Boise, Idaho and Mészkő, Transylvania
The sixth principle of the Unitarian Universalist purposes and principles is "the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all." Being a partner with the congregation in Mészkő, Transylvania, has helped our fellowship realize this goal. It has been the bridge that connects our congregation to the world. Our partnership with Mészkő over the last two decades has helped our congregation to grow in understanding of the impact of social action.
Contributions from members in Boise helped fund the construction of the new Ferenc Balázs Community House, which was completed in the fall of 2012. Our partner church members have pictures of the construction and each other online.
The Reverend David Keyes notes: "Churches involved in global political and economic concerns become more involved in local political and economic concerns. An opening-up occurs in congregation after congregation... Global action often results in correlated local action, as a global partner... increases its commitment to fund social justice projects, or forms a new committee to provide local services to those less fortunate."
One of the major current goals of the congregation in Mészkő is to help preserve the legacy of Ferenc Balazs, the young minister who served the congregation in the 1930s. Balazs' vision of community building is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago. His legacy includes his teachings and the historic church and parsonage which the congregation hopes can be used for youth camps for Unitarian youth from Transylvania. Our relationship and our financial assistance can help the Mészkő congregation realize their goals.
Members of the Boise Fellowship have made several pilgrimages to Mészkő and Idaho has had visitors from Transylvania. In the summer of 2010, the BUUF Women's Quilt Project delivered a gift of love and connection. The word had spread through the village that there was a surprise gift from the women of BUUF. No one saw the quilt until the formal presentation at the close of their church service on Sunday morning.
Irene Rush read Harriet Shaklee's words in English. Mészkő's minister Robert Balint prepared his translation carefully, "Harriet's words are poetic. I want to be sure to translate them in their poetic style." Alan Schwartzman and Mike Weiss held up the quilt for all to see.
Sunday night there was a congregational party at the Community House. The youth had cleaned the little building and set up benches and tables, and helped the women prepare Potato Goulash with Sausage. The men brought soda, beer, homemade wine, palinka and loud Hungarian singing for after supper. There were 70 people from the congregation. Not everyone could fit which was a perfect demonstration as to why they needed a bigger community house for social gatherings and warm winter services. (With Boise's financial help, a new community house has been built.)
Irene Rush described each quilt block; with nothing like quilting in their folk tradition, the women of Mészkő were fascinated. Their folk art is their beautiful embroidery and it is unique to their region. They loved seeing the photos of the BUUF women getting together to do the quilt. Twelve women in the village meet throughout the winter over tea and cookies and embroidery together. They understood perfectly.
In a return gift, the women of our partner church collaborated with us in making unique embroidered stoles for our BUUF choir. There was a great deal of discussion about design, color, fabric, pattern and ideas sent by our Music Director, Carrie Bastian. Money for materials and labor was refused, "This is our gift to you." Making thirty one stoles was shrugged off as, "No problem." They only reluctantly agreed to accept a donation of $10 per stole which will be used to purchase something inside the new Community House. In 2011, Tom von Alten and Jeanette Ross visited Mészkő as part of a choir tour with singers from around the USA and Translyvania, and were able to receive the gift in person.
Our choir members wear them joyfully for our performances in Boise.