Why & How ?

Our Goals:

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.
  1. Let's go! ...to the sources

  2. 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.
  3. Knowing and Understanding the Others

  4. 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 differences.
  5. A Quest for a Common Language

  6. 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.
  7. Our Guiding Principle:

  8. 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 Meetings:

  1. We are a Christian community open to everybody.
  2. Anybody who would like to do so, may take part without denying his or her own identity.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 that principle.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 small fire"!

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!

Hungarian poster 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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