Why & How ?
We are an international Christian fellowship. We welcome anyone, who agrees
with the thrust of our goals and conventions. As an
ecumenical group, we have grown out of a certain geographical and historical
context. Out of this context we would like to find out, what "Church" means
to us, just how are we able to live according to that immortal reality,
called the Body of Christ. We are deliberately focusing on all major Christian
traditions - beginning with our own. At the same time, we are eager to
listen to those as well, who do not belong to any denomination. We think,
that Christian unity needs to be intended by both leaders and (lay)people.
That's why we try to carry ecumenism to the streets.
Let's go! ...to the sources
As a first step, we take a look at our individual and family roots.
Everyone has a personal, national, religious and cultural background -
which, at times, may be quite complex! Just think of nationally and/or
denominationally mixed families... Our identity may not be all that clear,
and there might be friction, tension. Not a few have experienced friction
as to their family, national and/or religious background. In Central Europe,
two world wars have created a situation, where national conflicts and complexes
are opposing the dream of a common European home. We would like to contribute
towards a healthy identity, and towards a truthful notion of ourselves.
We ask: Where are those sources of living water, hidden within our own
traditions? How can we make the best use of them? That is not a nostalgical
retrospective, it's rather a new consciousness of lasting values in an
effort for a better future.
Knowing and Understanding the Others
At the same time, we focus on other Christian heritages, next to our
own. Traditions of neighbours and neighbouring peoples, traditons near
and far away. This happens by dialogue and personal interaction, by taking
part in a service of another liturgical heritage. That is how we may better
understand each another. In the best of cases, we are able to detect and
to rectify our preconceptions and misunderstandings. We are in favour of
a strong, healthy identity, that is, first of all we would like to strenghten
individual identity. The most important reality, however, is our shared
humanity and our faith. By saying this, we do not ignore or delete existing
A Quest for a Common Language
We're still a far shot from it. In many ways, we live in worlds that
differ a lot. For example, scores of unchurched people don't give a great
deal for those historical wounds and differences, which are currently kept
alive between denominations in Central Europe, and elsewhere indeed. We
would not want to force anything, yet we imagine ourselves as part of a
historical process. Christian unity should never be the result of human
ambition, but the most delightful fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are aiming
at a simple life style, which speaks for itself. A lifestyle, which is
up to date and in harmony with gospel principles. As a prophetical parable
of the Church, with time, we wake up to a common language which is useful
for both Church and society.
Our Guiding Principle:
Truth is stronger. It will prevail, if - following Christ
Jesus - love and a longing for truth and justice keeps motivating us. We
are rooted in Holy Scripture and are at the same time open for wisdom of
other sources. John the Baptist is our model. As a prophetic community,
we would like to prepare ourselves and others to meet the Lamb of God,
face to face. To us, this event marks the lasting solution - salvation.
...are we going to put all that into practice?
Fair question! As individuals, we are committed to our respective traditions.
As a fellowship, we closely work together with church leaders. Still we
are a community which is strictly independent. We don't accept donations.
You can't become a member, since there is no organisation as such. So neither
are there member fees, only free-will contributions which partly cover
expenses of camp meetings and publishing. What counts, is your personal
comittment. You may share yourself and your possibilities with the community.
At this time, only Brother István lives at Kajata all year round.
Besides volunteer work, he operates a translating business, whose profits
help funding community activities. In the not-too-distant future, we plan
to extend business activities to manufacture and agriculture, creating
work opportunities for local unemployed, former drug addicts and prisoners
as well. Friends lend a hand with volunteer work. We don't expect gifts
and accept them only, if their value is rather an idealistic one: e.g.
books, art work, used kitchen utensils, or regular mailing of a publication
(after you've read it). If one day the community of life will realize,
each of us will work in order to support ourselves and the community. (Open
houses with guest rooms, camp grounds.)
Conventions Regarding the kajata
We are a Christian community open to everybody.
Anybody who would like to do so, may take part without denying his or her
At kajata, the more significant Christian traditions are represented.
We suggest that you take part in religious and social activities, as long
as you can do so conscientiously. You are also expected to respect the
conscience of other participants.
Make the best use of your stay at kajata. Feel yourself at ease
as a member of your camp family. To the extent of your possibilities, you
should accept some daily duties. You are also asked to actively represent
your religion, your mother country, and your moral convictions. Besides
this, try to gain a deeper understanding of others.
Meetings are international. It's not forbidden to be a patriot. Patriotism
at kajata, however, is subject to acceping our neighbours as members
of one big family. As long as you stay with us, you're required to respect
We expect you to conduct in such a way as to help protecting both the environment
and the village community. You must respect the goods of others and of
the community. The material backgrounds of participants may vary significantly.
Be informed that camp life is rather spartanic - although we try to meet
your needs as good as we can.
As an ecumenical fellowship, we foster mutual tolerance between religions
and cultures - without pressure and artificial mingling. At the same time,
the example of St.John the Baptist calls us to commit ourselves: Let's
get ready to meet our Lord Christ Jesus.
History of the Community
A theology student at Geneva, Switzerland gets to know a couple of Hungarians.
He learns to apprechiate Hungarian language, culture, and - girls. His
mates starts to call him István, which is Hungarian for Steven.
Even though István is not exactly what you would call a charismatic
personality, his life has been full of excitement and vision. He has grown
up at the same time in the Church and on the street. His Adventist parents
taught him to believe. Curiosity turned out to be another "teacher". Due
to a lot of personal contacts, Stefan Neumann discovers, that there are
honest Christians and honest people outside of Adventism and Christianity.
The ecumenical movement more and more attracts his enquiry. So does Catholicism.
At the time he prepares to graduate from theology, he finds himself a practising
Roman Catholic - without ever rejecting the faith of his forefathers! That's
why he never becomes a minister. Yet there are a number of career perspectives.
At that time, all at the sudden he finds himself in a small village bedded
within the Zemplén mountain range in northeastern Hungary. Here
he would like to spend some time of pondering. He tells his friends where
he's heading for, and that at some time they might organise a camp meeting
there. From now on ideas chase each other. István catches fire.
He decides to move for good and to dedicate his life to this project. During
one year, he just lives there as a "tourist" - cultivating potatoes and
vegetables, observing, praying, studying, receiving visitors, visiting
surrounding villages and churches. He discusses and corresponds a lot with
old and new friends. He collects and arranges ideas. What you are discovering
at this web site, is largely a result of this consulting process, as well
as a fruit of our experiences of past months and years. In the beginning
of 1996, Brother István and friends launch the newsletter of their
community in the making - the kajata herald.
Partly due to the herald, first local groups are established - or
rather, existing local fellowships get in touch with each other. Kajata
is still a bud. News are out, however, and it is more and more widely known
as a young and dynamic ecumenical movement.
First troubles had to be faced first of all from the part of some conservative
Calvinist ministers - not local ones -, who tried to unite with politics
and police, in order to prevent Catholics and Adventists to enter Reformed
villages. They temporarily succeeded to create embarassment, and subsequently
it was decided to postpone larger meetings at Kajata itself. Those have
been venued elsewhere in Hungary. First of all, local group work was strenghtened.
Perhaps it also needs to be mentioned, that those hostile ministers generally
are not known for being very spiritual people, and that in the meantime
some conservative - truly spiritual and tolerant - Protestant ministers
have joined us in activities.
During the two years to follow, many a goal and plan has not yet been
realised. Yet we hold on, and slowly move closer towards a community of
life as well. When it comes to organisation, concepts slightly differ between
Germany, Hungary and Eastern Europe. Virtually all our plans requiring
more sophisticated preparation proofed to be a failure, or chaotic
to say the least. On the other hand, during summers of 1997 and 1998 a
fair number of individuals and small groups visited István at Kajata
spontaneously, mostly without prior notice. We had some unexpected media
coverage. The kajata house has been renovated and equiped with a
large kitchen, showers, bathrooms and other camp facilities. On 24 June
1998 - in spite of chaos - three local ministers (the Adventist, the Roman
Catholic and a Piarist religious) blessed the house. (Protestant and Orthodox
ministers planned to participate, but were prevented last minute.) Respective
liturgy was used in a common service attended by local believers
and youth. The Zemplén TV Company aired it on its religious program.
kajata participated in the process of the 1997 European
Ecumenical Assembly, both nationally and at Graz with an exhibit and a
workshop. Interestingly enough, contacts knitted at the Graz assembly proved
to be almost exclusively with folks from Central and Eastern Europe, who
had at least heard of kajata previously. Contacts to people from
Western Europe tended to be superficial and not lasting. All in all, the
Graz experience did not fail to make an important impact. Most participants
remain active, we have defined kajata as "GRAZ all year long - on
In 1999, another major effort is due towards more efficient organisation.
Small summer meetings are expected to follow more closely the pattern outlined
in our publications. A large one-week event should attract at least twice
as many participants, than our larger meetings up to now: Csönd-és-vásár.
The meeting features a double focus: three days of retreat, including a
feast day (24 June, birth of St.John the Baptist) and three days of exhibit
with cultural and spiritual side programs. The meeting is about the
calling of Christians and is intended to give a hand to young students,
when it comes to professional choices. Silent
Fair is part of activities around
the double Jubilee of 2000 - 1000 years of our Hungarian Christian nation.
Its double motto: It's been 2000 years...
the Carpenter keeps calling!
Tomorrow is where your mind is heading
- today's the time to act!
advertising "Silent Fair"
Late in summer of 1998, Brother István and a leader of a Catholic
organisation called HÁLÓ ("NET") met on www. A meeting was
arranged in November, which was preceeded and followed by other e-mail
and personal contacts. The point is that - from the fall of communism onwards
- HÁLÓ has deployed a great effort in uniting Catholic and
Ecumenical small, local communities, prayer bands, youth groups and independent
ministries throughout Central Europe. This is in part, what kajata
is all about, too. Therefore, from 1999 onwards we will try to merge some
of our activities. Thus we might be able to extend a hand to Protestants,
Orthodox and Adventists - help them NETworking by themselves, facilitating
exchange. Both HÁLÓ and kajata would like to
expand overseas contacts.
Indeed, the Carpenter's calling.
He's calling us home. Maranatha!
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