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    Mosaic

    – Our Mission –

      The inner room
    About our community’s inner life
    A city set on a hill
    About our community’s outer activity
     
      Gallery
    (on a separate page)
     

    Links to texts and articles in Hungarian can be
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    The inner room
    (About our community’s inner life)

    “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” (Matthew 6:6a)


    Similarly to the usual way of base communities, the community’s inner life practically consists of weekly meetings lasting for about 2.5 hours. These are the organized, so to speak, “normal” meetings.

    We gather from 6 p.m. every Thursday, and the meeting proper begins at 6:30. First, we pray for about twenty minutes: psalms, songs and invocations. We intend to compile the prayers both in content and style so that they meet the ecumenical thought that we represent, and nobody’s denominational identity should be hurt. The prayer part is usually closed by the reading of a scriptural passage. Then the “marked” part of the meeting begins: it is dominated by the conversation, the source of which is usually the cited scriptural passage. After the prepared member’s introductory thoughts, sometimes short lecture, everyone can tell their opinion and thoughts about the topic. It happens that, in the end, we totally wander away from the original path, which is not a problem, because our primary intent is not specifically to study the Bible, but to know each other, and through this, to know God. At about quarter past eight we end the thematic conversation with a silent prayer of 5 or 10 minutes. Then we talk about current matters, besides having something to eat and drink, and we can have informal conversations, as well. The meeting ends at 21:00.

    In 2001, relying on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we dealt with Christian ethics and the Ten Commandments for several meetings, sometimes agreeing with, sometimes challenging the statements often worded rigidly. We talked about both the norm and the actual state: the way that each of us works Christianity out in their weekdays. We often arrived at the issue of gay and lesbian people’s role in the Church and society.

    We planned a dual programme for 2002. One was prayer. At the series of conversations, we went along the structure of the Catechism, again, but we also intended to be personal: each of us could share their own experiences, questions, joys, doubts etc. concerning their prayer, according to the aspects varying from meeting to meeting. Our other subject was that of the compatibility of homosexuality and Christian faith. Perhaps not surprisingly, this problem has come to the front again and again since the community’s founding. We decided to go over the topic accurately at last. We used Balázs Birtalan’s book, Halállal lakoljanak? – A homoszexuális ember és a kereszténység (“Shall They Be Put to Death? – The Homosexual Person and Christianity”) as a background material.

    Meetings held on Thursdays are complemented by our collective participation at a Holy Mass at 17:00 on the first Sunday of every month (occasionally a church service). Our participation in the eucharistic community is followed by a love-feast, which doesn’t have a specific programme: our aim is to have more time for personal conversations and for improving relationships.

    Besides these regular programmes, there are other meetings, parties organized spontaneously from time to time, sometimes “for no reason”, sometimes with some definite objective. E.g., in the spring of 1997, we spent two days together at Agárd (a village), and in August 1999, we celebrated the community’s birthday at Tatabánya (a town). In the summer of 2001, ten of us or so participated at a Jesuit retreat at Püspökszentlászló (a village).

    On 20th June 2002, within the framework of a semi-public demonstration, those members of our community could get acquainted with our website (including its history, structure and backstage secrets) who otherwise don’t or rarely do have access to the Internet.

    On 30th September 2002, our mailing list was launched, which is available for the community’s members.

    There were two series running through at the community meetings in 2003: the ideas of the book Inside Out (by Lawrence Crabb and Larry Crabb) were set forth by Bertalan Sándor (our current leader) from month to month, and we intended to view and interpret our lives in the light of these healing ideas inspiring to self-knowledge. Our other programme, which ran parallel with this, lasted for two years: we walked around the Apostles’ Creed little by little, also once a month, based on certain key ideas.

    In 2003, the community celebrated the complete three holy days of Easter together, and on the night of the Resurrection one of our members received the Sacrament of Baptism.

    In October, our community took part again at a retreat at Püspökszentlászló, in the House for Arranging Life. In the mornings, we meditated on the recognizability and feasibility of God’s will, based on the Book of Jonah; afternoons and evenings went by through group-building games (Activity, Ungame).

    There were two other series running through the year 2004 (beside the meditation over the Apostles’ Creed, started in the previous year). Once a month, meetings were centered around questions of self-knowledge, sometimes in the form of fairly serious lectures, sometimes through community-building games. Lectures of the series “Gayness: Stereotypes and reality” and the following exchanges of experience, often leading into very lively conversations, also took place once a month.

    In 2004, we once again celebrated the three holy days of Easter together; one of our brethren received the Eucharist for the first time on the evening of Maundy Thursday.

    The inner newsletter of our community, named “Fresh Bread”, has been appearing since April 2004 on a monthly basis, originally in 8 pages, later in 12.

    On 10 to 17 July 2004, we rested, played and prayed together at the Community Week at Kétbodony village. During the time spent together, one member of ours received baptism, and another had first Communion.

    On 25 September 2004, about fifty members and friends of the community celebrated our 8th anniversary with a dinner in a family atmosphere. The event was reported in the Hungarian gay monthly Mások.

    In December 2004, we launched a one-year series of lectures entitled Introduction to the World of the Holy Scripture. The lectures, requiring considerable effort on the part of the lecturers as well as the audience, present the formation, structure and major connections of the Old and the New Testament in the light of biblical theology after the Second Vatican Council.

    In 2005 we spent the three holy days of Easter together again. Four of our members were inducted into the Community on occasion of the Easter Vigil, instead of at the usual Thursday meeting.

    From 2006 on, we were allowed to receive 1% tax donations.

    We celebrated the three holy days of Easter together in 2006, as well.

    On 17th August 2006, Five Loaves as a community ceased. The former members will continue their inner paths in different prayer groups.

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    A city set on a hill
    (About our community’s outer activity)

    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

    1996

    Our community came into existence on 1st August 1996. You can read about its founding and forerunners on the page About Ourselves.

    We’ve always found it important to represent ourselves at local civil gay programmes and demonstrations, and, in the midst of anti-Christian tendencies, to champion for the Gospel, if needed, sharply. In the beginning, other gay organisations regarded us as a queer fish, but, in fact, the Five Loaves Community’s regular presence now belongs to the character of Mások (“Others”, Hungarian gays’ and lesbians’ monthly magazine for culture, social life and protection of interests) and the yearly Gay Pride Day march, representing its message specifically. At the same time, we have to emphasize that our public standpoints are not always necessarily backed by the entire membership. Many of us are explicitly apolitical, and their only expectation of the community is to provide the above-mentioned “inner room”, and they do their communal activity at this forum alone. We are different, and we think it is fine and fitting.

    1997

    Halállal lakoljanak? – A homoszexuális ember és a kereszténység (“Shall They Be Put to Death? – The Homosexual Person and Christianity”)

    – a book by Balázs Birtalan, one of the community’s founding members, was published at the Easter of 1997. (The entire book can be reached at our site.)

       “Halállal lakoljanak? — 
A homoszexuális ember és a kereszténység” —
“Shall They Be Put to Death? — 
The Homosexual Person and Christianity” — 
the title-page of the book

    REACTIONS: (in Hungarian)

  • Heti Világgazdaság [Weekly World Economy] (no. 22, 1997, p. 88.)
  • An interview of Mások [“Others”] with the author on the occasion of the publication of the book (no. 6, 1997, pp. 19–21.)
  • Discussion list on the book at the former site of Hungarian gays and lesbians (reconstructed)
  • A sentence from quarterly Mérleg [“Scales”] (no. 1, 1997, p. 7.)
  • Fundamentum – “Human Rights Quarterly” (no. 1–2, 1998)
  • Social Disease Online (from no. 4 of the fanzine, 12th November 2003)
  • In September 1997, in the “crowd” of barely two hundred people of the first Gay Pride march, some members of the Five Loaves Community were also present. Then and in the following years, they showed their own boards to the passers-by and the cameras: “Christian gays”, “Love is from God”, “Love and do what you want”, “I love Jesus and my boyfriend” (“Szeretem Jézust és a barátomat”), and in 2001, with laconic briefness: “www.otkenyer.hu”.

    1998

    On 19th February 1998, Balázs Birtalan was invited to an open discussion, entitled Homosexuality and Christianity, by Károli Gáspár University of the Hungarian Reformed Church, and he explained in front of more than one hundred theology students and professors why and on what kind of Biblical grounding there is a need for a dialogue between Christians and gays.

    1999

    At the 4th Gay and Lesbian Festival, held from 1st to 4th July 1999, our community introduced itself by a notice-board.

    2000

    In 1999, the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter entitled For Happier Families, which explicitly called upon “every person of good will” for a dialogue. Our reflection (“Good news to the poor”), in which we sharply criticized the pastoral letter, was conceived in this spirit on 6th January 2000, and we handed over this response both to the Bishops’ Conference’s Communication Office and the press. (For the reaction, see below.)

    Its result was an opportunity for us to address the 42nd congress of Hungarian Pax Romana Forum on 26th April 2000 – this was the first case for a Catholic organization in Hungary to talk with gays, and the tolerance and openness we experienced there cannot be called ordinary at all. (The collection of lectures delivered was published in a book entitled A család [“The Family”], at the end of 2000.)

    At the 5th Gay and Lesbian Festival (29th June – 2nd July 2000), on 1st July 2000, Hungarian gay organizations handed a petition to Parliament, protesting against the discrimination of sexual minorities; we also signed this paper. Besides the representatives of other organizations, Balázs Birtalan also made a speech at the demonstration held in front of the Parliament building.

    REACTIONS: (in Hungarian)

  • Gay days in Budapest (Magyar Hírlap Online, 30th June 2000)
  • Homosexual Christians for their rights (daily paper Népszava, 1st July 2000)
  • Warm front over Budapest – Balázs Birtalan’s statement to [origo] (1st July 2000) [notice: in Hungarian, ‘gay’ is expressed by the same word as ‘warm’]
  • Without masks (Magyar Hírlap Online, 2000. július 3.)
  • The Hungarian Catholic gay organization rejects the pope’s criticism ([origo], 10th July 2000) - [a remark: our community is not a Catholic, but an ecumenical Christian organization!]
  • Connecting to the festival, Balázs Birtalan sent a copy of his above mentioned book to every M.P. by name on 14th July, attaching a short letter to it.

    REACTIONS:

    Two of the 386 letters had been answered: first, the secretary of the minister of justice acknowledged the arrival of the letter, and notified us about forwarding it to the minister; then the secretariat of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office notified us that they “skimmed through the book with interest”.

    Our website, after extended preparations, was launched at last on 14th September 2000, and it has been broadening and improving since then. (We thank you if you also contribute to this improvement with your constructive thoughts, encouragement, or criticism by mail.)

    2001

    Dr. András Falus’s lecture, entitled Homosexuality – Thoughts of a Believing Biologist, arranged by Christian Physicians’ Hungarian Society, was held on 10th February 2001, where some members of our community were also present. At the lecture of Dr. András Falus (director of the Genetics Institute of Semmelweis Medical University [SOTE], winner of the award ‘Scientist of The Year’ in 2001), it was remarkable that while, in terms of religion, he explicitly and relentlessly regarded homosexuality as a sin, yet he committed himself to genetic determination outright and, as a human, assured of his sympathy the efforts of the gay movement that oppose legal discrimination. After the lecture, among several hearers, we also set forth our views, and unfortunately, we had to face the fact again that many people will only hear (either from the lecturer or from us) what they find to their taste.

    One of the topics of the February 2001 issue of the Catholic periodical Igen (“Yes”) was homosexuality, which contained Balázs Birtalan’s account of his self-acceptance, entitled Nem választottam… (“I did not choose it…”), a short presentation of our community, an interview with Dr. Andreas Laun, bishop and moral-theologian of Salzburg about the Church’s judgement of homosexuality, and excerpts from the chapter Homosexuality – Dilemma of Christian moral philosophy? of the Sexual Ethics Course Book by Béla Somfai SJ (interestingly enough, the really up-to-date and pioneering passages had been sifted out by the editor almost one and all).

    On 4th March 2001, in the programme Akták (“Files”) of RTL Klub (a TV channel), among other reports in the gay topic, a few minutes’ introduction was broadcast about the lives of Balázs Birtalan and Bertalan Sándor, two founding members of the Five Loaves Community, and about the status of Christian gay people (timing was most likely in connection with the gay character’s kiss in 1st March instalment of the soap-opera Barátok közt [“Among Friends”], creating a stir).

    In the meantime, the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference failed to respond to our reflection on their pastoral letter for more than a year. However, to our surprise, the Hungarian Pastoral Institute (OLI) invited us to the conference entitled For Happier Families, in its letter dated 20th April 2001. László Mocsonaki, chairman of Háttér Baráti Társaság a Melegekért (Háttér [“Background”] – Support Society for Gays and Lesbians) mentioned this invitation at a conference arranged for street workers. When OLI – which acts on behalf of the bishops’ conference – learned this, it wrote in cold blood in a letter dated 7th May: “Such a presentation, that the Catholic Church invited homosexuals to this conference, is rather manipulative.” After this, we turned to the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference again in a letter sent on 22nd May, reviewing the facts and expressing some expectations of ours for the future. Our registered letter was returned by the post with the mark “Rejected”; the addressee was only disposed to receive the letter for the second trial, after informal intercession. Yet they refused to reply to us, instead, they published a statement, totally contradicting the Gospel’s spirit, in connection with the gay festival. Owing to all these, we had to make our letter public one month after receiving it, on 13th July 2001.

    For the march at the 6th Gay and Lesbian Festival (5th to 8th July 2001), we made a handout entitled “We have a dream…”, drafting an inaugural speech we’d find appropriate from the Holy Father at a world-wide gay meeting, with regard to the present standpoint of the Church.

    On 8th July 2001, a report about the Gay and Lesbian Festival in the news programme “A Hét” (“The Week”) of Hungarian Television Corp. (MTV Rt.) gave a false account of gays and lesbians by means of a manipulative representation, and was appropriate in several ways for generating and increasing prejudice and aggression towards them. On 10th July, besides several gay organizations, we protested to MTV Rt., in a separate letter, and, on 14th July, we laid a complaint with the Complaints Committee of the National Radio and Television Commission (ORTT). On 1st August, ORTT invited the parties for an agreement, which was not reached because of the passive behaviour of MTV Rt. Consequently, ORTT condemned MTV Rt. on 5th September, and bound it over the publication of the stand in the broadcast time of the programme. MTV Rt.’s application for legal remedy was rejected, and ORTT approved its former stand. MTV Rt. found the stand injurious and took legal action against ORTT. (To be continued below.)

    REACTIONS: (in Hungarian)

  • Gay rights violated (Index, 7th September 2001)
  • At the anti-discrimination demonstration held on account of the Sziget case (that is, gay education programmes were about to be banned by István Tarlós, the local mayor, from ‘[Pepsi] Sziget Festival’, a significant musical and cultural festival), on 16th July 2001, we came forward with a handout, on which we condemned the abuses of the Bishops’ Conference and generally championed for human dignity. The message of László Donáth, Lutheran pastor, was read out by Balázs Birtalan: “God does not make a difference between person and person; nor can people make a difference between person and person.”

    REACTIONS in English:

  • Hungarian gays may ask PepsiCo to boycott cultural festival (The Advocate, 07/14/01-07/16/01)
  • Festival lifts gay ban (Budapest Sun Online, 19th July 2001)
  • Hungarian pop festival bans gay musicians (PlanetOut, 13th July 2001)
  • Hungary’s Pepsi Island Case (eumap, 03rd April 2002)
  • Hungary festival row over gay programme (BBC News, 13th July 2001)

    REACTIONS: (in Hungarian)

  • Holy Scripture? So what? (Index, 7th July 2001)
    (It is not worth drawing far-reaching conclusions from the title itself.)
  • What you hide in your heart (Index, 9th July 2001) [this title served as the slogan of that year’s gay festival in Hungary, and was taken from a poem by Hungarian poet Attila József]
  • Sziget cancelled the disputed contract (Index, 13th July 2001)
  • A constitution as a present (Index, 16th July 2001)
  • Gay affairs – in the article, our website was appreciated as well (Heti Válasz [“Weekly Answer”], 20th July 2001)
  • On gays’ situation (PRIM Online, 15th August 2001)
  • Tastes are different [a position on the Sziget case] (daily paper Népszabadság, 16th August 2001)
  • Tarlós’ ultimatum on Sziget was unconstitutional (Index, 11th March 2002)
  • On 22nd September 2001, the Humanist Movement organized a peace demonstration against the planned response blow to the American terror attack; on this occasion, it brought out a press release, which Five Loaves Community joined.

    Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration (BKÁE)’s Christian Student’s Circle’s lecture about homosexuality, within the frame of Important Issues Course of Lectures, was held on 1st October, with the attendance of several members of our community. The lecture by Géza Endreffy, Lutheran pastor, contained several flaws of facts and of aspect, which we intended to reveal during the conversation which turned into a heated debate. Our concise summary handout had been made for this occasion: “HOMOSEXUALITY – Questions and Answers From a Christian Perspective”, the text of which, entitled “If you have only 5 minutes for us…”, can be found at our site.

    2002

    On 31st January 2002, Balázs Birtalan applied to Dr. Ibolya Dávid (then minister of justice of Hungary) in an open letter, inquiring that if she remained a minister of justice for the next period of government, what kind of measures she intended to take as a faithful Christian against the discrimination of gay and lesbian people.

    REACTIONS:

    As a reply to the letter, Balázs Birtalan was contacted by a deputy undersecretary. They had a friendly coffee for one and a half hours, and though Birtalan holds the gesture in high esteem, he still does not know for who and for what it could be good – as he had addressed his personal question to the minister as a confessionary Christian. By his own account, he has been wondering ever since whether Ibolya Dávid prays through her undersecretary, as well.

    On account of the International Day Against Racism, a protest march was arranged by several civil organizations on 21st March. The joining organizations called on the government of Hungary and the missions in Hungary of all EU member states to fully implement every measure in Amnesty International’s Recommendations about all forms of negative discrimination. Five Loaves Community joined the statement.

    The first hearing of the suit between MTV Rt. and ORTT (about the coverage by MTV Rt. on the gay festival in 2001) at the Metropolitan Court was held on 29th March 2002. At the judge’s request, Balázs Birtalan intervened into the suit, on behalf of the Five Loaves Community. No sentence was passed; the following date was 21st June 2002. (To be continued below.)

    On 5th April 2002, at the 44th congress of Hungarian Pax Romana, Balázs Birtalan gave a lecture entitled “Gays’ and Lesbians’ Opportunities For the Integration Into the Church”. – The lecture was published in December 2002, in a volume entitled A kölcsönösség struktúrái [“Structures of mutuality”], which is a selection of lectures delivered at the Hungarian Pax Romana’s congresses in 2001 and 2002.

    A sub-page of Startlap [“Start Page”, for finding the most useful links in Hungarian, including, as of Aug. 2006, more than five thousand sub-pages about separate topics] was launched on 11th April, entitled kereszteny-meleg.lap.hu, consisting of about 400 links (collected and maintained by us) in the gay Christian topic, both in Hungarian and English.

    The second hearing of the suit between MTV Rt. and ORTT was held on 21st June. During this, Balázs Birtalan attached a supplement to his former intervention. Still no sentence was passed; the next date was 18th October. (To be continued below.)

    On 28th June 2002, within the framework of the 7th Gay and Lesbian Festival, we arranged a public debate, entitled Christianity and Homosexuality. During the festival – above all, at the Gay Pride Day march –, we distributed about 500 copies of our handout entitled “HOMOSEXUALITY – Questions and Answers From a Christian Perspective”. On 29th June, at Kerepesi cemetery, Bertalan Sándor blessed the newly built tomb of Károly Kertbeny (19-century writer, translator, who coined the word ‘homosexual’).

    The 3rd hearing of the suit between MTV Rt. and ORTT took place at the Metropolitan Court, on 18th October 2002. The court didn’t pass sentence but, at the parties’ joint request, it has suspended judgment for six months. During this time, MTV Rt. will contact the original plaintiffs to make a new programme in negotiation with them, in which they will also have the opportunity to present their point of view, in the same broadcast time and length as those of the original (objectionable) programme. If this settlement has not yet been implemented within six months, the case will proceed to sentencing.

    On 22–23rd November 2002, the conference entitled Woman and Man, Man and Woman. Hungary 2002 took place, organized by the Gender and Cultural Studies Center of the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, and one of its sections was “On Homosexuality in Today’s Hungary”. Within its framework, eighteen brief lectures were delivered by speakers from a wide range of fields, Balázs Birtalan among them. (The texts of the lectures are likely to be published in a booklet, as well.)

    The association Women For Women Together Against Violence arranged a march on the afternoon of 24th November 2002, entitled Testimony and Commemoration, against domestic violence, proceeding from the Supreme Court to the Parliament building. The march was accompanied by the Silent Witnesses, silhouette statues as memorials of the women and children who died as a result of domestic abuse; at the end of their journey, testimonies were recited. Their aim was to confront public opinion and decision-makers with the reality of domestic violence. The Five Loaves Community participated in the march.

    In connection with the repeal of Paragraph 199 of the Hungarian Penal Code, the Catholic periodical Igen (“Yes”) interviewed Balázs Birtalan in their December 2002 issue. This was the first time our point of view was published in detail in a Catholic periodical edited in Hungary.

    2003

    On 6th January 2003, we congratulated Dr. Péter Erdő, the new Primate of Hungary, in a letter and at the same time we expressed our hope that during his tenure we might be able to establish an actual dialogue with Church leaders, building upon our former attempts at communication. The letter was answered, dated 17th February, with the signature of Antal Spányi, titular bishop, archiepiscopal general vicar. (There is no mention of, or reference to, the Five Loaves Community in the letter; they addressed it only to the two private persons who signed the congratulatory letter.)

    On 2nd February, within the framework of the 34th Hungarian Film Week, a 55-minute documentary entitled Halállal lakoljanak? (“Shall They Be Put to Death?”) was presented, directed by Bernadett Frivaldszky, providing insight into the life of the author of the book of the same title. According to the director, this film is just the first in a series which will explore the conflict of living in the Christian faith with a homosexual orientation. Although the film was shown only as an informational screening and not as part of the competition, due to unexpected interest, an improvised extra screening took place.

    On 15th February 2003, millions of people in about six hundred cities around the world demonstrated against the planned aggression of the USA in Iraq. We also took part in the demonstrations in Budapest, and formally joined the initiative entitled Peace Chain, as well.

    In connection with the election results of posts in the Reformed Church in Hungary, we sent a congratulatory letter on 7th March 2003 to Dr. Gusztáv Bölcskei, the Synod’s ministerial president, Transtibiscan bishop, and to Dr. István Szabó, the new bishop of the Danubian Church District, on occasion of their election and episcopal consecration, respectively. Since we haven’t yet established even informal relations with Protestant denominations, we closed our short introduction with the expectation that through their episcopal service, an actual dialogue can be formed in Hungarian Calvinist communities, as well, about the situation of gay and lesbian believers and about a brotherly way of addressing their concerns.

    On 1st April 2003 (after about half a year of preparations) we met with representatives of the US organization New Ways Ministry who visited Hungary during their pilgrimage in East-Central Europe. After common prayer, we introduced our community to them, and they also gave an account about their activity, which primarily consists of education, and mediation between gay/lesbian and heterosexual believers.

    Based on the Metropolitan Court’s decree dated 7th May 2003, MTV Rt.’s suit against ORTT expired on 18th April. Because of this, ORTT’s former position – according to which the news program “A Hét” offended gays – has been vindicated, so that MTV Rt. is now required to broadcast the position in prime time (some two years after the original controversial report was aired, even though the news program “A Hét” has since been discontinued).

    On 10th June 2003, in accordance with the law, we officially registered our community (which, by the way, is seven years old this year), with the name Five Loaves Christian Community for Homosexuals Association. After the completion process (which is usually scheduled in such cases), the Metropolitan Court’s registration of our Association took effect on 25th September 2003.

    At the 8th Gay and Lesbian Festival we arranged an ecumenical service on 5th July, took part in the march, and on 6th July, the film Halállal lakoljanak? (“Shall They Be Put to Death?”) was shown again.

    On 31st July, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration, launching a fierce attack against gays and lesbians. The Five Loaves Community published its statement without delay, calling the document (which created a worldwide uproar) “saddening”, saying that “it could spell five hundred sorrowful years for the Galileos living and working in our age.”

    On 9 September 2003, Five Loaves Community was represented among the nine gay organizations which first had a discussion with Katalin Lévai, the Minister of Equal Opportunities.

    On 11th October, with the motto “Pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44), we offered a public expiatory mass, next to the Apostolic Nunciature (the Embassy of the Vatican) in Budapest, for gays and lesbians persecuted and killed throughout history, and for those who participated in their destruction.

    2004

    On 4th January, the Council of the Theological Faculty of the Hungarian Reformed Church’s Károli Gáspár University released a statement condemning homosexuality. The Háttér Support Society for Gays and Lesbians called upon the University to retract its unlawful statement. Since it has remained unsuccessful, Háttér – when the Equal Opportunity Law came into force on 27th January – appealed to the Court, asking it to take action against the University. The Five Loaves Community, in response to inquiries by the press, expressed consistently and repeatedly that it finds the University’s statement theologically unacceptable and fully supports Háttér in its initiative.

    The Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church, assembling at the beginning of May, (among other questions) dealt with the issue of homosexuality. To assist the Synod’s decision-making, we issued a study entitled “Choose life!” (Viewpoints for the Christian appraisal of homosexuality), and delivered more than a hundred copies of it on 30th April to the participants of the Synod. The resolution was finally published on 6th May 2004, in which they proposed the protection of homosexuals from all forms of discrimination, but – referring to the Bible – stated that homosexual “lifestyle” or its “propagation” cannot be reconciled with church service. The Five Loaves Community replied to it with a statement on the same day, recognizing some virtues of their position (among other things, that they don’t declare homosexual orientation to be a reason for disqualification from ordained ministry) but criticizing (among other things) that despite world-wide Protestant movements and our submitted study, they didn’t wish to reevaluate their teaching and continued to judge homosexuals’ lives merely from the point of view of sexual practice. We also expressed our hope and interest in how the preaching and social activity of the Reformed Church will reflect their intention to protect homosexuals from discrimination.

    On 3 July 2004, in the framework of the 9th Gay and Lesbian Festival, we invited those interested to an ecumenical service.

    On 6 July, a conversation was broadcast on Kossuth channel (one of the national radio stations) with Attila Bégány, a representative of the conservative party Hungarian Democratic Forum, and the leader of our community, Bertalan Sándor, entitled “Does a gay parade violate children’s rights?”

    At the town of Fonyód, at the National Touristic Meeting of University and College Students (EFOTT), held from 21 to 25 July, Five Loaves along with Háttér Support Society for GLBT People and Labrisz Lesbian Association hosted an information booth (every day from 12 to 21, except for the first day). We announced a talk for 23 July in the topic Religion and Homosexuality.

    At Sziget Festival (a huge international musical and cultural festival, from 4 to 10 August), several members of our community participated in the “Civil Island” section as “books to be borrowed” at the “Living Library” programme. On 9 August, we organized a discussion entitled “What do gays want from the Church?”, and on 10 August, at the summarizing talk of gay organizations in the Magic Mirror tent, Bertalan Sándor made a report about our community’s recent developments and plans.

    On 28-29 September, at Civiliáda, the annual showcase of Hungarian civil society organisations, we introduced ourselves with a booth shared with Labrisz and Háttér.

    From 27 to 31 October 2004, the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association held its conference in Budapest. Within its framework, the Five Loaves participated on the 30th in the introduction and exchange of experiences which was organized by the representatives of the French and Swedish member organizations of the European Forum of Lesbian and Gay Christian Groups. With our Swedish, French, Croatian and Romanian friends at the programme, we numbered about a dozen.

    It happened for the first time – but hopefully not last – that we held a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The reason why this event is not mentioned in The inner room is that we primarily intended it as a service for all those who (as we put it in our invitation published in several places) “want to break away from their loneliness at Christmas Eve and who think that in the shared celebration, even if only for an hour, they can catch a glimpse of the light of the Bethlehem night”. Parts of the holy mass were broadcast in the gay radio programme Önazonos [Identity].

    2005

    On 19 February, the Youth Christian Democratic Association published a statement entitled “Chart for the Protection of Families 2005”, which since then more than fifty organizations and more than a thousand private persons have endorsed. On 21 February, Háttér, Labrisz and Five Loaves responded in a joint statement on the document which called for open discrimination.

    We published the official position of our community in June 2005, entitled “Considerations on the relationships of same-sex people”. We sent the text to some 70-80 MP’s, among others, to every member of the Committee on Human Rights, Minorities and Religious Affairs of the Hungarian Parliament and to every member of the Alliance of Free Democrats, which made same-sex union a campaign issue. The position was received by several members of the other three parliamentary parties as well (the Hungarian Socialist Party, Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union and Hungarian Democratic Forum). Up to now, we haven’t received any feedback.

    On July 8, the online version of the leading Hungarian daily, Népszabadság, arranged a discussion forum on the situation of LGBT people. The starting point of the discussion was the position of the Five Loaves Community. Questions were answered by Balázs Birtalan.

    On July 9, we organized an ecumenical service at the 10th LGBT Festival.

    On August 21, we coordinated a lecture and conversation (the link refers to a shortened version) with Randi Solberg, the leader of the European Forum of Lesbian and Gay Christian Groups, and with Kerstin Söderblom; both arrived from Germany. They introduced the 2004 volume “Let Our Voices Be Heard! – Christian Lesbians in Europe Telling their Stories” with some excerpts.

    We organized a Midnight Mass of Christmas for the second time on 24th December, to which we invited guests through the gay media.

    2006

    Our association initiated its registration at the Metropolitan Court as an organization of public utility. We handed in the modified charter on 13th February 2006 (the judgment is in progress).

    In early March, we took part at the Budapest screenings of the film Trembling Before G-d by Simcha DuBowski and the succeeding conversations. A representative of our community had a conversation with Steve Greenberg rabbi, a senior teaching fellow of National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, seated in N.Y.C., at a book premiere organized in the Bálint Jewish Community Center.

    On 24th May, the European Parliament Information Office organized the seminar “Let’s end hate” on occasion of the International Anti-Homophobia Day. Our community was represented by our leader, Bertalan Sándor.

    At their yearly General Public Meeting, held on 25–28th May, we were admitted to the European Forum of Lesbian and Gay Christian Groups.

    We organized an ecumenical service in 2006, too, at the 11th LGBT Festival.

    On 17th August 2006, Five Loaves as a community ceased. The association will carry on the name “Five Loaves” and continue its social activity.


    Last update: 17th August 2006

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