Partner Church Ministry Team
"Don't be afraid, just have faith"
Unity Church has a partner church, the Unitarian church in Homorodszentpeter, Transylvania, Romania (Saint Peter in the Homorod River valley). This is the only church in a rural village of about 200 people. The phrase "Don't be afraid, just have faith" was suggested as a motto for our partnership by Rev. Kinga-Reka Szekely, minister at Homorodszentpeter, in a sermon preached to the congregation of Homorodszentpeter and a group of Unity pilgrims in August, 2001.
The Homorod valley is in the foothills of the Harghita mountains. The Homorod River (we would call it a stream) runs through the valley. A road parallels the river, and villages lie along the road, a few kilometers apart. Fields and pastures dot the hillsides, which are topped by large wooded areas. Homorodszentpeter is small, about 210 people living in 106 homes, and almost entirely Unitarian. The Unitarian church is the only church in the village. Houses have electricity, but no telephones and no natural gas. Only two of the houses have indoor toilets, but many have wood-fired hot water heaters. There are 14 cars in the village, a number of tractors and one combine. Almost every family farms and gardens and most sell some milk. The host families that we stayed with are probably not representative of the village, as they were probably the more affluent families. The rest of this section provides a snapshot of the host families.
Our host families had an average of 4-5 cows, 3-4 hogs, some sheep, lots of chickens and 2-3 dogs. About half the families had cats, ducks or geese and a horse. Besides farming and gardening, almost every host family has some kind of paying job. The average cash income appeared to be $40 to $50 US dollars per month.
About half our host families had two dwelling units on their property. The homes had 3 to 5 rooms. All but one had running water, but as mentioned previously, only two had indoor toilets. They all had television, and most had propane ranges, refrigerators and washing machines.
The daily routine in the summer consists of long days of work, starting about 5:30 AM and not ending until about 11:30 or midnight. Breakfast was after the morning chores were done, usually about 8:00 AM. Lunch seemed to happen sometime around 1:00 - 2:00 PM, with supper often not occuring until after the animals had been cared for sometime between 8:00 and 10:00 PM. All of the host families drank alcohol, and most meals started with a shot of palinka, even breakfast.
Pilgrims and Host Families Sing Beke Dal
Partner Church Resources
The History of Unity Church's Partner Church Program (PDF)
Project Harvest Hope: Economic Development in the Homorod Valley
Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council
Partner Church Photos
This slideshow is from a recent pilgrimage to Unity's Partner Church in Homorodszentpeter, Transylvania.
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