Carol LaHurd, Tamás Gáncs
With thanks from Hungary
Hungarian pastor Tamás Gáncs and his wife Andrea spent the 2010-11 academic year at LSTC. In September, his Religions in Dialogue professor Carol LaHurd, along with her husband Ryan and two friends from Minnesota, spent a day with Tamás and his family while visiting Budapest as part of an Eastern European vacation.
Privilege and absence - a subjective summary with thanksgiving
Rev. Tamás Gáncs (2011, M.A.T.S.)
University chaplain, Ph.D. student
One of my professors in Chicago often said to us: "Dealing with theology is always a privilege." And she was right. I was really lucky to have an academic year as an M.A.T.S student at LSTC and was able to focus only on theology and on getting the M.A.T.S degree in May 2011.
I am really grateful for my professors, who have shown me direction in my theological way: I did need that and they helped me to find it. I used the library system often and was very pleased.
Besides my classes, I participated in different communities with my wife. The community of our courtyard (the group of IDG) and the community of the LRWC meant for us a real support network far from our country and family. We really enjoyed the diversity of our friends, and we have learned from them a lot about the world, cultures, languages, religions, and love. We were blessed having them during this complicated eleven months.
Although this period was not an easy one, it was definitely an important experience for both of us. To tell the truth, I miss the faculty at theological seminaries in Chicago, and we do miss our friends and we hope to meet them as soon as possible - in the USA, in Hungary or wherever... Our message from Budapest is to them: "Thanks for having us!"
A visit with Tamás and his family
Dr. Carol LaHurd
LSTC Visiting Professor in Biblical Studies and Islam
One of the major highlights of our three weeks in Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia was our stop in Budapest and the day spent with Tamás and his family.
Gancs family: Andrea, Tamás, Péter, Márta
By train Tamás took us to visit the picturesque Danube River town of Szentendre ("St. Andrew"); then we were all treated to dinner in the family home, a flat above the church headquarters. His father Péter Gáncs is the presiding bishop of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary. We also met Tamás's wife Andrea (a government lawyer), mother Márta, sister Tünde and her husband (also Tamás) and their baby Zoé Regina. Another brother happened to be in Sri Lanka on his honeymoon!
Dinner conversation gave us many insights into Hungarian culture, politics, and religion. Although Hungary's Lutheran community is a very small minority in a largely Roman Catholic country, we learned that it has significant influence in multi-cultural, ecumenical, and inter-religious relations. The church itself is comprised of Hungarian, German, and Slovak congregations.
The Gáncses have had warm and constructive interactions with Hungary's small progressive (Reform) Jewish community. They also recounted the story of Lutheran pastor Gábor Sztehlo (1909-1974), who rescued thousands of Jewish children and adults during the Nazi occupation of Hungary. In 1973 he was named a Righteous Gentile by the Yad Vashem Institute.
As an LSTC auxiliary professor, I found this opportunity to spend time with a student in his home setting to be an immense privilege.