News Item: The Budapest Stake Conference, June 3-4, 2006
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Sunday June 4, 2006, Budapest, Hungary
Today, the Budapest, Hungary Stake was created and what an incredible experience it was for all in attendance!
The Stake Conference began yesterday with a Priesthood leadership in the afternoon a Saturday evening Session and finished up this morning with a final Session. All of the meetings were held at the Tihany ter Stake Center in Budapest. There were many guests and visitors. Elder Bruce C. Hafen, President of the Europe-Central Area, presided in all of the meetings. He was joined by his wife. In addition, President Hafen was accompanied by his first Counselor, W. Craig Zwick. There were some very special guests also present:
- Elder Hans B. Ringger who was a member of the 1st Quorum of the 70’s in the late 80’s and Area President. He is known for the many meetings he had with Hungarian Government leaders, together with Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, in the late 80’s, that eventually led to the Church being officially recognized in Hungary in 1988.
- President and Sister Wilde, the first Mission President of the Hungary, Budapest Mission.
- President and Sister Schütze, currently the Temple President and Matron of the Frieberg, Germany Temple. Through the 90’s and until 2005, he was the Area CES Coordinator responsible for the Church Educational System in Central and Eastern Europe. He had traveled to Hungary many times over the years to meet with the youth.
- President and Sister Clement, the current Mission President of the Hungary, Budapest Mission, and his wife.
There were also a number of former Missionaries that had served in Hungary that came just to see the creation of the Stake in Hungary. It was very special and meant a lot to the members that they were able to be there and share in the joys of the weekend.
It is also interesting to note, that a writer from the Church News was present and a story about the first Stake Conference in Hungary will appear in an upcoming issue of the Church News!
All three of the meetings were incredible and the Spirit was very strong. It had been mentioned many times, that it was not by accident that the first Stake Conference in Hungary fell on Pentecost weekend.
At the Saturday, Priesthood Leadership Session, 110 brethren attended. That is almost every single Priesthood leader in the area to become the Stake. Presidents Clement, Wilde, Zwick, and Hafen spoke and taught in that Session. They set the Spirit for the weekend talking about the historical significance of what is happening, how far the Church in Hungary has come in a short 19 years, and what it means to have a Stake and the blessings and responsibilities that come with it. In this meeting they invited the Spirit in a magnificent way. President Vilmos Westsik, 1st Counselor of the outgoing District President conducted the meeting.
The Saturday Evening Session was unusual for many reasons. In the past the members have been reluctant and unable to attend a Saturday evening Session, especially those from outside Budapest because the meeting. It means that they get home late and then early the next mornings have to turn around and go back to Budapest. For members living two hours away from Budapest, that is a trial. There were 305 people that attended this eventful meeting!
President Zwick was the first to speak in this meeting talking about the blessings and responsibilities that come with being a Stake and about how the Gospel is structured. He was followed by Sister and President Schütze who, through the entire Conference, reminded all in attendance through their words and presence, of the importance of going to the Temple! They were followed by Elder Ringger who told many wonderful stories about the early days of the Church in Central-Eastern Europe, long before the Church was recognized. Being able to hear these wonderful stories reminds us that this was truly a once in a lifetime weekend!
Sisters Clement and Hafen spoke, followed by their husbands, Presidents Clement, with President Hafen concluding the meeting. All the while, we were being taught and reminded what a Stake brings to this great land. This Session was conducted by President Kelley G. Tedd, 2nd Counselor in the out-going District Presidency.
The Saturday meetings were extraordinary. We were taught and uplifted by the Spirit in a most unusual way. People not only showed up to see Conference, but most came fasting and prayerful!
In is interesting to add, as was noted a couple of times in Presidents Zwick’s and Hafen’s talks, that prior to these meetings, all day long they had been having interviews with Priesthood leaders from the District.
This morning, at ten o’clock, with the Chapel, Overflow, and Cultural Hall filled to capacity the meeting began. The room was so full that two rooms had been setup were people could watch via a closed-circuit TV. Over 660 people were in attendance!
This historical meeting was conducted by President Juhász Sándor, President of the outgoing District Presidency. When almost 700 members (remember these were just the members from the area to become a Stake, not the entire country!) began to sing the Opening Hymn, O Jojj Minden Oraban (Ι Need Thee Every Hour), the power and Spirit in the room overflowed. Tears began to flow as they did oh so many times during the meeting!
After the opening hymn and prayer President Juhász sustained those recommended to receive the Melchizedek and be ordained to the office of Elder. After which, the time was turned over to Elder Zwick, 1st Counselor in the Area Presidency. He read a letter from the First Presidency announcing the decision that the Budapest, Hungary District would become the Hungary, Budapest Stake! Furthermore it was announced that five Branches will become Wards: Györ, Buda, Pest, Kispest, and Kecskemét! In addition, it was also announced that the name of the International Branch would be changed to the Budapest English Branch.
Elder Zwick then continued to proceed with the General Sustainings. After sustaining the General Authorities of the Church, he announced and proposed to sustain the following:
Klinger Gábor, as the President of the Budapest, Hungary Stake with Westsik Vilmos as first counselor and Hauck Georg as second counselor. After they were sustained, they and their wives were invited to come to the stand. Then the members of the High Council were announced and presented for sustaining (the Branch/Ward they belong to in parenthesis):
Németh-Tóth Zsolt (Érd)
Benkő Sándor (Buda)
Kelley G. Tedd (Kecskemét)
Furkó János (Kecskemét)
Csóti Szilveszter (Pest)
Márta Tibor (Dunaújváros)
Böröcz Attila (Győr)
Elder Roberts (Full-time Senior Missionary. Recently arrived to start the Outreach Center)
Varga István (Buda)
Papdi Zsolt (Érd)
Czutor Zoltán (Kispest)
Zsida Ágoston (Veszprém)
As stake Clerk, Medveczky Tibor (Kispest) and as Stake Executive Secretary, Sziklai Tibor (Pest). The Presidents of the Stake Auxiliaries were then announced and presented to be sustained:
Stake Relief Society President: Bognár Erika (Kecskemét)
Stake Primary President: Jakab Lívia (Pest)
Stake Young Men President: Nagy Péter (Kecskemét )
Stake Young Women President: Schrauf Tímea (Érd)
Then a special number was read, and that is the number of members of the Stake currently serving Full-time Missions: 7!!
Later in the meeting, Elder Zwick, presented the names of all of those recommended to be ordained to the office of High Priest and members of the Budapest, Hungary Stake High Priests Quorum: He then read the names of all of the Brethren that had been called to serve in the Stake Presidency and on High Council that were not already High Priests.
The rest of the meeting was just one spiritual moment on top of another.
First the outgoing District Presidency was invited to bear their testimonies, Presidents Juhász and Tedd and then the new Stake Presidency, Presidents Klinger, Westsik, and Hauck. All very powerful testimonies!
They were followed by the Budapest Institute Choir singing The Spirit of God. It was beautiful! They did an incredible job!!
In the second half of the meeting, President Schütze spoke, followed by a beautiful testimony in Hungarian from Sister Wilde and then an equally splendid talk, in Hungarian from President Wilde. Next, Sister Clement and President Clement spoke. This was a special time for them because they were not only speaking in the Stake Conference that they had been working three years get to, but they were also saying good-bye. They finish their Mission at the end of this month. After the Clements, Elders Zwick and Hafen concluded the meeting. As we sang the closing Song, The Spirit of God, the Spirit in the building couldn’t have been stronger!
To all of you, and to all of those that have had anything to do with this wonderful work in Hungary I can tell you that it is wonderful that the Church in Hungary has reached this important step and this meeting was everything that it could be! The First Stake in Hungary was created in a splendid, but yet simple way that is possible in Christ’s Church. Many, many tears of joy were shed this day. I was moved over and over again and so excited that we finally reached this stage.
I also have a strong testimony that the Lord personally called the new Stake Presidency! They are spiritual giants and I am grateful for them!
I hope that all of the other Returned Missionaries that were there and others write about the Stake Conference and their feelings so we can read and share each others perspectives and feel this joy together.
For the many that couldn’t be in Budapest today for this historical weekend, to you I make a suggestion. Think about the people that you taught, know and love. Spend a few minutes thinking about them and this exciting time for the Church in Hungary. Ponder these things for a few minutes in a quite place and I think that you’ll be able to feel some of the same things that those in attendance at the Stake Conference were able to feel!
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