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Methodists congregations grow in Romania

5/1/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York

By United Methodist News Service

During the past decade, Korean Methodists have developed a small number of congregations in Romania, training people there to continue the evanglism work themselves.

Now, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries is trying to help Romanian Methodists make contact with their counterparts in other European countries. The Rev. Peter Siegfried, a board executive, told United Methodist News Service he is planning a fall consultation with church leaders there.

Besides the Board of Global Ministries, participants in the Romania consultation would include representatives from the United Methodist judicatories of Central and Southern Europe, the Korean Methodist Church in Romania and the Church of the Nazarene, which has three congregations in Romania. The Church of the Nazarene is a member of the World Methodist Council.

Although the Methodist presence in Europe dates back 150 years, Siegfried said, no mission or church was developed in Romania. But in 1992, Korean families, who had business in Romania, invited the Korean Methodist Church to send a missionary to that country. The Romanian Methodist Association was registered and a church was built.

In 1995, Korean Methodists opened a theological institute to train pastors and missionaries. A new building for the institute was constructed three years later. By then, there were four local churches - two in Bucharest, one in Pitesti and one in Constantza.

An émigré from Cameroon trained at the institute and started a congregation in Judet Arges in eastern Romania in 2001. That congregation now has 35 members, according to Siegfried.

As of 2003, the number of congregations had risen to 11, including seven in Bucharest. Adult membership includes about 60 Koreans and 200 Romanians. Eight students are in training at the theological institute.

He noted that the Rev. Charles A. Green, a United Methodist pastor from Philadelphia, has met with Methodists in Romania, who expressed interest in contact with the United Methodist Church.

Siegfried would like to hear from other United Methodists who have church relationships in Romania or are interested in partnerships there. E-mail or call (212) 870-3889.

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