As part of a collaboration initiated by the managing body of the university, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the heads of the university, the city, and church communities met in the Rector’s Boardroom of the University on Tuesday. The meeting started with a joint candle-lighting ceremony and a prayer in memory of Ildikó M. Tóth, the University’s Chief Press z Officer, who died on Monday.
The meeting was attended by György Kossa, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the a GTIDE Foundation, Zoltán Bács, Chancellor of the University of Debrecen, Elek Bartha, Deputy Rector for Educational Affairs, Károly Fekete, Bishop of the Reformed Diocese of the Tiszántúl region, Ferenc Palánki, Parish Priest of the Debrecen-Nyíregyháza Archdiocese, István Kapin, Parish Priest of the Hajdúdorog Diocese, Richárd Asztalos, Director-Pastor of the Lutheran Parish of Debrecen, Tamás Horovitz, President of the Jewish Community of Debrcen, László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen, and István Puskás, deputy mayor.
György Kossa, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the University of Debrecen, explained: the aim of the meeting is twofold; on the one hand, to formalize the already existing cooperation, organizing joint events, talent nurturing programs, as well as joint communications activities. On the other hand, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in the neighboring country and for Debrecen and the leading churches of the region to provide joint help to the people in need.
-"We need to set an example of a collaboration in which everyone, regardless of their faith, can build closer ties along common values," he said.
According to Zoltán Bács, Chancellor of the University of Debrecen, in the current situation we need to act independently of denomination or party affiliation.
- We all are from Debrecen and are fighting for a common cause. The university is a place that brings together small communities, building large ones, and that is attended by students from 120 countries. A sad circumstance is that we are discussing this collaboration one day after the death of our university’s Chief Press Officer, Ildikó M.Tóth. This sad occasion also evokes in us an uplifting feeling of remembrance, said Zoltán Bács. He added that the press award of the University of Debrecen will be named After Ildikó M.Tóth.
During a meeting the heads of the churches and the university it was agreed that the first milestone of the humanitarian support based on working together will be an ecumenical gala event, a relief concert, the proceeds of which will go towards helping Transcarpathian refugees. Károly Fekete, Bishop of the Tiszántúl Reformed Diocese, proposed that the event should be held in the Great Reformed Church (Nagytemplom), and the other partners gladly accepted this proposal. The head of the church expressed his hope that there will be a large number of attendees at the event.
- If I can only take ourselves, the Reformed Theological University of Debrecen has educated at least half the Transcarpathian pastors, and the middle-aged and young pastors who studied here and many of them were students at the University of Debrecen, too, are holding the front at home as men in the Transcarpathian congregations. We have several ties to Transcarpathia and it is our primary duty to sympathize with them and show our support, Károly Fekete said.
Ferenc Palánki, Bishop of the Diocese of Debrecen-Nyíregyháza, spoke about the importance of cooperation.
- I am pleased that now, in this difficult situation, when there are so many people in need, we can show the goodness that we, the churches, are trying to experience and that we learnt from God. I have read recently in a book that God’s answer to a person’s prayer is another person. When we are in trouble, we pray, and God sends in our way people who help others in trouble. We need to become such responsive people who will help people in need. This is the type of people we need to become both on an individual and a community level that can be sent to help people in need, the head of the church explained.
Tamás Horovitz, President of the Jewish Community in Debrecen, spoke about the long-standing excellent relationship between the university, the city and their community.
István Puskás, the deputy mayor of the City of Debrecen, spoke about the fact that one of the greatest, if not the greatest, values of being a „Debrecen-dweller” is that the city lives its daily life as a real community.
- Citizens living here can work together for common goals. Our first goal is to build the city, our community. But as recent weeks have shown, this community is strong enough to use this strength to help other fellow human beings when they are in trouble. Everyone responded at the first sign of trouble, and the city is trying to help as one soul and one body, the deputy mayor pointed out.
A charity concert to help refugees in Ukraine will be held on Friday, May 6, starting at 6 pm, with the participation of the Kodály Philharmonic, the Faculty of Music of the University of Debrecen and church choirs, and the promotion of art in Debrecen. Preparations for the initiative will be coordinated by a joint organizing committee.
An account number will be set up in connection with the charity action, where donors can send their donations, and it will also be possible to help those in need in the form of cash on the spot. Donations will be handed over to the Bridge for Transcarpathia Aid Program at a later event.
Those present asked and stressed that everybody should help this noble cause by donating to the best of their ability. They expressed their desire to reach out to as many people as possible so that a large number of people should attend the event in the Great Church and in the square in front of the Great Church.