About Jeff and Julie
Throughout the history of the Church, God’s people have been called to welcome the stranger, serve the poor, and build up the body of Christ. For centuries Central Europe, and Hungary in particular, has been a route for those seeking refuge, moving back and forth between east and west. While the current crisis in human displacement has been a cause for political challenges throughout Europe, our vision in this calling is to serve alongside the ministries of the Reformed Church in Hungary (RCH); in particular to serve with Kalunba, a refugee-serving organization that provides safe homes, a loving community, and social inclusion to those seeking asylum and refuge in the capital city of Budapest.
In 2015 the RCH developed a careful and biblically faithful response to the needs of people fleeing violence, terror, and economic hardship. “The biblical commandment of solidarity is unconditional. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18): this applies to everyone, because all human beings are created in the image of God (Gen 1: 27). Jesus Christ regarded this commandment as the summary of God’s order and the law of life (Matt 22:37–39) and teaches us that when we help those in need, such as strangers, the sick and prisoners, it mirrors our faith (Matt 5:43, 24:31–46). Therefore, our church’s inescapable task is to help people in need: those fleeing from direct threat to life and those coming simply in the hope of a better life. We must help those who are practicing Christianity and those of other faiths; those who have no qualifications and those who are graduates; those are simply travelling through our country and those would like to settle here permanently.”
We also seek to work with, teach, and befriend young people attending university in Budapest, primarily through partnership with Károli Gáspár University, a Reformed university with more than 8,000 students. Through teaching, administration, hospitality, and volunteer management, we hope to strengthen the efforts of our partners in Budapest.
Under the auspices of the ecumenical office of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Jeff will work in direct partnership with the Hungarian leadership at Kalunba as they provide welcome to refugees and asylum seekers in Hungary. He will also regularly teach courses in the Faculty of Humanities at Károli Gáspár University, and will assist the University Pastor in the work of providing spiritual care for university students. Julie will use her gifts in teaching and administration to serve at Kalunba, while being on the lookout for opportunities to serve in other ways with her gifts of organization and literacy. We also hope to open our home for hospitality in the form of meals, Bible studies, book groups, and other opportunities for building human community together.
Our previous opportunities to live in Budapest a semester at a time (2011, 2014, 2019), have enabled us to develop relationships with many Hungarians who are now good friends. We have also established St. Columba’s Scottish Mission Church as our church away from home, which will now become our church home in Budapest.
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