Hungary

Hungary has a population of nearly 10 million people in an area the size of Indiana, 1.7 million of whom live in the capital city of Budapest. Hungary is one of the more economically advanced of the Eastern European countries and is one of the first of the formerly communist countries to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The people of Hungary are primarily Roman Catholic, but there is also a strong Lutheran and Reformed presence. In fact, the Reformed Church in Hungary, with whom we partner, is many times larger than the Reformed Church in America and traces its history directly back to the Reformation and John Calvin. Because Hungary used to encompass a much larger territory, there are large Hungarian populations in what are now Romania (Transylvania), Slovakia, western Ukraine (known as Carpath Ukraine), and Yugoslavia.

RCA mission coworkers in Hungary work to empower the Roma (Gypsy) people, who are extremely poor and isolated from the rest of society. They also work with volunteers who teach and serve in Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine.

Bertalan Tamas

The Reformed Church in Hungary is one of the largest Reformed communions in the world, but its congregations are still recovering from the oppression of the communist era. Because of political and religious restrictions under communism, many churches were only able to minister inside their own buildings. Now, more than 20 years after Hungary gained freedom from communism, Bertalan Tamás helps Hungarian pastors to develop a new sense of mission in their congregations.

Dick & Carolyn Otterness

Roma (Gypsy) people make up the largest ethnic minority in Central and Eastern Europe. Many are very poor and isolated, mostly illiterate, and almost universally unemployed. Dick and Carolyn Otterness work with the Hungarian Reformed Church to implement a national Roma mission strategy. Together they support church leaders and Roma congregations and work at building bridges between the church and secular society. They also work with Roma to improve access to health care and education. Hospitality is a big part of their ministry.