Evangelism

 

by Dr. Judit Gellerd

 

            Evangelism is a notion and practice that ordinarily would not be part of Unitarian Universalist tradition.  The Unitarian church is not an evangelical church.  Yet I feel compelled to write this essay on my ten-year work with two times two hundred churches in the United States and in Transylvania, and the resulting experience - a phenomenon for which I argue as being nothing short of evangelism. 

            The Edict of Torda, the Transylvanian Unitarian edict of religious tolerance in 1568, bestowed a great collective and personal responsibility on ministers to evangelize: “. . . Preachers everywhere shall preach the Gospel according to their understanding of it . . . for faith is a gift of God born from listening, and listening is through God’s word.”[1] 

            In the traditionally action-oriented Unitarian Universalist church, however, the meaning of the Evangelium goes beyond the pronouncement, the preaching of the Good News, and beyond a mere passive listening by the congregation.  Through listening, our faith will be awakened.  This self-realization prompts us to translate the Gospel into action.  One realizes the Good News through service to others which then translates into a transformation of a church.  The Good News for the church, therefore, will be the good news of a spiritual transformation through experiencing the power of joining in meaningful actions.  Such church is worth attending. 

            The spirit of the Gospel thus brings growth, and most of all, it brings positive changes within the church.  Giving the congregation a meaningful vision, a vision of transformation, and especially a focus grounded in deeper theological understanding, will encourage them to dream boldly, become generous as instruments of grace, and, eventually, will result in the realization of the church’s full potential.  And this can be most surprising. This model of inner evangelism is one path for the future.

            In 1990 a hundred and thirty American and Canadian Unitarian Universalist churches formed an one-to-one covenantal relationship with the same number of Transylvanian Unitarian churches.  Later the program widened to involve close to four hundred churches on both sides of the Atlantic. 

            Unitarians in Transylvania are a Hungarian minority within an oppressive Romanian state, which compares to the situation of the Tibetans within China.  The denominational structure of the Transylvanian Unitarian church--the oldest in the world--resembles to Methodism in America: there are five districts each with its own District Minister and its own Consistory elected by the constituent congregations, and the whole church presided over by a Bishop and a national Consistory representing the districts.

            The decades of Communist totalitarian rule, and its policy of cultural ethnocide, martyred my minister father and demoralized the churches.  In Christmas 1989 a bloody revolution was sparked by a Reformed (Calvinist) pastor, now Bishop László Tökés, and the Romanian dictator was overthrown.   The last plan of the dictator to bulldoze away eight thousand villages, fortunately failed, because of his death.  But the once prosperous Hungarian villages had already been economically crippled.

             At this precarious time North American churches were awakened by a call--my husband and I happened to be those awakening voices--to try to save the Transylvanian Unitarian tradition.  The Partner Church Program was launched by the Unitarian Universalist Association.  I volunteered to bring life into a theoretical program, and I have been called an “evangelist” for this cause.  The relationships have been facilitated and nurtured also by our formal organization, the Partner Church Council.  Today we witness deeply committed partner relationships between pairs of churches.  As a result hundreds of programs of mutual economic and spiritual revitalization sprang forth.  Today the Partner Church Program has been recognized by UUA President John Buehrens as “the largest and most significant grassroots movement of the century for the Unitarian Universalists in North America.”  He added: “It keeps the denomination healthy.”[2]

            As a Unitarian myself, I have a particular view of the issue of evangelism and I wish to argue from a Unitarian angle.  Historically Unitarians practice only an “inner evangelism,” an inner mission.   They don’t reach out.  Also, Unitarians in Transylvania do not stop at the mere preaching of the Gospel;  they put words into work.  Perhaps the strong action-centricity, translating the Gospel into action, is a strong Unitarian characteristic. 

            This approach stems from an axiological Christian view, the core of Unitarian theology.  Sixteenth century Unitarian Francis David wrote: “God’s word flows as the water and flies as a bird, nobody can raise mountains nor any impediments in its way.”[3]  “Jesus teaches us about the Kingdom of God, about forgiveness of sins;  he urges us to repent and believe in the Gospel, to go within our heart where the Christ implanted God’s grace...”[4]

            Francis David brought axiological Christian thought to light, to replace an ontological structure of medieval Christianity:  “Salvation, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, manifestation of God’s power, new birth, and good deeds were made through him [Jesus].  The Gospel of Jesus brings to life human values.”[5]  Jesus himself was the pinnacle of God’s creative work and utmost limit of human continuous perfection.  But it is not an unreachable limit for us--as Christians. 

            In an axiological Christian spirit, the good news is this: as humans, we have the divine potential to follow the example of Jesus, our ultimate ideal and teacher.  And, because we can, therefore we must.  Ours is not a comfortable religion.  It has the ultimate challenge of perfection.

            A keen quality-consciousness has been a key to survival of Transylvanian Unitarians during persecution.  György Enyedi in the sixteenth century emphasized: “The future will ask us not how many we are, but what values we represent on the scale of humanness.”[6]

            Unitarianism in the nineteenth and twentieth century is dominated by an increasing social awareness and the struggle for freedom. György Márkos, a nineteenth century Transylvanian preacher, expresses the spirit of his age:  “The true minister is one who not only preaches the Gospel, but one who lives by it;  one who not only reads the Bible but gives it into the hand of ordinary people;  one who not only encourages building schools, but himself takes up the shovel.  To spread the Evangelium means to serve the process of moral, cultural, spiritual, material uplift of the people.”[7]

            János Körmöczi calls for a step forward: “God has given the spirit of free will to us.  It is not enough to avoid evil; good must be done.  Every negative, neutral or passive position must be excluded from religious morality.  It is not enough to stay good - one must grow.”[8]

            Antal Koronka gave new meaning to action during the Hungarian Revolution for Independence in 1848: “If freedom is our natural right, let freedom be! . . . The mission of religion is to give divine sanction to civil rights and to support all social struggle for the nation.”. . .  “The supreme mission of Christianity is to present the new social ideas to the believers, to awaken ardent love in their soul for progressive ideals and to awaken their national consciousness.”[9]  “Stepping to the field of action”[10] for Mihaly Kis no longer meant just good Christian deeds, but patriotic, revolutionary actions. 

            But from then on the language of the pulpit would become even more of a “flower language”.  During repeated reigns of terror, preachers could not speak openly about the reality, yet they carried the torch before their people. The coded language of the pulpit was similar to the African-American slave songs, which often used Biblical language to disguise their political and social messages.  But as Jesus said: “He who has ears, let him hear.”

            Through four centuries, the “burning kiss from God” was passed from generation to generations of ministers.  “In the struggle and formation of our history, the pulpit has always played a prominent role.   Our faith and church are not based upon authority and wealth, nor a powerful organization, but on the Gospel and on the attraction of the human spirit for truth and justice.  The pulpit is the representative of the gospel.  The more powerful the pulpit is, the more firmly it serves Christ’s message, the stronger the Church becomes.”[11]

            Transylvanian Unitarians rejected a rigid dogmatism four hundred years ago.  The Transylvanian message is quite relevant today when progressive churches are trying to be non-dogmatic.  But American Unitarian Universalists try not even to be religious.  Being rooted in two quite different traditions in spite of similar names--Transyvlanian Unitarianism and North American Unitarian Universalism--I have an eye and an insight for both of these Unitarian traditions.   

            Present day American churches in general seem grand-scale businesses to an Eastern European, with their dozens of committees, sometimes involving half of the congregation in some leadership role or another.  This large-scale involvement suggests empowerment of members to participate, to run, to own the church.  But in many churches this virtue degenerates into power-games, militancy, flattering pride for the power-hungry, and ultimately bringing hurt and alienation to some members. 

            Where can these people turn with their wounds?  To another denomination?  Church shopping seems to be a common place in American culture.  People try out church after church to find the one that “fits” their need.  Unitarian churches of America are often called “the church of the revolving door.”  People, supposedly running away from abuses and spiritual wounds in other churches come to Unitarian churches which are known to cultivate and take pride in their broad spectrum of diversity and a much emphasized tolerance.  Tolerance toward all extremes - except Christianity,  political conservatism and fascism.  God language is seemly to be disguised, hymns de-Jesused.  The core principle is to encourage “otherness” to the level of eccentricity - to replace “traditional” church values.  Those who have the building blocks for a cohesive personal theology are lucky.  The majority, however, learn “politically correct” sound bites, phrases about total inclusivity and power in diversity and universal web of existence, and try ever so hard to be different in order to fit into the picture.           

            Some ministers seem to be just too absorbed by a concern to be politically correct and to please a most heterogeneous congregation.  In this busy search some lose the depth of faith.  “Spirituality” will be an umbrella for indiscriminately and superficially borrowing from other traditions, and staying shallow.  The tradition is, after all, not to have a tradition, rather bringing together anything that “sounds right” in our ever broadening ritual language. 

            “You say you are not a Christian, you don’t pray, you don’t take Communion, yet you call yourself a Unitarian; what is then your religious practice?”, an innocent Transylvanian Unitarian once asked a prominent American minister.

            “Tea ceremony”, was the answer, signaling that the person belonged to the “main stream” of the Unitarian Universalist movement.  How can North American Unitarians can have recognizable identity?

            But why do American Unitarians leave their church through the revolving door?  There are plenty of opportunities for involvement; there will be a Sunday sometime when one’s personal taste will be brought into the pulpit.  One is indulged as being unique--“very unique”--and just right, no matter how nasty or stingy one might be.  It is a comfortable church.  Why leave it?

            Rev. Roy D. Phillips gives multiple reasons for it in his book Transforming Liberal Congregations.  “People come to our congregation looking for bread.  We give them the stones of busyness and pseudo-power.”[12]  He quotes from Effective Church Leadership by Kennon Callahan: 

People come to a church longing for, yearning for, hoping for. . . [a] sense of roots, place, belonging, sharing, and caring.  People come to a church in our time with a search for community, not committee....

Eventually--and inevitably in some churches--the visitor discovers that the perspective is so institutionalized, the mentality and values are so organizational, and the behavior patterns are so functional that the people of that church are simply too preoccupied with their own busyness to welcome them, to share some personal warmth with them.

Jesus said, “I must be about my Father’s business.”  He did not say “busyness”.  But within some churches the people are so intent on their own busy activities and programs... that they cannot see or hear the desperation and profundity of another person’s search for community.[13]

           

            American Unitarian Universalists long for and seek spiritual depth in their religion, historical depth in their tradition.  And one place to find it is Transylvania.  The power of the Partner Church movement lies in this discovery of historic roots and of a faith that heals the “pessimism of the intellect with the optimism of the will”.[14]  Rev. Gary Smith, minister of First Parish Concord, Massachusetts, puts in this way:  “We need each other, more than emotionally, more than psychologically, more than socially.  We need each other spiritually, which has to do with the divine flame within each of us; with our spiritual mentors in Transylvania who had to fight for our faith, not in the time of the Council of Nicea, not in the Middle Ages, not at the time of the Reformation, but in our own time, in our own generation.  Even if they lost everything to wars and dictatorships, but they kept their faith.  They had the courage to stand up for something, to live a life far simpler than ours materially but richer in the spirit, a shared faith.  We have spiritual cousins to die for.  We must not neglect nor forget them.  We are the better for them.”[15] 

            Thus, a non-evangelical church - Transylvanian Unitarian - is evangelizing American Unitarian Universalists.

            Why is the simple faith of the Transylvanians so compelling for the sophisticated, educated American Unitarian Universalists?  Why does the encounter seem to fill a spiritual void on a large scale?   A Transyvlanian visiting minister intuitively answered it: “You Americans hold your faith far from your core.”  Religious identity, cultural identity is our core value in Transylvania.  And though we are born into our faith, it never came cheap to practice our religion.  Each generation had to fight for this basic right throughout the four centuries.  Ours is an active faith, an active existence against odds, against persecutions of all kinds--the cruelest being the Communist oppression. 

            Transyvlanian Unitarians take pride in having a coherent theological position which is positively formulated.  Though we deny certain precepts, our theology is not denial but affirmation, clear cut and simply postulated.  Because it is not abstract theory, but the very fabric of our living.  My faith is an active faith.  My religion is service to others through the transformative power of the Gospel. 

            We have always been aware that our faith will keep us.  It did.  Mine is not a narrow Unitarian apologetics.  I am not talking about a Unitarian denominational membership.  I am talking about faith, proclaiming the Good News, living the Gospel, and surviving by its power, by its empowerment.  We have survived as Protestants under the persecutions of the Counter-Reformation, survived as Unitarians when we had been considered too radical, survived as Christians under the anti-religious reign of terror of Communism.  Under oppression denominational identity is somewhat less defined.  The ultimate, shared goal, bringing forth the Kingdom of God, is not different for a Unitarian or a Református (Calvinist) or an Evangelical Lutheran--the three main minority churches of Transylvania.  Each of us as churches and as individuals have been a link--equally important--in a chain of Christian minority churches.  We were able to survive only in a united spirit and sense of community.  The weakest links had to be strengthened by others.  

            Today this small Transylvanian church of 80,000 members has become the clear spring where spiritually thirsty Americans make group pilgrimages seeking to recharge of their soul, renew their hope.  And one taken out of one’s setting, will maximize spiritual growth and transformation, “. . . for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”[16]       

            Rev. Peter Raible Unitarian Universalist minister confessed: 

 

I was not prepared for how holy the trip [to Transylvania] would prove to be.  What is so transforming, I found in no detached examination of our Transylvania movement, but in direct experience.  To hear parishioners sing their long banned national anthem as tears stream down their faces is before long to feel wetness on one’s own cheeks.  To sit in a worship service, not a word of which one can understand, and feel the depth of the spirit flowing.  To encounter the talented young people who are studying for our ministry there is to feel the “soul’s invincible surmise” that our small, fragile, precious faith in Transylvania has a future as well as a past.

My pilgrimage, as I suspect for most of Unitarians, did not strive to create a religious experience, but I found it again and again. The experience, simply put, was transformative.   Whatever North Americans may have done on behalf for their peers in Transylvania is more than repaid by the religious experience that have come to us by visiting there.  We return, I think, more deeply grounded in our own faith, more consecrated to seeing our Unitarian Universalist cause continue in this continent, and more assured that our religion has much to give in the hard times of life.[17]

           

            Thus, the Transylvanian experience evangelizes the religiously needy.

            American Unitarian churches need a focus that is grounded in deeper theological understanding, to bring a heterogeneous congregation together.  The project “Save Transylvania” through its inspiring and humbling experiences, provided precisely this focus to release American churches from a captivity of stagnation, financial worry, and preventing them from discovering their own full potentials.

The benefits of a new focus sometimes are hard to measure “objectively” for they are intangible.  However, in most churches the impact of the partnership dramatically changed the way congregation think and behave as religious community.            

Rev. David E. Bumbaugh, minister of the Unitarian Church of Summit, New Jersey’s reflection on the issue best summarizes the phenomenon. 

 

The church I currently serve is in an affluent New Jersey suburb of New York City. When I came to the church, almost nine years ago, it had a modest budget which was never quite adequate to its needs--a budget supported by an annual pledge drive which always a little more successful than the previous year, but never quite reached the goal. For years we struggled to finance a modest but not very imaginative program and we might have continued in that way for years longer had it not been for one very determined woman.

A member of the church decided that we should enter into a partnership with a congregation in Transylvania. The immediate response to her suggestion was politely negative.  After all, we said, we have so much we need to do here and cannot afford; and, we said, it would be unkind to make promises to Transylvanians and then not be able to keep them; besides, we said, why worry about Transylvania when there is so much to be done in Newark.

But this was a determined woman who was possessed of a dream. She planted that dream wherever she found a thimble-full of fertile soil, and she nurtured it and she tended it.   More than this, she took on her critics. She pointed out politely but firmly that our congregation was wealthy enough to do whatever it really wanted to do; that of course we would not make promises to our friends in Transylvania and fail to keep them--we are not that kind of people: and yes, there is much to be done in Newark, but the needs of Transylvania are not invalidated by the needs of Newark, and besides, in case no one had noticed, we weren't doing anything for Newark anyway.

Over the course of the year, her dream took root. The partnership was established. Our partners happened to be constructing a new building--the first new Unitarian church to be built in Transylvania in many years. Over the next few years, we raised enough money to pay for the heating plant; to purchase some chairs; to obtain a car for the minister; to subsidize the needy in the parish, to buy a bell for the tower, and to bring the minister and his wife to the United States to visit with us.

As an unexpected consequence, we gradually developed a new vision of ourselves and what possible for us.  Our pledge began to increase significantly.  The social action budget went from $300 to $13,000 in one year, allowing us to begin to respond to needs in Newark and other communities around us. The Transylvania partner church became a regular part of our budget. Our sanctuary, which had not been painted in twenty years, was painted. Funds were raised to restore our marvelous tracker organ. Funds were donated to purchase two baroque violins. A handicapped access ramp we had postponed building for years was constructed. We added a full time minister of religious education to the staff. And we entered into a covenant with two other congregations to establish a new Unitarian Universalist Church in our area. As a congregation we began to realize what we were capable of. We stopped worrying about meeting the budget and began to focus our concern on realizing our dreams. And the effect was to transform us as a people, encouraging us to act out of a culture of abundance, which was a more accurate description of reality, than the culture of artificial scarcity we had created for ourselves and which had dominated our existence for so many years. The result of our partnership with a Transylvanian congregation was that we were empowered to embrace our possibilities as a religious community and to become the people we dreamed of being.[18]

           

            At the beginning of our partner church movement in 1992 I had to invent models, ways, programs, and find answers to many questions about church partnership.  I acted from sheer faith and enthusiasm when I ventured into the unknown.  “Your enthusiasm and example motivates us in our own efforts to reach out for people, far away from us, but sisters and brothers in faith,” Rev. Max Goebler wrote in a letter.  In the past ten years we have made a difference in the lives of the Transylvanian sisters and brothers in faith and in the process our lives in America have changed. 

            A phenomenon that best argues for the evangelizing impact of the Partner Church movement is the involvement of the youth in it. Children in the Northampton, Massachusetts church raised money - over a thousand dollars - from cookie sales to repair the 500-year-old bell-tower of their Transylvanian sister church Karacsonyfalva.  Teenagers from Fairfax, Virginia spend summer after summer in their partner village Szentgerice, building a memorial medical clinic for the Transylvanians. 

            In the same spirit, schoolchildren in a denominational school at Szekelykeresztúr, Romania who benefit from American sponsorship, try to express their gratitude by volunteering in their community, such as caring for abandoned children in the next door orphanage.

Cultural and religious understanding and dialogue is taken place as a result of the partnership.  Prejudices, deeply rooted in history, must be addressed under the encouragement of the American partner.   And this inevitably leads to the same attitude back home, as Rev. Robert L. Eller-Isaacs, minister of First Unitarian Church, Oakland stated:  “As grace is always promised yet never fully known I say in fear and trembling that we across the Western sea have begun to live beyond the boundaries of our prejudice.  Our revolution which began two hundred years ago was all about equality and mutual respect.  We know we’ve yet to claim true victory but we begin with the promise of the reign of love, in hope our promises by prayer may turn to practice.”[19]

 The joy for life of those who are rich is spirit, though poor in material things will teach affluent Westerners to give up what Rev. David Bumbaugh calls “the rigid culture of scarcity, always asking ‘can we afford it?’ rather than asking what are we called to be and to do, and, then, how can we make that dream come true.”. . . “An unexpected lesson we have learned through the years of our partnership is this: People give because they need to give for their own spiritual welfare; people give to a vision, to a dream, and they give not out of guilt but out of an expanded sense of what is possible and out of their own sense of abundance and blessing and gratitude. And the more they give, the greater is the blessing they receive.”[20]

            There are other tangible ways of “evangelizing” in each other’s churches.  Unitarian ministers and seminary students visit their North American partner churches and introduce “Transylvanian type” worship services and Communion into Unitarian Universalist churches.   When I first served Communion in the United States in a mostly humanistic Californian congregation, I had been warned that most of the congregation would abstain from partaking the Lord’s Supper.  But surprisingly almost the entire congregation came forward and surrounded the Lord’s table.  The impact was an instant and profound spiritual transformation--a “conversion”.  This is a consistent experience of those who celebrate similar worship services. And more and more American Unitarian Universalist churches wish to introduce Communion, at least once a year.  A replica of gothic Communion chalices, that we commissioned at the memory of my martyred Transylvanian Unitarian minister father, has become a symbol of the connectedness through ritual and liturgy between Unitarians in the United States and Transylvania.

            Most of the North American partner churches organize annual Transylvania   celebrations, mostly fund-raiser events with a Hungarian dinner, Hungarian music, folk dance and special worship service on Sunday morning. I have been a guest speaker and violinist and cooked at many such events all over the country.  I recently introduced a new type of “ritual”: synchronized worship services.  The bells of the Transylvanian partner church toll at the same time as of their American peer.  We sing similar hymns--each in one’s own tongue and the two congregations reflect on and pray for each other.  These celebrations are powerful reminders of how real and deep our connectedness is with our sisters and brothers in faith.  More and more Americans are studying Hungarian and more church choirs sing Bartók and Kodály music in Hungarian.  American churches are decorated with Transylvanian traditional embroidery and carvings.  The Transylvanian Unitarian crest with a serpent and dove on it, symbolizing a Unitarian principle based on Matthew 10:16, is now part of American church decoration.  In exchange, the flaming chalice finds a home in Transylvanian churches.

            And, eventually, our stories are being collected and shared.  I edit and publish a volume of sermons and stories every other year, to inspire, to share our collective wisdom, to honor inventive engagement of generous churches and individuals.

            The Partner Church program has introduced an inner evangelism which is mutual and dialogical.  It is not the “Americans know better” type of “evangelizing”.  But, there is still a dilemma: how far can we go in our mutual attempt to change the other?        

            One of Transylvania’s virtues is deep rootedness, stability, continuity, versus the American experience of uprootedness, moving on, changing constantly and losing tradition.  The stubborn stability of the Transylvanian church has been one of its main strengths during the past centuries.  One can feel their anxiety and resistance against being changed from their old ways of worshipping and managing church life.  Rev. Carl Scovel, minister of King’s Chapel, Boston, preached about this: “This is a living faith and this faith is our parent, our nurturing and character-giving tradition, especially for us at King’s Chapel whose prayerbook and liturgy literally embody the faith of the sixteenth-century Unitarians.  We are fortunate, we are blessed, to have this tie with the church in Kolozsvár.  For these people represent our theological and ecclesiastical source; they are the spring and the well...”[21]

            But the Partner Church structure, the richness of its programs and interactions, eventually makes a healthy cross-fertilization of ideas and models.  American imperialism, the “rootless, faceless monoculture” will never truly threaten Transylvania because of their tradition-consciousness and pride in their culture--but also because of the humility of the American partners.  As Rev. Francis Buckmaster warns: “Perhaps the most important thing we can do, in our coming together, partner church with partner church, is to constantly remind one another to keep asking: ‘What is central?’  ‘What is the better way?’, taught by Jesus. And though we take pride in giving, providing each other gifts and hospitality, the Gospel calls us to accomplish something more: to live together centered in God.  Then will every connection and every sharing of gifts make the living God manifest among us.”[22]

 

            We have experienced a shared global awareness as the most desired goal of today’s evangelism.  A popular hymn that Protestants and Catholics sing,     

            “In Christ there is no East and West,

            in him no South or North,

            But one great family bound by love

            Throughout the whole wide earth.”

beautifully harmonizes with the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

            “Today’s world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity.  In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate.  Some could even exist in total isolation.  But nowadays, whatever happens in one region of the world will eventually affect, through a chain reaction, peoples and places far away.  Therefore, it is essential to treat each major problem, right for its inception, as a global concern.  It is no longer possible to emphasize, without destructive persecution, the national, racial, or ideological barriers which differentiate us.  Within the context of our new interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others. . . . For the future of mankind, for a happier, more stable and civilized world, we must all develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood.”

            I see a natural symbol of evangelism is an the banyan tree.  Religions and churches everywhere are its far-reaching branches--which drop new roots around, to anchor, to protect, to nurture the tree: the shared good news.  The stronger the new roots are, the stronger the tree will be, from which we all draw the nurturing energy.   And we are all connected by it.

            Missionizing and proselytizing, mere preaching and passive witnessing might not be good news any more.  Because of its tolerance of others’ conscience and reasons for practicing their faith, Transylvanian Unitarian Christianity has been accused of not being evangelical.  But there is a good news that is lived in axiological Christianity which is evangelical, though not in the tired old understandings of evangelism.  One’s transformation, being touched in one’s core by the true spirit of the Gospel, brings about fruits in action.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Books

Erdö, John. Transylvanian Unitarian Church: Chronological History and Theological Essays  (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1990)

Gellerd, Imre. A Burning Kiss From God to Preach Truth: Four Centuries of Transylvanian Unitarian Preaching. Translated by Dr. Judit Gellerd (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1980)

Gellerd, Imre. Four Centuries of Transylvanian Unitarian Thought. Translated from Hungarian into English by Dr. Judit Gellerd (unpublished dissertation)

Gellerd, Imre. Truth Liberates You: The Message of Transylvania’s First Unitarian Bishop Francis David . Translated from Hungarian into English by Dr. Judit Gellerd (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1990)

Gellerd, Judit (ed.), Ending the Storm: UU Sermons on Transylvania (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion and Uniquest, 1996)

Gellerd, Judit (ed.), Guidebook for Unitarian Universalist Partner Churches (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion and Uniquest, 1997)

Gellerd, Judit. (ed.), In Storm, even Trees Lean on Each Other: UU Sermons on Transylvania (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1993)

Phillips, Roy D. Transforming Liberal Congregations for the New Millennium (St. Paul, Minnesota: Unity Church-Unitarian, 1996)

Uniárius Szószék (Kolozsvár, Jubileumi kiadás, 1910), my translation.

 

 

 



[1]John Erdö, Transylvanian Unitarian Church: Chronological History and Theological Essays  (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1990), pp. 63-64.

[2] Interview with Dr. John Buehrens, President, Unitarian Universalist Association, Boston, September, 1995.

[3] Imre Gellérd, Truth Liberates You: The Message of Transylvania’s First Unitarian Bishop Francis David . Translated from Hungarian into English by Dr. Judit Gellerd (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1990), p. 18.

[4] Ibid., pp. 41-42.

[5] Ibid., p. 41.

[6] Imre Gellérd, Four Centuries of Transylvanian Unitarian Thought. Translated by Dr. Judit Gellerd (unpublished dissertation).

[7] Judit Gellérd (ed.), In Storm, even Trees Lean on Each Other: UU Sermons on Transylvania (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1993), p. 12.

[8] Imre Gellérd, A Burning Kiss From God to Preach Truth: Four Centuries of Transylvanian Unitarian Preaching. Translated by Judit Gellérd (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion, 1980), p. 37.

[9] Ibid., p. 69.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Uniárius Szószék (Kolozsvár, Jubileumi kiadás, 1910), my translation.

[12] Roy D. Phillips, Transforming Liberal Congregations for the New Millennium (St. Paul, Minnesota: Unity Church-Unitarian, 1996), p. 6.

[13] Ibid., pp. 7-8.

[14] Quoted from Rev. Phillip Hewett’s unpublished sermon, preached in Brassó, Romania, September, 1998

[15] Judit Gellérd (ed.), Guidebook for Unitarian Universalist Partner Churches (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion and Uniquest, 1997), p. 74.

[16] Exodus 3:5

[17] Judit Gellérd, Guidebook, op. cit., p. 5-6.

[18] Ibid., pp. 53-54.

[19] Judit Gellérd (ed.), Ending the Storm: UU Sermons on Transylvania (Chico, California: Center for Free Religion and Uniquest, 1996), p. 23.

[20] Judit Gellérd (ed.), Guidebook, op. cit., pp. 54-55.

[21] Judit Gellérd (ed.), In Storm, op. cit., p. 23.

[21] Judit Gellérd (ed.), Ending the Storm, op. cit., p. 18.