2023. március 5. - Közgyűlést tartott a gyülekezet

 Vasárnap eredményesen megtartottuk az évi Közgyűlésünket. Köszönjük egyháztagjainknak, hogy részt vettek ezen a törvény által is előírt eseményen. 

A gyülekezet elfogadta a tavalyi Közgyűlés jegyzőkönyvét, a lelkészi, főgondnoki és pénztárosi beszámolókat és jóváhagyta az idei eseményeket és teendőket. 

A Közgyűlés végén beiktattuk, és köszöntöttük új gyülekezeti tagjainkat.

Chief Elders Report for 2022

Our church continued to face the Covid related challenges that we have faced since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. But thanks to the Almighty, through people like you during all of 2022, our Church was able to serve God and each other with joy and success. 

I want to thank God for the so many things He gave us in 2022, individually and as a Congregation. First, let’s thank God for our Minister, Zoltan Batori, who Sunday after Sunday in 2022, preached many uplifting sermons, most importantly about the Love of God for us human beings and also about the importance of serving Him and each other in love and unity. The Tiszteletes Ur not only preached, but encouraged us and served - and continues to serve - as an excellent example of God’s love and care. Thanks be to God, for our faithful minister.

Please also join me in saying thanks to you – you loyal, hardworking Church Members. You are an amazing group of dedicated people who do so much at this Church in His name. Last year, Sunday after Sunday, every one of you made sure everything was ready to go for a beautiful morning Service followed by Fellowship. And you all worked during the week too, to create a smoothly functioning church and a joy-filled Holy Place!

May I give you a few examples? Nearly every week after the Istentisztelet, Eva Matte organized a program for us, where we spent time in Fellowship, singing, painting, listening to poems, stories and music, deepening our friendships and making good memories.  Most were Potluck events, which gave us an opportunity to share our culinary gifts with each other. At all these events, we enjoyed each other's company. And all these events were a wonderful opportunity for the 'older members' to chat with the 'newer members', share our stories, eat together, get advice either from each other or from our Minister, enjoy each other's company and most importantly, encourage each other in faith.  Thank you, Eva, for organizing our Fellowship events!

Every Sunday of last year, not only did we serve pastries and coffee, but most Sundays we served a full lunch. We say thanks to all the Members and Friends who contributed to our afternoon Potlucks, or Közös Batyus Ebédek. I would like to recognize Presbiter Sarika Kakuk for the delicious variety of goodies she baked and cooked for us almost every week of 2022. Her many goodies - especially her Farsang Fank! and many Bake Sale goodies - have created special memories for us all. Let’s also thank Bobe Pusztai for her delicious and artful croissant sandwiches, Kati Horvath for her dreamy-good pogácsa, Drs. Katalin Havasi and Tai Chen for their umami treats, Ilona Finta for her vegetarian creations, Eva Matte for her amazing körözött, dainty open-faced sandwiches and palacsinta, Bela Monus for his bags of oranges and other home-grown fruits and vegetables, Geza and Diana Csenterics for the baked goods and chocolates, Tunde Bacsa for her Sunday fruit salads and her Linzer cookies for our bake sales. Please also join me in saying thanks to the Tiszteletes Asszony, Edit Batori, who made us many delicious soups and cakes. When it comes to food, at this Church, we can all agree that we are blessed with much talent and we eat well! 

Each Sunday of 2022 we enjoyed many activities together. We celebrated birthdays every month. Almost every Sunday we had a “happening”. In January, we had a Pot Szilveszter Party and as a group, we attended the Cserkesz Bal. In February, we threw a Farsang Party (with Farsang donuts made by Sarika!). In March we commemorated March 15th and Eva Matte hosted us in her beautiful garden with a Tea Party. In April, we celebrated Palm Sunday with palm fronds and arts and crafts. On Easter Sunday we worshipped and took Holy Communion. In May, we celebrated our moms with a lovely Mother's Day Lunch. In June, we had a Trianon Commemoration and celebrated Fathers’ Day. In July we had an Ice Cream Social. And as a group, we attended the I Palpiti Festival at a beautiful Art Deco Theater in Beverly Hills. And Bobe Pusztai also hosted us to an amazing Pool Party at her beautiful house – thank you so much, Bobe! In September, we had our big and well attended Magyar Örökség Festival, where we honored László and Mária Cser for their many decades of work in the Hungarian Community. This was also a major fundraiser for the church. Also in September, as a group we attended the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. In October, we commemorated Oct. 23rd and threw a Magyar Oktoberfest Party. In mid-November we held a huge Csiga Making Party with the help of Hilarion and Renata Castillo – something we want to do again this year because it turned out so well. We gave the csiga we made to Piroska Castillo Nénje (who at 98 can no longer come to church) for her Thanksgiving and Christmas soup. At the end of November, we Gave Thanks as a group with a special lunch. In December we celebrated Advent every Sunday and held a Magyar Christmas Disznótoros Party that included poetry, music and song by candlelight. The Hungarian Nagykövet Tamas Szeles and Consul Eva Palmer attended this and even took pictures for the Consular magazine! This too was also a major fundraiser for the church. Thanks to all our Church Members as well as Friends, such as Hilarion and Renata Castillo, Eva Fox, Annette Vanila and others, who cooked, baked, ran the Bake Sale and also helped clean up, including Judit Wylie. While our expenses were extensive last year, our fundraisers were successful enough that we were able to raise almost enough to pay for HVAC of the sanctuary and also for the church bills all year long. We continue to raise money for a new roof, so when the time comes, we are ready.

Again, most of these events were organized by Presbiter Eva Matte, with music by her talented accordionist husband Peter Geburth, and the mod sounds of Geza and Diana Csenterics – DJ-X. Speaking of music, Psalm 98:4 says “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Well, music figured prominently in all of our events last year. Every Sunday, we had music for Worship. Oliver Monus (piano), Melinda Puho (piano), Dr. Tai Chen (flute, recorder, voice and more), Eva Matte (voice) and Denise Elekes (piano) and the Tiszteletes Ur (trumpet), in addition to the voices of our Choir, Congregation and others, helped us make this joyful noise! Thank you all!

 Let’s also thank Presbiter Attila Hegedus for his work in 2022. All last year, he kept our website updated and helped with so many background items. Attila made sure we were able to connect not only with each other by Internet, but also to connect with the entire planet. Thanks to Attila’s Google meet and other technical talents, last year we had (and continue to have) people from New York City, Erdely and other places who were able to participate in our Istentiszteletek. Our Friend from NYC, Lorant Papp, says a poem each week between the English and Magyar worship. Thank you Lorant! Another Friend from Indiana, Calvin Synod Püspök, K.K. L. Ludwig takes part in every Sunday worship and preaches and serves Holy Communion in English at least 7 times a year. Attila made sure we had our internet Thursday Night Bible Study and Saturday Morning Fellowship where our Congregation and friends were able to meet. Thank you, Attila! While we are on the subject of Christian Education, let us thank Dr. Katalin Havasi, who last year made sure we had inspirational topics for our regular Thursday Night Bible Study.  Thank you, Dr., Katalin for this very important work!

Thank you also to Church Secretary Andrea Hegedus for handling the 2022 monthly bill-pays, recording our Sunday persely and in-the-mail donations and making weekly deposits of these into the Bank. She also wrote donation thank-you notes throughout the year.  Other monthly bills were paid by our Treasurer Jasmine Laubender, who did (and does) an amazing job of keeping our books, tracking our income and expenses and generating Reports - the Annual Financial Report is her work.  Jasmine also issued timely annual receipts to our donors. The management of our church’s finances is very important work, and both Andrea and Jasmine do it without fail and in a well-organized way. Let’s also thank Ibolya Hudak, who was on top of every time sensitive bill, especially our insurance payment. Thank you to Andrea, Jasmine and Ibolya for your above and beyond efforts!  

When it came to property upkeep last year, let’s be sure to thank Ferenc (and Ibolya) Hudak who took care of so many repairs, big and small, without being asked. And also, Geza Kakuk and Bela Bacsa who regularly step in with necessary repairs, including plumbing and more. Last year we installed a new HVAC system in our Sanctuary and the rear of the church. The total cost of this to our church was about $16K. A huge expense, but worth it. Ferenc and Geza did much of the interface with the HVAC Contractor – thank you so much! And Ferenc and Ibolya did the interface with the iron-worker, who built and installed the iron protection cage around the HVAC unit. That cage cost about $1K. Thank you, Ferenc, and Ibolya! We also installed shades for the large west facing windows in the Sanctuary. And also, some a pair of blinds in the Kossuth Hall. A church member who wishes to remain anonymous donated the cost of the shades and blinds, which totaled about $3K. Now our Sanctuary, with the new AC and the shades, is much more comfortable in the afternoon summer months! While we’re on the subject of church property, let’s also thank Attila Borbas and Melinda Puho for keeping our church so clean. 

In terms of outreach, last year, as always, we endeavored to send cards and visited those who can no longer come to church regularly. Our Pastor was very gracious about home visitations, and visited Mrs. Piroska Castillo regularly. It is important to recognize and pray for those who are no longer able to regularly attend church and these visits mean a lot to the families. A card, a phone call or a visit brings so much joy to those on both ends! 

Let us all thank church members Mrs. Piroska Castillo, Drs. Carmen Castillo and Richard Hoft, while they cannot come as much as they used to, for always being there for us! And let us all thank our kind and generous Friends all over, who donate regularly even if they live too far away to attend church. And finally, let us all thank everyone who participates in any way - with time, talents and gifts of any kind – in the life of our church. 

At Church, there is always something to do. We know from past experience that with God's help, anything is possible. In 2023, we will continue with necessary repair projects: our parking lot has weeds poking through it and desperately needs resurfacing. We did not install AC in the Kossuth Hall last year, because it would have cost another $12K. We may not have the money for that, so if you are in the Kossuth Hall and it’s too hot, this is why. And our roof is very, very old. The Kossuth Hall roof dates to 1996, the Sanctuary to about 2003. The Sanctuary roof already has 3 roofs on it – by code, next time we re-roof, all 3 layers have to be removed. A very expensive proposition. The Kitchen also needs some upgrades. It would be nice to get a dishwasher, because in the process of minimizing our use of paper/plastic that fills our planet with trash, we are now mostly using real dishes. And there are always the unforeseen items. Additionally, we need to be ready with Mission. Even when we have little, there are those who have still less, and as Christians, we are required to help them. So please pray for the success of our 2023 church projects. We thank everyone in advance - church Members and Friends - for their ongoing support this coming year! In all things past, present and future, may we give God the glory - Soli Deo Gloria! 

On August 1, 2022, our Congregation turned 96.  Imagine that, kedves Gyülekezet! We are almost 100 years old! For nearly 100 years now God has allowed us to serve Him and each other. For almost 100 years, we have been able to provide a spiritual home for countless individuals - those who left their homeland as well as those who were born here. 

Despite all the challenges in the last few years, we have managed to accomplish much. The Bible in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 says…. ”God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is….” (The Message). Isn’t that amazing? When I think about it all, we are a living example of this here at our church! In the end, thanks be to God, for all of you!

My hope for 2023 is that that we can again continue to meet each challenge that comes our way together, with hope, joy and anticipation. And that we can pray like Moses: "És legyen az Úrnak, a mi Istenünknek jó kedve mi rajtunk, és a mi kezünknek munkáját tedd állandóvá nékünk! (Zsoltárok 90:17). 

-- Respectfully submitted, Tünde Garai, Chief Elder, March 5, 2023.

Pastor’s Report for 2022

Kedves Testvéreim!

Először szeretném megnyugtatni a jelenlévőket, hogy nem fogok ismét prédikálni, vagy felsorolni ismét az elmúlt év programjait. Az én tisztem, csupán közösségünk működésének lelki oldalát érinti.

Természetesen nem szeretném learatni az Isten Szentlelke köztünk végzett munkája gyümölcsét, hanem én is veletek együtt teremni szeretném azt.

A 2022-es év, a járvány okozta bénultságból való felocsúdás ideje volt.

Bár Hegedűs Attilának és a Google Meetnek köszönhetően a járvány alatt is volt rendszeresen istentisztelet és senkit sem vesztettünk el, a közösséget sok tekintetben érintette annak rémisztése. Elmondhatjuk a Siralmak énekesével, hogy "Az Úr kegyelmessége az, hogy még nincsen végünk; mivel nem fogyatkozik el az ő irgalmassága!"(Sir 3:22)

A közösségünk növekedett a járvány ideje alatt s ez az interaktív internetes alkalmazásnak, és közösségünk krisztusi életstílusának köszönhető. Isten Lelke gondunkat viselte és indította Attilát annak bevezetésére! Hála Istennek, Attila nem hezitált ennek az indíttatásnak! Ez is Isten Lelke jelenlétét jelzi számunkra, amint közösségünk szeretetteljes viselkedése is. Nem mi vagyunk jobbak, hanem Isten jár közöttünk. Vajon kifejezzük-e elégszer ezért hálánkat?

A közösség vezetőségével egyetértve, a tagság szinte teljessége részt vesz az adottságaihoz méltó szolgálatokban. Semmivel sem alábbvaló a szívünk munkájánál a bal kislábujjunk munkája s így azé, aki az adományokat gyűjti, mint aki a buletinünket szerkeszti, nyomtatja stb., netán Isten szavát közvetíti. Mindannyian egy testnek, Krisztus testének tagjai, alkotórészei vagyunk.

Gyülekezetünk egy fontos szolgálata, a csütörtök esti bibliaóra, melyet a munkamegosztás elve alapján Dr Havasi Katalin vállalta levezetni. Ez az interaktív forma alkalmas a bibliai igazságok mélyebb megismerésére, elmélyítésére és közösségünk formálására. Mivel ez a szolgálat típus új, természetesen gyermekbetegségek zavarják, melyet Nagy Orvosunk a szeretet mézével gyógyítgat.

Hadd ejtsek néhány szót a UCC Dél Kalifornia-Nevada Konferencia áldásos tevékenységéről, segítségéről, mellyel közösségünk szolgálatát segítik! Kiváló, gyakorlati hasznokkal járó tanfolyamokon jól felkészült oktatókkal segítik tevékenységünket. Csak nekik és azoknak legyünk hálásak, akik a csatlakozást munkálták, vagy még inkább Isten Lelkének, aki szelíd hangján indította, óvta ennek folyamatát azokban, akik azt megszervezhették?

"Ember tervez s Isten végez" mondja közmondásunk.
Mit tervezünk az előttünk álló évre?

Én elsősorban a krisztusi szeretet megismerését, gyakorlását tervezem, mely mindannyiunknak, sőt környezetünknek is, egy boldogabb életet eredményezhet. Ennek érdekében hanyagolni szeretném a közösségünk tagsága különböző vallási hagyományait és helyette kizárólag Megváltónk követését szeretném elérni minden lehetséges területen. Felejtsük El, Hogy mit tanít egy dologról a világ 10 ezernyi vallása! Mi kövessük Isten egyszülött Fiát, aki egyedül tökéletes és egyedül Ő ajándékozhat meg minket örök élettel! Amint Lukács apostol megfogalmazta az Apostolok cselekedeteiről írott könyvben: "És: "És nincsen senkiben másban idvesség: mert nem is adatott emberek között az ég alatt más név, mely által kellene nékünk megtartatnunk."(Acs 4:12)

Isten szeretete és az Ő kegyelme legyen és maradjon mindannyiunkkal, az Ő jósága szerint! Ámen!

-- Testvéri szeretettel: Bátori Zoltán, lelkipásztor, United Church of Christ

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