Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Eastern europe

After a few days back home and on holiday I am able to digest a great few days visiting Methodism in eastern/central europe. I got to Serbia and spent a couple of days with the faithful few folk making up the Methodists there.

There was the 'family feel' here as in Hungary, whereby a small community, dwarfed by other Christian traditions, lives in a culture religiously and culturally challenging to it. This gives a warmth to their fellowship, and they all seem to know each other. They are currently beginning to find ways of 'opening up' and one little church was running the local 'kindergarten' in the village.

The last morning in Serbia was spent visiting the ecumenical humanitarian organisation (EHO). To be honest I hadn't come across much 'ecumenism' on this visit and so was interested to see what such a project looked like. It was formed by 5 contracting denominations, including a Greek Catholic tradition, Reformed and Lutherans as well as Methodism. British Methodism contributes to the project via the Fund for World Mission.

What a good work it does. It provides pastoral support for cancer victims, and a major project for the small but growing numbers of HIV/AIDS victims. And it does major work among Roma communities who, are being sent back to these areas from which they fled years ago in the War years. However they return to very little: no proper housing, paperwork, employment. EHO are a major player in helping them in this dire situation.

So I returned ready for a handful of days off (the first since Christmas) but, as always, deeply moved and impressed by Christians living in this needy and wonderful world.

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