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Howard Dews reports back on his whistle-stop weekend in Cluj

2 October 2018

I’ve just returned from a long weekend (Friday to Monday) visiting Cluj in Romania.  It may seem a bit “crazy” to go all that way just for a weekend but the availability of direct flights twice a week from Robin Hood Airport at Doncaster now makes this possible! 

As most of you will know we have had links with Romania since 1991 and with Manastur Baptist Church in the city of Cluj in the Transylvania region of Romania.  The reason for my visit was to be able to join them at the induction service of their new pastor, Daniel Lacatos (pictured below).   The church there has been without a pastor since the previous pastor retired three years ago and so it has been a difficult time for them during this period. 

Pastor Daniel is married to Simona and they have four children.  He was previously pastor at a church in the eastern part of Romania and so they have had to relocate to Cluj.  If you would like to see the induction service it is available on the internet via the following link (select “arhiva video” and then “7 octombrie dimineata”) – however as it is nearly 3 hours long and has 3 sermons (in Romanian) you may want to just dip in!

I was asked to give a greeting to the congregation on behalf of our church.  As well as it being a time of change for them I referred to change in our church with discussion about Sunday services and also with Norman Hiley’s passing.  I read Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “ After the service I was invited to join the invited guests and their families for lunch in the church.

The visit was also an opportunity to meet a number of people I know in the Cluj.  I stayed with the Rusu family who visited Leeds in May last year and enjoyed their excellent hospitality.  I met Rei Abrudan who was formerly youth pastor at Manastur Church and is now pastor at the new VIA church which seems to be going well and has grown to 500 members during its 3 year existence.  I was also taken out to the Apuseni mountains where we visited a waterfall and then stopped at restaurant for trout and chips (and admired the two wolf skins hanging on the wall). I also saw the new Christian centre being built by Manastur church in the mountains particularly for groups of young people and which is getting nearer to completion. 

Altogether an action packed weekend which felt as though I had been there for a week!

Howard Dews

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