Ecumenical Council of Churches in Hungary, Youth Committee (MEÖT-IB)

Joining to some ideas of the 9th Assembly of WCC and engaging into the process of the Third European Ecumenical Assembly at national level, an ecumenical formation for youth leaders was held in February 2007. This work and seminar was organized by a special co-operation of official, theological and grass-root (like our SCM) organizations. Twenty-five resource persons helped sixty young participants in deepening their ecumenical consciousness. Please, find attached the Report on this ecumenical formation.

Our Activities and Programmes since September 2006

Budapest Ecumenical Conversations (BÖBE): a forum for young Christian intellectuals to discuss and debate the most important ecumenical and interreligious questions and challenges of our times.

  • Primitive Religions: Treasure or Superstition? (24 October, 2006)
  • Come Unto Me! All? Minority, Community, Receiving (4 December, 2006)

Beyond Borders: Community Visits and Weekend Seminars: meetings for getting to know each other, understanding and becoming attached to our sisters and brothers who are searching for and turning towards God.

  • Preparation meetings for the next semester's visit (April 2007)

Team Building: teambuilding weekend for deepening in ecumenical formation.

Subregional Co-operation: as a founding member of the WSCF Central European Subregion (CESR, 2001), we take part twice a year in her seminars. Our board members are engaged in the CESR Board and Preparatory Committees as well.

  • Participation in the editing and publishing of the CESR Ecumenical Anthology 2006
  • Preparation for the next CESR Seminar in Sopron, Hungary - February 2007

International Participation: Magyar delegates regularly participate in WSCF and EYCE events.

  • Religion and Society: Partners or Competitors? (WSCF-E, Copenhagen, 3-9 October)
  • Promoting Youth Participation and Democratic Development in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (EYCE, Kiev, 22-29 October)

Our Plans for the Near Future (January - June, 2007)

Activities in Hungary

  • Ecumenical Formation organized together with the Youth Committee of the Magyar Ecumenical Council of Churches (MEÖT-IB) and the Békés Gellért Ecumenical Institute (BGÖI). This event is one of our most important works in 2006 and 2007. The first session will be held in Budapest, 9-11 February, 2007.
  • Budapest Ecumenical Conversations (BÖBE) will take place three times in the next semester (March, April, May)
  • General Assembly and teambuilding with the new board (March)
  • Community and worship visit to a special Christian community (April)

Our Activities and Programmes since January 2006

Budapest Ecumenical Conversations (BÖBE): a forum for young Christian intellectuals to discuss and debate the most important ecumenical and interreligious questions and challenges of our times.

  • Consumer Society: Resistance Based on Christian Spirituality (23 March, 2006)
  • Youth Contribution to International Ecumenical Movements (8 May, 2006)

Beyond Borders: Community Visits and Weekend Seminars: meetings for getting to know each other, understanding and becoming attached to our sisters and brothers who are searching for and turning towards God.

  • Methodist community and worship in Budapest (26 February)
  • Weekend seminar on Love and Sexuality in Velence (31 March-2 April)

Team Building: teambuilding weekend for deepening in ecumenical formation (history and methods), in the Calvinist-Reformed College, Nagykőrös (4-5 February)

Christian University Days (KEN): in co-operation with the Evangelical-Lutheran, Calvinist-Reformed, and Roman Catholic University Chaplaincies in Budapest there were various ecumenical, spiritual, cultural and sport programmes for Christian and non-Christian students organized in different places in the universities of Budapest (20-25 March).

Subregional Co-operation: as a founding member of the WSCF Central European Subregion (CESR, 2001), we take part twice a year in her seminars. Our board members are engaged in the CESR Board and Preparatory Committees as well.

  • Winter Seminar in Lublin, Poland: there were seven Magyar participants and a lecturer as well (22-26 March)
  • Summer Seminar in Rammingstein, Austria: there were eleven participants and a lecturer (1-8 July)
  • Participation in the editing and publishing of the CESR Ecumenical Anthology 2006

International Participation: Magyar delegates regularly participate in WSCF and EYCE events.

  • Cluj, Transylvania, Romania four participants took part in the WSCF-E Solidarity Conference (3-9 May)
  • Strasbourg, France, there was one participant on the EYCE Training on Overcoming Islamophobia (19-26 March)
  • Sofia, Bulgaria, there were an IPC member and four participants on the EYCE Training on Economic Justice (14-21 May)
  • Saariselkä, Samaa-Lapland, Suomi-Finland, there were an IPC member and two participants on the EYCE Training on Including Ethnic and Cultural Minorities (6-13 August)

Our Plans for the Near Future

Activities in Hungary

  • Ecumenical Formation organized together with the Youth Committee of the Magyar Ecumenical Council of Churches (MEÖT-IB) and the Békés Gellért Ecumenical Institute (BGÖI). This event is one of our most important works in 2006.
  • Budapest Ecumenical Conversations (BÖBE) will take place three times in the next semester
  • Teambuilding and ecumenical formation with the board (September)
  • Community and worship visit to a special Roman Catholic community dealing with mission (November)
  • Reports and meetings with our partner organisations: Ecumenical Youth Office (ÖKI), Youth Committee of the Magyar Ecumenical Council of Churches (MEÖT-IB), Magyar Ecumenical Fellowship (KÖT), Békés Gellért Ecumenical Institute (BGÖI)
  • Preparations for organizing and taking part in the process of the Third European Ecumenical Assembly (EEA3) on national and regional levels
  • Beside our own programmes, KÖD takes part in several student and youth events in Hungary (eg. Orthodox and Protestant Cultural Days, Christian Youth Conference)
  • St. Nicholas Party (December)

Participation in International Events

  • Let us Talk about Freedom (ESG, Waldsieversdorf, 20-26 August)
  • Religion and Society: Partners or Competitors (WSCF-E, Copenhagen, 3-9 October)
  • Promoting Youth Participation and Democratic Development in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (EYCE, Kiev, 22-29 October)
  • Preparations for EYCE GM 2007 in Hungary

All these national and international programmes are advertised and reported in various Magyar newspapers, journals and reviews by our SCM members.

Changes in the Staff and Structure of our SCM

Beside several informal programmes and meetings, there are regularly two board meetings a month in our office in the Lágymányos Ecumenical Center (LÖK) in Budapest.
In accordance with our new policy paper on international participation, we have applied the rules of delegation, preparation and reporting.
In December 2005, after a long time, our SCM re-established the position of the general secretary: the person is engaged in the everyday work of KÖD.
In January 2006, the General Assembly of KÖD elected a new board of thirteen Baptist, Calvinist-Reformed, Evangelical-Lutheran and Roman Catholic members. In the future, the board will operate with one chairperson (and a general secretary) instead of the earlier two co-chairpersons. From September 2006, there will be one new member on Board.
In the future, our SCM would like to put a new emphasis on co-operation with an Orthodox youth movement (MORISZ), a member movement of Syndesmos (Fellowship of Orthodox Youth) and partner organisations outside of Budapest. Special attention will be paid to the International Ecumenical Fellowship (IEF) and its Hungarian Region.

Brave New World: Searching for Security in the XXIst Century
(CESR Summer Seminar, 2-7 July 2006, Ramingstein, Austria)

The magnificent 12th-century Castle Finstergrün in Ramingstein, Austria, was the storybook setting for the WSCF Central European Subregion's fifth annual summer seminar, which gathered together 35 young people from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Romania and the United States of America (USA).

It was a very fitting venue for the topic of the seminar, "Searching for Security in the XXIst Century," which aimed to explore the various ways in which fear and the desire for security order our lives on the personal, communitarian, national and religious levels; and further, to help formulate strategies for responsible risk-taking within the same contexts.

The idea of Utopia and Dystopia (Anti-utopia) served as subtexts for the entire seminar, comparing and contrasting the Dystopian visions presented in two landmark books of the XXth century - George ORWELL's 1984 and Aldous HUXLEY's Brave New World.

A short quiz in small groups provided the first contact with the topic on Sunday evening, during the welcome and introductions session. Participants were challenged to define 'Utopia' and 'Dystopia' and to fill in the levels on Abraham MASLOW's pyramid of needs, before discussing the two novels and their reactions to them, especially the notions of security presented in each.

Further introductions to the topic came on Monday morning with an interactive exploration of fear led by KÖRMENDY Petra, a Magyar Evangelical-Lutheran pastor from Székesfehérvár, also trained in drama-pedagogy. In a series of games, we examined our fears of the unknown, being different, and physical intimacy, all within a safe and non-threatening environment. Following the games we had a discussion in plenary about which elements had made us uncomfortable, and why; then we were charged to find or create a physical object to embody our experiences.

In the afternoon Ivan VOJTA0ŠŠÁK, a Slovak specialist in Roman Catholic social teaching, lectured on security in family and society. He presented statistics on social trends in post-communist countries, plotting a set of accepted values on axes of traditional versus secular-rational authority and survival versus well-being. Interestingly, while the global trend is towards increasing values of well-being, in some post-communist countries the reverse is true: values are moving increasingly towards survival, reflecting a fundamental insecurity in societies in transition. Lively group discussions followed the lecture, where we attempted to define 'family' and list its functions, as well as identifying how and what kind of values should be transmitted to the next generation.

Intercultural exchange was the theme of the evening, when participants in national groups presented their own characteristics, acting out short skits on the topic "What does your nation fear the most?" Although light-hearted, the presentations reminded us that real or perceived threats do exist in and between our nations, whether based on a legacy of imperialism or on the insecurity of "Old Europe" when confronted with "New Europe."

Tuesday morning NOVOTNY Dániel, a Magyar Evangelical-Lutheran pastor and Ph.D. student from Szentendre, gave a lecture on security in religion, especially exploring the notion of cyber-theology. Incorporating frequent references to Brave New World, he analysed the religious ideas and rituals described in the book and related them to world religions, especially Buddhism and Hinduism. From this basis he outlined three possible relationships between 'I' and 'It,' noting that the rise of technology has toppled the traditional "creator-creation" relationship, as imperfect humans now feel inferior to perfect computers. In small groups we discussed how humans can affirm their humanity by finding a sense of security and self-worth through the redemptive love of God.

All this talk about security was finally put into practice in the afternoon, with a hike in the surrounding mountains. Midway through the hike we stopped in a meadow to play some trust- and community-building games. Their effects were tested almost immediately: when we continued the hike, we found ourselves lost on the top of the mountain - twice! It was not always easy to trust the leader of the expedition to find our way down, especially when the nice walking trail petered out into a vague path straight down a steep slope; but the experience proved to be a blessing in disguise, giving us a chance to truly bond together as a community.

Participants got the possibility to reverse roles and take the lead on Wednesday morning, with several workshop sessions about various aspects of security. Topics included the necessity of God; ecumenism; the Matrix and hyperreality; basic self-defence techniques; Swedish massage; and the role of NGOs in contemporary society. Creative working methods, including role-play and games, ensured a holistic and integrative learning experience.

That afternoon another Magyar Evangelical-Lutheran pastor from Budapest, ROZS-NAGY Szilvia, presented a lecture co-authored by a Slovak Roman Catholic priest, Reginald Adrián SLAVKOVSKÝ OP. Entitled "The Ambiguous Religions of the Ambiguous God," the lecture described various modes of confrontation with the Alien: controlling or attempting to control it; accepting it as alien; or accepting it as something holy. Discussion groups afterward centred on the topics of ambiguity, reification and otherness, brainstorming on how we can contribute to overcoming or coming to terms with ambiguity as a source of insecurity and reflecting on approaches to 'Otherness' in our cultures and denominations.

These abstract principles covered in the afternoon lecture were brought down to Earth that same evening with the screening of Ridley SCOTT's film Kingdom of Heaven (2005). The story revolves around Balian of Ibelin, a 12th-century knight charged with protecting Jerusalem during the uneasy peace between the Second and Third Crusades. Balian has the chance to observe and experience various modes of confrontation with the 'Other' by both Muslims and Christians before he ultimately finds himself in charge of the city; then - torn between loyalty and tolerance - he must decide how to act in order to safeguard the lives of as many citizens as possible.

On Thursday morning Jiří SCHNEIDER, founder of an institute for security studies in Praha, gave the final keynote lecture about security in economics and politics. After attempting to differentiate between 'safety' (basic physical protection) and 'security' (a broader psychological term with many symbolic associations), he spoke about threats to identity as the basic insecurity, an ontological uncertainty caused by a crisis of values. From there we moved to the perception of threats, especially differences between U.S. and European perspectives; and then various models of interacting with the rest of the world - as member, partner, or enemy. Afterwards in groups, we brainstormed the ingredients of identity before tackling the eternal conundrum: Does the West exist? And if so, what are its borders?

Returning to the themes of Utopia and Dystopia to round out the week, in the afternoon we watched the film 1984 by Michael RADFORD (1984), based on George ORWELL's book. A chilling reminder of how easily the dream of security for all can turn into security for none under the tyranny of totalitarianism, the film made a deep impact on all who saw it.

The formal closing of the programme came in the evening with the presentations of Utopias created by the participants working in home groups - small groups in which they met every day throughout the seminar, always consisting of the same people, where they could get to know each other more closely and create a safe space for sharing ideas and experiences. Aside from reflecting each day on the day's inputs, the home groups were charged to integrate these inputs into a coherent vision of Utopia. Part humorous, part serious, many imaginative models of religion, education, communication and government, among other things, were shared.

Aside from the intellectual programme, there were also opportunities for spiritual growth through daily worship and a Bible study on the topic of fear and faith, based on the story of Abraham's calling by God to leave his homeland behind and strike out for the unknown. Other passages examined during the week included Elijah and the widow who had no bread; Jesus walking on water; and the vision of the coming perfect world in Revelation.

For those who understand, the quality of discipleship and dialogue, learning and interaction which took place in Ramingstein remained as strong as ever at CESR events. Several participants indicated an interest not only in attending our future events, but also in helping to organise them - indicating they not only felt engaged in the topic, but also motivated and empowered to transform their communities and their world.

The Myth of Independency
(CESR Summer Seminar, 3-10 July 2005, Brno, Czech Republic)

Forty-eight young people gathered in the capital of Moravia to spend a week discussing the concept of "independency"-what is it and what kind of role can (or should) it play in our lives? This WSCF Central European Subregion summer seminar had participants from all five CESR countries, as well as guests from Finland, Germany/U.K., Croatia and Romania. It was especially nice to welcome WSCF Europe Chairperson Silke LECHNER and Regional Secretary Hanna TERVANOTKO for a few days.

The programme began Sunday afternoon with a welcome and introduction to "dependency groups"-smaller groups in which participants would meet with the same people throughout the week, giving them the opportunity to develop better relationships and to create a comfortable space where thoughts and concerns could be shared openly.

These groups got their first chance to work together on Monday morning, when they received their first task: to explore in detail the meaning of "independency" and to formulate a visual representation of their ideas, which was later presented in plenary and displayed prominently throughout the week. Many excellent topics were taken up during the two hours of discussion time, including an enumeration of the things on which we depend and the question of whether or not there is really any such thing as "independence".

After lunch the formal input began with a lecture by Karl-Reinhart TRAUNER, a protestant military chaplain in Vienna. He spoke about the notion of independency in the national-historical context, particularly focussing on the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its successor states in Central Europe. Following the lecture, we discussed in smaller groups related issues, such as whether the leaders of independence movements in the various nations were heroes or traitors.

Tuesday morning began with another lecture by Stefan ŽARNAY from the Slovak National Agency for Youth Mobility, who gave a very interactive presentation about living abroad, considering both the perspectives of the person who travels abroad and of the community which receives her or him. Questions about the nature of "community" in the traditional and the modern sense made for fruitful discussion afterwards.

Religion and ethics were the topics of Wednesday's input, given by a Roman Catholic theologian and philosopher, TOTH Mihály, from Hungary. He spoke about the morality of self and the creative tension between epimeleia heautou (care of the self) and to di'allelon sozesthai (salvation by others), finally deconstructing the dualism of "independency-dependency" to include "interdependency", or understanding the self in relation to the community.

On Thursday Trenčín lecturer Jakub Jerzy MACEWICZ, a Polish sociologist, returned to speak about anti-socialism, or the understanding of individuality in various social constructs. He drew heavily from Freud, citing his pronouncement of civilisation as the source of all suffering and exploring in detail the role of the ego and superego in the repression and sublimation of the id.

Friday's "lecture" on the topic of family came in the form of a film which dealt with the subject of independence in the family context. We watched together Krzysztof Kieslowski's Blue (from the Three Colours trilogy), about a young woman whose husband and child are killed in a car crash, so she suddenly finds herself independent of all family ties. She attempts to push this independence even further by severing ties with all personal relationships, even belongings. Following the film we discussed in small groups, reflecting on the importance of family obligations and mutual dependence, both in the film and in our own lives.

Several workshops related to the lectures, as well as ones exploring other aspects of independence, took place Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, giving participants a chance to address the topic in more concrete terms. These included practical exercises for care of the self; freedom of the media and self-censorship; Janis Joplin and the ideals of the hippie movement; and the independence of young people, particularly in the contexts of different denominational affiliations.

Outside of the formal programme, we enjoyed two excursions to nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites, Lednice and Kroměříž, where we toured beautiful castles and strolled through magnificent gardens-even the rain did not manage to spoil the experience! And of course there were the prayers and very active cultural evenings, ranging from a Fourth-of-July scavenger hunt for the first-ever American evening to creative dramatics from the Austrians and Magyars, a riotous Czecho-Slovak "hockey-ball" game, Finnish folk dancing and sumptuous Polish treats.

The week ended with an ecumenical worship prepared by participants, followed by a farewell party and small barbeque of sausages and marshmallows. Participants left hopefully with both a new understanding of independency and many new friends and experiences to support them.

Budapest Ecumenical Conversations
(Budapesti Ökumenikus Beszélgetések, BÖBE)


Shortly after the democratic transition in Hungary (1989), the Evangelical-Lutheran, Calvinist-Reformed, and Roman Catholic University Chaplaincies in Budapest were established roughly at the same time, though independently. After a short time, recognising the common foundation of their faith, they took the initial steps in common programming.
In 1995 the most important step was the re-establishment of the Magyar Ecumenical Student Christian Movement (Keresztény Ökumenikus Diákegyesület, KÖD, 1904), which is a member of the World Christian Student Federation (WSCF, 1895) and of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe (EYCE, 1968). Each chaplaincy delegates members to the board of KÖD.
Since that time, KÖD has been working towards the visible unity of the Church; as well, it is engaged in interreligious dialogue among students by means of spiritual and cultural programs, lectures, summer camps, language courses and theological seminars.
One of these projects is the series of Budapest Ecumenical Conversations (BÖBE). Since its promising inception in February 2003 there has been a great interest surrounding it.


It was more than one hundred years ago when the ship Ecumene first set sail. Among the pioneers, most were students.
Nowadays, the ecumenical movement seems a voyage of enrichment through new discoveries.
The aim of this programme was to create a forum for young Christian intellectuals to discuss and debate the most important ecumenical and interreligious questions and challenges of our times.
How can we imagine the unity of the Church? Characteristically it is youth who seek solutions foreshadowing this unity.
Budapest Ecumenical Conversations aim to bring to light the common heritage and treasure of Christians, which binds them together. This enlightening is one of the most significant potentials for the renewal of local and world Christianity.


BÖBE has a six-member preparatory committee consisting of two theologians from each of the three denominations, and usually comprising the university chaplains as well. Its task is to decide upon the topics, to invite guest speakers, and to write a list of questions to be used by the moderator.
BÖBE takes place monthly during the academic year in the Lágymányos Ecumenical Centre, Budapest (LÖK). For each occasion there are three or four invited guests, whose conversation is moderated. Among the guests there have been young pastors, priests, Ph.D. students, theologians, professors and even bishops.
BÖBE usually lasts for two hours. It starts with singing a song and it ends with praying together the Lord's Prayer and singing the Aaronic Blessing while holding hands. The first hour is dedicated to answering the questions of the moderator and having a conversation among the speakers, and in the second hour the floor is open for audience members to pose their questions to the speakers.


Nowadays, the main issues for youth are communication and dialogue, instead of self-justification. Ecumenical and interreligious topics are important, although at the same time attitude and views play an essential role. BÖBE is a new, unknown chance to speak openly together about the Church, unity, and other religions.
This topic was brought to light on the first occasion of BÖBE: In whom should we believe, the Church or ourselves? Among other past topics we can find the theology of Church images and structures; prayer life; ecumenical liturgies; ecumenical (interchurch) marriages; the role of individual and community in the Church; denominational and ecumenical spirituality; the role of women and men in Church and society; mission in the XXIst century; interreligious dialogue; interreligious cooperation in charity projects; the role of religion in peacemaking and war-mongering; and interreligious marriages.
Planned topics are baptism, Eucharist and ministry from an ecumenical viewpoint; the ethics and morality of environmental protection emerging from Judeo-Christian conceptions of creation; and the ethics of business and money.


In our experience, this is a very enriching initiative and it interests not only theologically-minded people, but all Christians who have questions and are ready to listen to others who might be unknown or undiscovered by them. BÖBE provides an excellent way of religious education and raising awareness.
It is a rare treasure to see and hear theologians and specialists from various Christian denominations and religions around the same table. It is a treasure as well to take part in that conversation. Participants, lecturers and students alike can make good use of this experience in their everyday lives.
All participants feel the unique atmosphere of these conversations: our unity already exists through dialogue.

The PrepCom of BÖBE

Grand Opening of WSCF Europe Budapest Office - 15 December 2004

To celebrate the formal opening of the new WSCF European Regional Office in Budapest, members and friends of WSCF gathered for an office-warming party on 15 December 2004 in the new office in Kálvin tér.

The celebration began with a short ecumenical blessing ceremony led by Szilvia Rozs-Nagy (Evangelical-Lutheran) and Mario Nobilis (Roman Catholic). Members of different denominations were present in ceremony. Following the blessing, guests were free to socialise, enjoy light refreshment and explore the new space.

The new office, in a building owned by the Reformed Church, combines into one space what were previously two offices: the European Regional Office, formerly located in Oslo; and the Central European Subregional Office, which moved from another location in Budapest.

New staff accompanies the new office: Hanna Tervanotko, a Lutheran pastor from Finland, assumed the position of regional secretary in August. Since September, Rebecca Blocksome from the United States has been working half time as publications intern for the European Region and half time as the coordinator for the Central European Subregion. Also since September, native Hungarian Kinga Aszalós has been working as the administrative assistant.

Now that we are all properly settled into our new space and new positions, we warmly invite you to contact us or stop by the office if you are in the area. The new contact information for the office is:

1091 Budapest
Kálvin tér 8.
Tel +36-1-219 5166
Fax +36-1-219 5167

Report on CESR Summer Seminar (Pápa, Hungary, 4-11 July 2004)
by Rebecca Blocksome

"Conflict resolution in our inner life and in community" was the topic of the week, with the aim to explore reconciliation on a variety of levels, specially focusing on the region of Central Europe with its historical tensions. There were 57 participants in all, coming from all the five countries of the sub-region as well as eight other countries. Notable among these guests were two members of the Nordic Sub-Region, invited to further our inter-sub-regional cooperation; plus one participant from Ukraine and four from Serbia and Montenegro, to increase our contacts with countries that border the sub-region.

The seminar took place in the town of Pápa in western Hungary, not far from Lake Balaton. Pápa has been an important regional centre in Transdanubia since the XIVth century, and we had a chance to explore some of its history on a short guided tour the first day of the conference. We visited the beautiful baroque Esterházy Palace, which now houses a museum and library, and the splendid Great Church with interior frescoes by the baroque master Maulbertsch. The seminar venue itself was an important piece of Pápa history: founded in 1531, the Reformed College was a centre of the Hungarian Reformation and has educated many great Magyars throughout its nearly five centuries of existence.

A well-balanced mix of theoretical and practical work formed the basis of the excellent programme, which was designed to consider reconciliation in ever-widening circles, starting from inner conflict resolution on Tuesday and working to reconciliation between nations on Saturday. The lecturers came from a variety of backgrounds to address the topic from many different aspects, including the psychological, sociological and spiritual. Several participants commented in the evaluation their appreciation for the high level of the lectures. In the afternoons, there were more active sessions including diverse workshops prepared by participants and a special presentation of "invisible theatre" by a group from Hungary, which presented reconciliation interactively with an emphasis on non-visual sense experience.

As always, there was plenty of time to learn in unstructured settings. Various countries shared their heritage during the evening programmes, including songs from Austria, folk dances from Hungary, tongue-twisters from Poland, and seven kinds of cheese from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Central European flavour was complemented by cultural introductions from farther afield: we enjoyed the rhythmic complexities of Finnish tango and the subtle irony of Danish literature. Many new friendships were forged during these periods of informal exchange.

One highlight of the week was the excursion to the thousand-year-old Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and to Somló hill, both a short bus ride from Pápa. At the abbey, we were honoured to hear Várszegi Asztrik OSB speak about conflict resolutions in monastic community life. After his lecture, we visited the sublime abbey church with its magnificently sculptured ornamental gate and enjoyed the beautiful natural scenery surrounding the monastery. From there we travelled to Somló hill, a unique volcanic formation rising above the plains. We hiked a few kilometres to the top of the hill, visited the ruins of a castle there, and then hiked back down to refresh ourselves at a wine-tasting showcasing some of the well-reputed wines of the Somló wine district. Then we had the opportunity to experience authentic Magyar culture with dinner and music at a local restaurant.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of this seminar was the number of new faces it involved. Many of the participants had no previous contact with or knowledge of WSCF, so this was an excellent event to introduce them to our philosophy and work, both for the sub-region and the European region as a whole. The committees also involved people in new roles - particularly the prepcom, which was composed entirely of novices. Despite their inexperience, several members demonstrated strong leadership potential and they put together an outstanding seminar solidly contributing to the life of WSCF.