building to their attention and prayed that the asking price is somehow lowered by a lot, so we could afford the purchase. The selling congregation heard from Dr. Biró how much the Hungarian congregation wanted the building - and apparently also from God that the asking price needed to be lowered. Astoundingly to some, not so astoundingly to the faithful, the asking price was suddenly lowered so that it became affordable to our congregation. The purchase was successfully completed and 12717 York Avenue in Hawthorne has been our home ever since.
In the spring of 1996, the congregation undertook a construction project to build the Fellowship Hall - Kossuth Terem. Many people made donations toward this work, including individuals who were former long-time members who had moved away but still wanted the First Church to continue its work in serving the Hungarian community. Much of the interface with the builder was done by faithful congregation member and Secretary, Ferenc Hudák who diligently visited the site nearly every day to make sure things were proceeding smoothly. The work was substantially complete in November of 1997.
Some things were done shortly after - George Varga, a nephew of long-time member, Betty Varga installed the vinyl tile flooring in the Hall, and a kitchen sink. The family of members Zsuzsika Cariaga and Piroska Castillo donated tables and chairs. Tünde Garai donated the large kitchen stove and more recently a frisky-sounding Kimball baby-grand piano. Making significant donations toward the kitchen shelves were Helen Stefl and Adél Tóth. Now the buzz of fellowship activity resonates in our buildings regularly.
With God`s grace and assistance, our congregation just recently completed the re-carpeting and repainting of the sanctuary and other rooms. Again Ferenc Hudák, along with wife Ibolya, children Eszter and Viktor, as well as congregation members Béla Bácsa and Tünde, have all worked incredibly hard to get this work done.
So with these ongoing building improvements at our new home, we continue the home-improvement tradition that started on Florence Avenue. We thank God for the homes He has provided our congregation through the years, and for giving us the strength and energy to continue His work.
Reverend Albert Hady in the 1951 Yearbook "Isten nevében indultunk... alig mertük álmodni is, hogy Los Angelesben valamikor szép magyar gyülekezet dús kalászai teszik szebbé az életet; édesebbé a mindennapi kenyeret." We began in God`s name, and little did we dream...
In writing the history of our congregation, there is the danger of looking at the big things and recording dates, names, and events, and ignoring the fellowship, the small things and thousand kindnesses that members have shown to each other and their neighbors. For many members of our congregation, making the transition from their lives in Hungary to their new lives in the United States was wrought with hardship, pain, and loneliness. Many left behind parents, siblings and other loved ones, all perhaps never to be seen again. They left behind the lives they had, the individuals they had been in their villages and cities and were often forced to become someone else in a strange country. Many faced unimaginable hardships as they put together a new life. For these people, the Magyar church with its Magyar life became a lifeline in their adopted homeland.
It is the fellowship, the little things, the thousand kindnesses in a church that give a visitor the feel for a congregation, that constitute the grease that makes the machinery of a church move more graciously and smoothly. By definition, these things are not very visible. They rarely rate newspaper space or the eye of a television. Sometimes though, they might be captured on camera. The following pictures give an idea of the Magyar fellowship, and hopefully, reveal the little things and thousand kindnesses that have added special meaning to people in the First Church over the years.
Some of the photos are of significant celebrations, like the Templomszentels on April 13, 1930. Many of the older photos are posed, but the kinship, the ties between friends resonate across the pages. In more recent years, the photos capture spontaneous events in the life of the First Church. The photos from our albums reveal that we have spent our time not just at worship, but also in fellowship with our church family.
The photos will show that we break bread together -- at least monthly, and celebrate holidays with music, poetry, and songs. We thank Lajos Molnár and Anna Együd for the times they have sung and said poetry at these occasions. The piano music at these events for many years has been provided by Margaret Saltzer, later by Emilia Chovn, among others. We thank these two individuals, both former organists at the First Church as well as Marian Csánky, also a former organist. We also thank Helen Stefl and Adél Tóth for the flowers they have brought and continue to bring and arrange for the Altar throughout the past decade. We are grateful for the strength that we have drawn from several Chief Elders since 1987, Margaret Saltzer and Dr. Béla Biró who worked indescribably hard to keep our congregation moving forward. Géza Csánky should also be mentioned for his contributions. We are grateful to Betty Warga for the work she did as Church Treasurer for many years. We thank Zoltán and Erzsébet Elekes for making innumerable contributions to various projects. We are grateful to people like Rick Hoft, Zsuzsa and Tibor Sárkány for letting us know we could count on them when needed. We also thank our former members and children of members who have passed away for also providing prayer and encouragement on a regular basis.
The Annual Fall Bazaar is an event that is still going strong we include the flyer from 1938 in this booklet to show how some traditions may change but still they stay the same. We've had a Spring Bazaar too, for longer than anyone can remember. These events over the years have been primarily organized by the Women's Guild, which for more than 10 years now has been headed faithfully by Ilona Garai, with strong support from many people including Margaret Badacsonyi, Tnde Bcsa, Piroska Castillo, Éva Fox, Tünde Garai, Ibolya Hudák, Etta Nagy, Susan Rill, Helen Stefl, Adél Tóth, Betty Varga. In addition to the Women's Guild, Regular Bazaar helpers for a good number of years have been members and friends of our congregation including vike Bagoly, Dr. Béla Biró, Éva Bagoly Castillo, Hilarion Castillo, Anthony Cariaga, Dr. Carmen Hoft, Ferenc, Ibolya, Viktor and Eszter Hudák, Bill, Jim and Pearl Kovách, Jasmine Laubender, Rose Marie Markus, Anette Vanila.
Over the past decade, we have instituted several mission projects that we believe fill a need. Nearly 10 years ago, we began a regular Toy Drive project, where we collected and bought toys and clothes and sent them to a number of places in Hungary that house severely disabled children and young adults. Interex Export and owner Miklós Pereházy generously shipped what we collected at no charge. We at the First Church discovered that in showing this kindness, the blessing in giving was first to us, the giver. This past summer, instead of the toys, we thought the need might be better served if we raised funds, so we held a Musical Luncheon and sold tickets. Providing the music as their donation to the project were the distinguished piano and violin team of László and Mária Cser. The funds we raised were sent to the Kertvárosi Református Egyház in Nyíregyháza to help their ministry program for the elderly, and the Szeretet Otthon in Sajósenye to help their ministry program for the disabled. Also this year, we raised funds for flood victims in Eastern Hungary. We have recently instituted a children`s Hungarian language study group spearheaded by Tünde Bácsa that seems to fill a strong need. The children learn Hungarian language skills and poetry, and it is our hope that with God`s help, this fledgling program will thrive.
In thinking of our future, our prayers are remarkably similar to what Reverend Antal Szabó wrote in the 1966 Yearbook "épitsünk továbbra is arra a fundamentumra, amely vettetett, amely a Jézus Krisztus, hogy életünkre áldás, Isten nevére dicsőség térjen!" Let us continue to build on the foundation that was sown, which is Jesus Christ, so that our lives are blessed, and that glory be given to God`s name.
We at the First Church face the future with challenges, but also confidence and hope. Most of all, we face the future with God`s promise of his presence, His promise to address us and to lead us as we are faithful.