Our Purpose: The Partner Church Committee fosters a mutually supportive relationship with Cedar Lane’s partner church in the Transylvania region of Romania.
Our partner church activities are part of a large program (http://www.uupcc.org/) affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association that encourages and supports congregational partnerships between American Unitarian Universalists and UUs around the globe. For a history of the partner church movement, see http://www.uupcc.org/history.html.
Cedar Lane’s Partner Church: Cedar Lane’s program began in 1995 with our partner, the Unitarian Church in Dicsöszentmárton, which has about 700 members. The city of Dicsöszentmárton has a population of 20,000 persons, 25% of whom are ethnic Hungarians.
When our partnership was first established, Unitarians in Dicsöszentmárton and throughout Transylvania were struggling to recover from the effects of 40 years of Communist government. Support from UU churches in the United States continues to be an important source of inspiration to Unitarians in Transylvania.
Although Cedar Lane’s partner church is located in an urban area, most of the 120 Unitarian churches in Transylvania are in small villages. Nearly all Unitarians in Transylvania are ethnic Hungarians.
Unitarianism traces its religious roots back nearly 450 years to Transylvania. For information about this history, see http://www.uupcc.org/transpartners.html.
Joseph Priestley Scholarship Program
Fund raising takes place in April and May to support high school graduates at our partner church who pursue higher education. The scholarship program, which we believe is an important investment in improving the long-term prospects of our partner church community, began in 2002. We funded scholarships for16 students in 2009.
Travel and Friendships
Members from Cedar Lane have traveled to our partner church on many occasions on trips organized by the Partner Church Committee, and future trips will be planned. Rev. Roger Fritts, Rev. Heather Janules, and Rev. Kenneth MacLean have participated in trips to our partner church. The minister at our partner church and his wife were our guests in Bethesda in 1997, 2003, and 2009. In 2009, a lay congregational leader from Dicsöszentmárton also visited us. Many friendships between Cedar Lane members and members of our partner church have developed through these exchanges and continue to be sustained through letters and email.
The Partner Church Committee sponsors occasional events at Cedar Lane, such as Hungarian folk dancing and a Transylvanian Thanksgiving dinner, which are designed to give Cedar Lane members a sense of the history and culture of Unitarians in Transylvania.
Other Tangible Support
At various times over the years, the Partner Church Committee has supported an English-teaching program at our partner church, hosted summer visits by scholarship recipients, contributed to the financial assistance of elderly parishioners, and supported maintenance of the historic church building and the parsonage in Dicsöszentmárton. We remit a modest annual salary supplement to the minister and emeritus minister of our partner church, and we support an Internet connection to facilitate two-way communications between Bethesda and Dicsöszentmárton.
Members of the Partner Church Committee
Carol Bertaut, Chair (email@example.com; 301-587-2336)
Ibolya Ignat, Vice Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sharon Adler, Secretary
Karoly Viragh, Treasurer
The Partner Church Committee generally meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Visitors are welcome. Please check with the Chair or Vice Chair to confirm the date, time, and place of the next meeting.
If you would like to volunteer to be a member of the Partner Church Committee or to assist in other ways with its work, please contact the Chair or Vice Chair. This is an excellent way to help build relationships that yield many benefits—improving cultural understanding and helping to develop individual, religious, educational, and economic opportunities for Unitarians in another part of the world.
Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist