What is a “Partner Church?”
A Partner Church is a congregation that our church is affiliated with because of a shared religious history. Some affiliations were established as early as 1920. Around 1990, Follen began its affiliation with a church in Transylvania, Romania, after our former minister, the Reverend Polly Guild, visited Eastern Europe just as Communism was collapsing.
What is the “shared religious history” that our Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington, Massachusetts, has in common with our Unitarian Partner Church in Transylvania? Both churches are rooted in the historical belief in the “Oneness of God.” We share the belief that people should be free to practice the religion of their choice.
These beliefs were preached by Francis David, minister to the court of King John Sigismund of Transylvania. In 1568, the king proclaimed these Unitarian beliefs in the Edict of Torda (a city just a few miles from our partner village)—thus becoming the first and only Unitarian king in history.
Our partner congregation is ethnically Hungarian, as are all Unitarian Churches in Transylvania, which was part of Hungary until a World War I treaty gave Transylvania to Romania. So Unitarians are both an ethnic minority and a religious minority in Romania.
To sustain and deepen the relationship between Follen and our Partner Church in Transylvania, sharing the roots of the Unitarian faith.
To widen and encourage personal relationships with Transylvanian parishioners through scholarships, visits, and communication; giving and receiving in ways that reflect our spiritual values and commitment to social justice.
To explore opportunities for connections to communities or groups elsewhere in the world where we can also support and endorse our Unitarian Universalist values.
How do we support our Partner Church?
Since 1998, our Partner Church Committee has raised funds for:
- Scholarships to fund high school and college education for their students
- Building projects such as renovations to the church, organ, parsonage and community center
- Music and religious education programs
- Support for the elderly
- Support for the minister and his family
- Visits to Follen for the minister, his family, and congregation members
How does our Partner Church support us?
Our Partner Church has hosted many groups from Follen during the summer. The generosity and gratitude that has welcomed our travelers has been a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.
How can you get involved? Everyone is welcome to join our action team, sponsor a student, join a traveler group, or get involved in one of our fund-raising activities. Email the Partner Church Committee chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.