The Reformed Congregation at Szabadságtelep

The Reformed Congregation at Szabadságtelep was organized in the 1930s in the suburban area situated at both sides of Vámospércsi and Létai Roads. The area’s original name was Nyilastelep, after the farmer István Nyilas, who owned the land which was later subdivided into separate plots. Even in the early 20th century 8000 Protestants lived in this part of the city. Church life centred around the primary school, the nursery school and the reading circle. In 1934 a Congregation House was built.

After the church square was renovated by the mayor, on 26th April 1935 Dr. Sándor Juhász Nagy town clerk’s proposal about building a church with a gallery fitting 700 people was accepted. The foundation-stone was laid by Endre Filep church warden on Ascension Day in 1935. The church, which was designed by Dr. Imre Dolhay and whose construction cost 38,000 pengős, was consecrated on 24th November the same year by Dr Dezső Baltazár bishop. One quarter of the costs was covered by voluntary donations in money and in kind. An Angster organ with two manuals and ten registers was installed in the church. In the bell tower, two bells – weighing 300 kilos and 103 kilos each – were inviting people to the worship service. At the moment there are three bells in the tower.

The congregation’s former pastors, in chronological order: Imre Papp, Béla Mezey, Károly Sipos, Károly Kürti, Sándor Nagy, Zoltán Barra. Pastor Béla Mónus has been serving in the congregation since 1978.
During World War II soldiers moved into the church, some of the organ’s metal pipes were stolen, the instrument was damaged, although it was later partly repaired by the congregation. After the war, the primary school and the nursery school became secularized. In March 1957 local party activists arbitrarily seized the Congregation House, and they used it as a day-care centre and later as a primary school. Congregation life went on the following years as well, however, only a few reparations were carried out on the church and on the rectory, so up to the 1980s buildings were in a bad state, the plastering was crumbling and the roof was dilapidated.

Reparations started in 1986 led by Pastor Béla Mónus. Members of the congregation, giving money or their work, helped renovate the roof, the tower, the main entrance, the plastering inside and outside and the painting of the inside of the church. The painter Ferenc Pallás restored the wooden panels to their original condition. The modern, electric heating of the pews and the electronic controlling of the bells were also installed during these years.

More than ten years after the democratic turn in Hungary (1989) further renovations were carried out, founded by amends, loans, support from the city of Debrecen and by the members’ generous donations in money and in kind. In 2003 the almost useless old organ was replaced by a new positive organ with three manuals, 33 registers and 4 ranks of pipes, made by Aquincum Organ Manufacture. The gallery and the basis of the inner church were strengthened, while new ceramic tiles were laid down on the floor. The electric system was modernized, new, sound-absorbing, insulated wooden windows were set in, and a sound system was installed. To replace the formerly seized Congregation House, a new building of 156 m2 was added to the rectory, built in the same architectural style. At the same time, the rectory’s surroundings were renovated too.

Soli Deo Gloria


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