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Our Partner Church
The Unitarian Church in Torda
Transylvania, Romania

Torda Church Exterior

Confirmation class in Torda 2005

Inside the Torda Church

1992 - The Blossoming of a partnership: Larry and Dirk Coburn visited several Unitarian churches in Transylvania, including Torda
1993: The Revs. Harry and Judy Hoehler visited Torda, accompanied by Francis and Pam Brooks, Larry and Alixe Coburn, Barbara Coburn, Dirk Coburn, Sally Kahn, and Tom and Peg VanDuyne, all from the First Parish Church of Weston, plus Peter and Vicky Coccoluto from King's Chapel, Boston.
1994: The Rev. Ferenc Fazakas, minister of the Torda Unitarian church, and his wife Rose Fazakas visited Weston. Harry Hoehler brought Rev. Fazakas to Lancaster, where he met Tom Wintle.
Reverends Fazakas, Hoehler, and Wintle at the Lancaster, MA church
2000: The Rev. Thomas Wintle and Larry and Gabriela Coburn visited Torda to helpcelebrate the re-consecration of the refinished Unitarian church. See Tom Wintle's sermon on visiting Torda in 2000 (http://www.firstparishweston.org/sermons/wintlesermons/transylvania.html)
2005: The Rev. Laszlo Kiss (pronounced Kish), minister of the Torda church, and his wife Mathild, and daughter Anna, visited Weston for ten wonderful days in October. See the "Kiss Chronicles" at http://www.firstparishweston.org/sitearchive/2005/kissvisit.pdf

2008: In August, sixteen First Parishioners (pictured below with their hosts) made a pilgrimage to Torda as part of the year-long All-Parish Service project with our Partner Church. Click here for some personal reflections of this visit.

Torda Pilgrims and Hosts
For additonal photos of the 2008 trip, see http://firstparishweston.org/photos

2011: Upon completion of First Parish's renovation of its historic Hook and Hastings organ, organist Terry Decima played a celebratory recital on May 22, 2011. A free-will offering was taken to benefit the restoration of the organ in the Torda church. The work was completed in the late fall of 2011.

Pipes removed
pipes to be repaired
repairs completed
restored Torda organ
2011 and 2012: Members of First Parish's Partner Church Committee and other interested parishioners began "Soup on Sundays," with parishioners making and selling soup during Coffee Hour after worship to benefit our Partner Church in Torda. Click here to learn more and for recipes for some of the soups served.

History: There have been Unitarians in Transylvania since the 1500s. In fact, it was a Unitarian king, John Sigismund, who in 1568 issued the world's first edict of religious toleration. Most of the medieval world operated under the principle that the religion of the ruler would be the religion of the people, but here the Unitarians welcomed a sharing with Orthodox, Catholics, and Calvinists. They have a most impressive and distinguished history.

-- Tom Wintle sermon 2000

Where is it?
Transylvania is located in central Europe in the northwest portion of Romania.  It is "a land of rolling green hills and beautiful valleys, of small, red clay tile-roofed villages and walled, medieval cities. The beautiful, snow-capped Carpathian Mountains loom in the distance. It is a poor place economically, but rich in the beauty of its land and in its friendly and hospitable people" (H. Babcock, 2001).

Hungarians in Romania:
The Unitarians in Transylvania are proud of their Hungarian heritage   and speak Hungarian in their churches.  Transylvania was once the eastern part of the old Kingdom of Hungary  (it means "the land beyond (or through) the forest" (beyond the forest of Hungary) and was an independent country from 1543 to 1691. Although it has been part of Romania since 1920, 30 to 40 percent of Transylvania's population is Hungarian. In Romania overall, only about seven percent of the population is Hungarian (about 2 million out of apopulation of more than 22 million); 89 percent of the population is Romanian; Roma (Gypsy),Germans (Saxons), Ukrainians, Russians and Turks make up the remaining four percent.

For historical maps of Transylvania, see the online text of E. M.Wilbur's Our Unitarian Heritage at http://www.sksm.edu/research/publications/ouh.pdf.

The History of the Partner Church Movement:
The UU Partner Church Council was founded in June 1993 to focus and coordinate the enormous grassroots energy of dozens of UU churches which had formed partnerships with Unitarian churches in Central Europe following the collapse of Communism in December 1989. The PCC now supports the partnerships of almost 200 North American UU churches partnered with Unitarians and Universalists in Transylvania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Khasi Hills of India, The Philippines, and Poland. The truly significant activities of the Partner Church program are carried on by hundreds of volunteers at the congregation and district levels.


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Created: Sep 19, 2005   |   Modified: Mon, Oct 6, 2008