75th Anniversary

"Mindeddig megsegített minket az Úr" - I Smuel 7:12

On August 1, 2001, the First Hungarian Reformed Church of Los Angeles reached its seventy-fifth birthday. The following historical compilation represents a reflection on the beginning, growth and the events in the historical life of the First Church. The material is organized around several themes starting with the beginning and concluding with our life as it is today, and our hopes for the years ahead.

There are a number of people who contributed important information. An invaluable historical resource was Margaret Saltzer, our church`s former Chief Elder, and Organist for many years and the daughter of one of our beloved pastors the late Reverend Antal Szabó. Margaret allowed me access to Reverend Szabó`s papers and notebooks and provided a great deal of information regarding the history of our congregation, as well as church life in Hungary and in the US through the years. An amazing source of information was the previous Anniversary yearbooks - from 1941 compiled by the late Reverend Albert Hady, as well as 1951, 1956, 1961, and 1966 all compiled by Reverend Antal Szabó. It is clear from these yearbooks that both of these pastors and the congregations from these early periods made important and lasting contributions to the First Church as well as to the Hungarian community in Los Angeles and in the United States. I also drew on interesting anecdotes told to me by Mrs. Albert Hady (a founding and life-long congregation member, the first Choir Director, and Reverend Hady`s wife) in the years before she passed away, about the church`s life in the 1920`s, and later.

The Consistory and substitute Consistory members during 2001 - Piroska Castillo, Ilona Garai, Dr. Carmen Hoft, Ferenc Hudák, Ibolya Hudák, Eszter Hudák, Viktor Hudák, Helen Stefl, Adél Tóth and Betty Warga - as well as friends and members of the congregation of our Church, and our pastor at the time, Dr. Béla Bónis understood the importance of a historical record like this, and expressed their support. Bill Terramorse provided a tremendous amount of assistance with the overall layout and the digital scanning of many old and fuzzy photographs. An Anniversary Book celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the church was printed in 2001 and contributing to the printing costs were The Hungarian Reformed Federation, Piroska Castillo, and Bill Terramorse; Betty Warga contributed in memory of her beloved husband George Warga; Betty Warga and Pearl Kovách also contributed in loving memory of their mother Julia Dudásh and their sister Julia Stewart.

Working on the history of this church has been humbling, incredibly inspiring and filled with trepidation. It has been humbling to see the work of God in so many lives over the course of more than seven-and-a-half decades. It has been incredibly inspiring to see, with Gods grace and blessing, how much a Pastor and a Congregation can accomplish together. And it has been filled with trepidation because, no doubt, contributions from many individuals were inadvertently left out. This historical compilation is just a sampler of the life of the First Church over the decades, a work-in-progress, and not a complete account.

Tünde Garai 
Chief Elder

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