The first Methodist missionaries came to Hungary from Germany and Austria in 1898, and Methodist work grew steadily until the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the end of World War I. Only one congregation remained in Hungary, but by the 1920s, membership had risen and a strong social work system was organized.
Once again, war interrupted the church’s growth. At the end of World War II, German-speaking people were deported and Slovakian speaking populations were resettled in the country. All church institutions were confiscated by the state in the late 1940s, and the church was marginalized under Communist rule.
Today the United Methodist congregations in Hungary continue to run a variety of missionary and charity activities. They produce TV and radio programs, work with children and youth, and each year organize regional and nationwide summer camps for hundreds of people. They are active in religious education in schools and provide support for prison inmates and drug addicts. They run two homes for the elderly in Kaposszekcsö and Budakeszi, and have built a varied and comprehensive service for the Roma people, including agricultural extension service, literacy courses, premarital counseling and scholarships.
Beside its own work, the UMC in Hungary is also very active in ecumenical matters, and often assumes a leading role. In the more recent past, the cooperation between six Churches with Wesleyan origins, called the Wesley Alliance, offers a common training program for lay workers.
Global Ministries partners through active and continuing communication with the leaders of the United Methodist Church in Hungary. Many UM churches in Hungary are engaged in the In Mission Together partnership program. A National in Mission is currently serving as a church planter, and Global Ministries cooperates with the Roma ministry.
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