Agape at Calvin United Church of Christ
Starting at 3PM in the church hall, the Pastor, Rev. Tibor Király welcomed the attendees, urging them to love each other, regardless of what denomination they belonged to. He recommended that the various organizations coordinate events so that their program schedules would not conflict with each other, as has often happened in the past. He also reminded his audience that instead of the 187 families who used to provide for the upkeep of the Calvin Church buildings, a mere 33 families have to bear these burdens today. But as the congregation had overcome obstacles in the past, he was confident they would do so again.
Ladies under the leadership of Erika Urszényi, Director of the Hungarian Bistro operating every Friday at the Church, had prepared a varied buffet of appetizers, followed by stuffed cabbage and desserts baked by various volunteers. A program of poetry recitals and folkdances followed, with Ilona Krasznay Király, wife of the Pastor, being the emcee. She pointed out that we had gathered in the name of love on this third Sunday of Advent, and that the arts – prose, poetry and song – bring us divine beauty.
The program was started off with Csengi and Klaudia Zaborecky, 4-year old twin students of the Fairfield Hungarian School. Wearing red velvet dresses, they sang “Kiskarácsony, nagy karácsony” and “Frosty the Snowman” in which 2 ½ year-old Emily Szabo joined on stage, but after a few moments took refuge in the safety of Mom’s arms.
Olivia Kiss, daughter of Presbyter János Kiss, expertly played several pieces on the violin. “Táncoló fekete lakk cipő”, was the whimsical poem presented by Zalán Kovács. Presbyter János Bagyinka, who had built the outdoor oven on the Church grounds earlier this year and who wore a traditional suit with sujtás, recited a poem by Juhász Gyula and another poem by an unknown author. Róbert Újj, a Ping-Pong champion, also presented a poem, this one by Garay Gábor.
Tünde Csonka, winner of the Emerton Prize and a member of the Theater of Győr, sang some Hungarian Christmas songs.
Four members of the Délibáb Dance Ensemble of New York, under the leadership of Nagy Ildikó, performed several regional dances. Members of Tímea Zsédely’s Pilvax Art Center of Manhattan, who also owns 10 Thousand Steps Bookstore in lower Manhattan, offered a dramatization of Arany János’ ballad “Rozgonyiné”.
The entertainment closed with a cabaret piece presented by Judit Sipos, Attila Patkós and Noémi Sárok of Sarasota, FL.
As advertised, the children who had attended were awarded free tickets to a children’s theater performance at the Church in March, courtesy of Calvin United Church of Christ.
At the end, the leaders of every club and association were asked to say a few words about the group they represented, which was recorded for airing by Gyula Apatini on the New York Hungarian TV station.
Rev. Király closed the celebration with a prayer for a blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.
A heartfelt “Thank you!” is due to Erika Urszényi and Anikó Soltész, as well as to each hard-working member of Calvin United Church of Christ, who put on such a wonderful, warm evening of fellowship and showed us all the true meaning of the Christian concept of agape.