Since January 2012, thanks to the generosity of members and friends of our fellowship, we have been able to fund scholarships for roughly half the tuition and expenses to help the youth of our partner congregation in
For the past 23 years, our congregation has been partnered with a Unitarian congregation in the village of Mészkő, which is in the Transylvanian region of Romania. When our congregation entered the relationship in 1993, this faraway church in a tiny village, was an unknown quantity to all of us. As the relationship has matured, we have learned much from each other. We now realize that 21st century changes such as the exodus of young adults from villages to cities, and economic necessity, will have a far greater influence on the success of Unitarian village congregations than almost anything else.
Education is one long-term strategy to deal with the rapid social and economic changes in Eastern Europe, but going to college means paying tuition and expenses of approximately $1,000 per year. This is beyond the reach of many families in Mészkő. The subsidies provided by our scholarship program have made it possible for five students from our partner church to attend university. Two years ago, Emőke Novák became the first Mészkői youth to ever graduate from University (majoring in English and Spanish). Today Emőke works in a call center in Cluj serving customers in the US. She is now working on her Masters in Business Administration. She also serves on the Partner Church Committee for the congregation. In December, she wrote this message to our congregation:
On behalf of the Mészkői Unitarian Congregation, the minister, Róbert Bálint Zoltán, and his family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with hope, love, and great things. During the holidays, you will definitely be in our hearts and our thoughts.
The warmest greetings from Mészkő!
Mészkői Unitarian Congregation”
The Boise Partner Church Committee hopes to be able to continue to subsidize expenses for qualifying students of the congregation. A scholarship committee consisting of three members from Boise and three board members from Mészkő collaborate to determine who has met the eligibility requirements of the scholarship. The Mészkői subcommittee provides periodic reports, and accounting for the expenditures under the scholarship fund. Students receiving the scholarships are responsible for maintaining passing grades and provide a recap of the year. After graduation, and after attaining employment, every student is expected to pay back to the fund 20% of the total scholarship amount (over a five year period). This will help to ensure that future students will have the same opportunities.
On behalf of the Partner Church committee, I encourage you to help maintain this worthy cause. And also, I invite you to consider traveling to Mészkő Over the years, 26 members of our congregation have visited our village (some more than once). Please contact me if you would like more information about travel opportunities.