River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

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River Road Celebrates International Partnership

In the early 1990s, immediately after the Ceausescu regime was toppled in Romanian, members of RRUUC began discussing ways we could support the devastated 150 Unitarian villages in Transylvania.  Discussions were taking place on the national level at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and locally Dwight Cramer sought approval by the Board and was supported by Rev. Bill Murry to establish a partnership with a Transylvanian village.

The RRUUC Partner Church Committee was founded in 1991 and early in 1992 we learned our partner church in Romania was the Unitarian congregation in Fiatfalva, Transylvania. Thus began a 20-year relationship that has enriched the RRUUC community and has provided essential support to the village and the Unitarian congregation in Fiatfalva.

Since 1992, there have been 11 visits by RRUUC delegates to Fiatfalva and two visits by the Fiatfalva ministers to the U.S. and RRUUC.  The inaugural visit by five members of the RRUUC Partner Church Committee in August 1993 included Rev. Bill Murry, Marion Connell, Dwight Cramer, Janet Fernandez and Pat Wand.  We took with us medicine, school and sewing supplies. 

Fiatfalva’s Rev. Denis Botha visited RRUC in November 1994.  He retired in March 1998 and was succeeded by the current minister, Rev. Alpar Bartha who serves with his wife Marta.  Rev. Alpar and Marta Bartha visited RRUUC in October 2000.

In 2006, the RRUUC Partner Church Committee expanded its focus to include a partner church in Kyrdem in far northeast India. The project for Kyrdem supports the village school with basic needs like classroom construction, teachers’ salaries and a latrine.  Khlur, the Unitarian coordinator from Kyrdem, visited RRUUC in 2007 and Janet Fernandez, representing RRUUC, visited the village of Kyrdem in 2010.

Throughout the two decades, the goal of the RRUUC Partner Church Committee continues to be to meet the felt needs of the Fiatfalva and the Kyrdem congregations. All money raised has been targeted to assist them in some key capital or educational improvements.  

Members of the RRUUC Partner Church invite the congregation to celebrate our 20th anniversary of international partnerships at the PartnerFest on Saturday, March 23, 2013.