Light rain was falling the night we arrived in Budapest and we realised that we would
miss the Kitsch Party, a way to turn something cultural into a souvenir like. It is a part
of the Youth Presbytery meeting held by the church of Scotland in Budapest (February
21-23, 2014). Around 18 young people came and participated in this annual meeting.
The driver of the airport transfer who picked us at the Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport
dropped us at the Madách Square which is located only few metro stops away
from the church. We managed to find which metro to take despite our inability to
YOUTH PRESBYTERY 2014
speak Hungarian, and found out that Budapest transportation system is very reliable
and does not let you wait when you miss a trem or a metro.
As we walk through the street where the church is located, the huge iron gates in
the buildings we passed, caught our eyes. The gates were designed in such a way that
made us wonder why the Hungarian installed these gates at their homes. Perhaps the
best phrase to describe these gates is beautifully-intimidating, that besides it functions
as the door of the house, it is also a sign that the household is safe and protected.
We were welcomed in a very warm and friendly atmosphere and everyone was
about to get ready for dinner. Two participants from Regensburg were in the kitchen
to prepare the dinner while the rest of the participants got to know each other at the
dinner table. Aaron Stevens, the church pastor, introduced us a short Scottish song
that we sang together as a way to be grateful for the meals before us. Our stomachs
stopped growling as we saw the meals that were served. Carrot soup, baked potatoes,
and goulash are among the delicious dishes on the table. What a fest!
The dinner made us happilyfull and ready for the next session. We gathered in a
small room, next to the dining hall, where we discussed and shared about “ups” and
“downs” on that day. Many poured out what they thought about that day and some
shared about the Christianity life. This session did not last long since it was already
late and all were tired and sleepy.
The accommodation given by the committee is located in the area of a Hungarian
church, in the side of the west Budapest which was called Buda in the past. There we
had breakfast together before heading to the church in the next morning.
On Saturday we had various activities which are morning worship, workshops,
sightseeing time, and preparation for the Sunday service. The workshops have two topics.
The first topic is about the connection between faith and being single. It was conducted
by Erzsébet Komlósi, Director of Scripture Union, Hungary. She addressed
some verses in Bible, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, about being single
in Christianity that we should have clear vision about what God wants for us instead
of following the worldly opinions. Every participant in the workshop shared
their idea about what we could do as a single Christian that could enhance our Christianity
life and be an example for others.
Before proceeding to the second workshop we started preparing for the Sunday
service in which all participants contributed their talents in music and drama making.
It lasted few hours before we went out together to have free time for sightseeing. The
committee brought us around Budapest to witness the main sights and historic places.
The first place we visited was Halászbástya (Fisherman’s Bastion) which sitting
atop of the Castle District in the side of Buda. It offers a panoramic view of the Danube
river to Pest. We continued to see the Buda Castle (Budavári Palota), a historical castle
and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, and now is a home to the Budapest
History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery, and National Széchényi Library.
As if that were not enough, the committee brought us to a monument which is
rich with its political history, Hősök Tere (Heroes Square) that was completed in
1900. Few minutes walk from there we visited Vajdahunyad vára (Vajdahunyad Castle)
in Budapest’s City Park. The short sightseeing offered too many sites in Budapest
that we even could not memorize but has triggered our curiosity about the city.
Around 5 o’clock we came back to the church for the second workshop. The second
workshop is about ”the connection between faith and what I do”. It was delivered
by Tom Hoppel, Yoga instructor and member of St. Columba’s Church. He introduced
Yoga to the young participants and how Yoga has affected his faith and life. We were
allowed to share our thoughts about Yoga, a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline.
Some participants and their relatives practice Yoga and found it helpful. Most of the
participants agree that Yoga can help shaping our life to a better state. However when
the instructor asked what Yoga is, most of us did not know what it is about. We
thought it was just stretching and regulating one’s stress through breathing. Most of
us did not know that Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yug, which means “to
yoke” the spirit and physical body together. The initial purpose behind Yoga is to
achieve union with the Hindu concept of God but it does not mean that the purpose of
every Yoga practitioner is this, but merely to enhance their health.
The presence of Yoga in our community has gained much attention and it is now
introduced in the school curriculum. Many of Yoga practitioner does not know the philosophy
behind Yoga and instead, there is a growing movement of Christians who are
engaging in “Holy Yoga”. Tolerance to adopt the Eastern religions practices in order to
get enlightenment and the new age movement that led us to believe all lead to one,
have been growing. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes
to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
This workshop excludes biblical guidance to the practice of Yoga and hence we
did not get clear vision about what Yoga is according to Bible. As the Bible says “but examine
everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21)”.
After this workshop we continued to practice for the Sunday service. It was surprising
that we could use our talents in music, drama making, and leadership to lead
the service. Some people played the wind instruments in the form of ensemble, piano,
and guitar while some others are very talented in acting and thus arranged the drama
Finally the day came. We arrived in the church earlier to practice for the last
time. Some of us probably was nervous while seeing the chairs, one by one, being
taken. But as the service started, we realized that the service on that day was so colorful.
It was true that young people should move the church since we were given so
many talents to do it.
We chose to sing Amazing Grace in acapella, led a song with wind instruments,
and formed a vocal group and sang a contemporary Christian song “Trading My Sorrows”.
The preaching was replaced with a short drama played by the Youth Presbytery.
This drama topic is to remind us that caring is shown when we give our time to those
This Youth Presbytery has inspired us to use our talents to serve God. Sometimes
we may feel that something is missing in the church. That could be the youth movement.
We still remember what one of the church members said that day. She thanked
for the music we sang and played. And we thanked God for the talents given to us.
Naomi & Linda
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God” –