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Welcome to our web pages for the Transylvania Partnership Community which fosters and promotes our relationship with our Unitarian partner congregation in Székelykeresztúr, one of the more than 120 Hungarian Unitarian congregations in Transylvania (Romania).  Our Partner Congregation Committee (PCC) is the body which facilitates and coordinates the activities of our Transylvanian Partnership Community through various programs.

Mission – Our partnership community promotes, supports and enables the deepening of the relationships between our historic spiritual communities in Concord Massachusetts and Székelykeresztúr Transylvania. more

Goals – To achieve our mission, we have established the overall “goals” for Connecting, Covenanting and Communicating.  more

Iván Kristóffy

July 5, 1932 – February 23, 2021 

We are mourning the passing of Iván Kristóffy who died on February 23, 2021.  

Iván and his late wife, Ursula, were beloved members of First Parish.  They helped establish our congregation’s partnership with the Hungarian Unitarian congregation in Székelykeresztúr (Cristuru Secuiesc) in the Transylvania region of Romania.

In 1996, Iván and Ursula founded the Concord congregation’s scholarship program with the Berde Mózes Unitarian School in Székelykeresztúr.  Originally created to enable high school students from distant rural villages to attend the school and stay in its dormitory, this program now also supports students with financial needs from the town and neighboring villages.

Over the 25 years since its founding, this program has benefited almost 250 students, thanks to the generous support of over 160 donors.  The donors have included:  our congregation’s individual members and families, our choir, our youth group, and our Women’s Parish Association, as well as members of the Boston area Hungarian Society, of which Iván was an active member and former president.

Iván is survived by his son Peter and his wife Ann Marie and their three adult children, and his late son Andrew’s widow Andrea and their three adult children.

Ivan will be laid to rest during a private ceremony later this spring at The Knoll Gate, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, in Concord, MA, beside his loving wife, Ursula.  

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Parish’s Iván and Ursula Kristóffy Memorial Fund which will continue to support the partnership between our congregation and the Hungarian Unitarian school in Székelykeresztúr to which Ivan and Ursula devoted so much of their time and energy.  

To make a donation, please click the green “Donate Now” button in the margin to the left of this article. Select the “Gift” donation item and fill out the rest of the information. In the Memo to First Parish box, type “Kristoffy Memorial.”  Check donations can be made out and mailed to First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, Concord, MA, 01742, with “Kristoffy Memorial” in the memo line. For international donations, please email fball@firstparish.org to request instructions.

Concord Journal obituary


New England Tour of Transylvanian Hungarian Youth Folk Dance Troupe and Band

October 24 – November 6, 2019

Members of the Vadrózsák (Wild Roses) Folk Dance Troupe (Néptánccsoport), the Lelkes (Enthusiastic) Band, and a delegation of our partner congregation’s leaders were with us.

The Vadrózsák Néptánccsoport (Wild Roses Folk Dance Group), is a native Hungarian folk dance group from Székelykeresztúr, in the Transylvanian region of Romania. The group includes 17 dancers and musicians, 15 youth and two adults and are accompanied by the youth folk dance band “Lelkes Zenekar” (Enthusiastic Band).

Here is a short video they made to give you an idea of their performances in Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont:


And here’s a link to a brief profile about the troupe and the folk dance community in Székelykeresztúr with additional links to their pages and videos:


The dances feature an exuberant display of intricate moves and patterns that invite participation.  The live music is infectious and leaves the audience wanting to hear more.  The members of the group are eager to share their excitement about their native dances and music with a New England audience.  

The Performances and Workshops

During their ten-day visit the troupe graced us with seven performances and workshops at six venues in Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.

Saturday, October 26, 7:30 pm
First Parish in Concord Parish Hall
20 Lexington Road, Concord MA 01742
Freewill donations at the door.
Contact: Lillian Anderson lillianand@comcast.net
Monday, October 28, 7:30 pm
First Parish Portland Unitarian Universalist
425 Congress Street, Portland ME, 04101
$10 at the door.
Contact: Laurie Hasty laurie@maine.rr.com
Tuesday, October 29
Ferry Beach Conference Center Rowland Hall
5 Morris Avenue, Saco ME 04072
3:30-5:00pm Transylvanian Dance Workshop
$15 at the door
7:30pm Performance followed by a folk dance
party for everyone – all dances taught
Freewill donations at the door.
Contact: Marie Wendt mwendt@maine.rr.com
Saturday, November 2
UU Congregation of the Upper Valley
320 Route 5 South, Norwich, VT 05055
2 – 5 pm Workshop/Contra dance
$15 at the door
Contact: Rev. Jan Hutslar hutslarjan@gmail.com
Melissa Post goodwood@vermontel.netMarion Cross School
22 Church Street, Norwich, VT 05055
7:30 pm Performance
$10 at the door
Contact: Melissa Post goodwood@vermontel.net
Sunday, November 3, 7:30 pm
First Church in Belmont Parish Hall
404 Concord Avenue, Belmont, MA 02478
Freewill donations at the door.
Contact: Lillian Anderson lillianand@comcast.net


To sign up for any of the above events on the Concord – Székelykeresztúr facebook Events page at:



Making it Possible

This visit is just the latest one in a string of visits of members of the Concord and Székelykeresztúr Unitarian communities to each other since Rev. Gary Smith, our former senior minister and now minister emeritus, first visited Székelykeresztúr in January 1990.  For a bit of this history and the background behind this visit see Lillian Anderson’s article, originally printed in the UUPCC June 2019 Newsletter:


This 10 day visit required a major financial commitment since the airfare alone for 25 people is $25,375.  We cannot accomplish this without significant support from each of us who value these connections to our partnership.  

Additionally, everywhere they go their performances and workshops will also be fundraising opportunities as they are eager to help fund their stay with us.

The ten-day New England visit will be an opportunity for our friends to see Concord, Boston, Vermont, and Maine. Our guests will stay in congergation members’ homes in Concord and Vermont, and at the Ferry Beach UU Retreat and Conference Center in Saco, Maine.  Everywhere they go their performances and workshops will also be fundraising opportunities as they are eager to share their time and talents to help fund their stay with us.

Budget for the entire visit for 25 people includes:
       Airfare: $25,375
       Ferry Beach Room and Board: $4,500
       Van Transportation: $4,300
       Lunches:  $1,025
       Admissions: $625
       Total amount needed: $35,825

Per person Budget for the visit:
      Airfare:  $1,020
      Land Expenses : $480
     Total amount per person: $1,500

A donation of:
      $1,500 will cover all costs for a person
      $1,000 will cover airfare for a person
      $480 will cover land costs for a person
      $100 will cover one night at Ferry Beach for a person

Here is a video message from our Concord minister, Rev. Howard Dana, about the visit and its importance for both of our communities:


Please contribute generously to help us show our friends that Radical Hospitality exists not only in Székelykeresztúr, but also here at First Parish in Concord.  And please keep in mind that the dancers and musicions are eager to help with the fundraising and so all their performances and workshops will also be fundraising opportunities, and also that our generous hosts in Concord and Vermont will be providing food, lodging, and local transportation.

Donations may be made in any of the following ways:

  • by check (payable to First Parish in Concord, with “Partner Dance Visit” on the memo line and either mail it to First Parish in Concord, Attn. Tina Storey, 20 Lexington, RD, Concord, MA 01742, or drop it off at the partnership table at Sunday coffee hours
  • through your charitable giving account.  Please select/designate “First Parish in Concord, MA” (a registered 501(c)(3), Tax ID 04-2126599) as the charity to which you wish to donate, and designate the purpose as “Partner Dance Visit
  • use the Donate button on the left of this page and select the “Partner Dance Visit” choice.


The group is hosted by the Partner Congregation Committee of First Parish in Concord.

If you have questions or want more information, please visit the Partnership table at Sunday coffee hours,
or send an email to Lillian Anderson @ Lillianand@comcast.net.

Our Most Recent Pilgrimage to Székelykeresztúr was in April 2018 

Here are our twenty-six pilgrims with many of our Székelykeresztúr hosts.

More photos from our visit are at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rmattlage/collections/72157693332082672/.

The Partner Congregation Committee (PCC) and Religious Education Program, in collaboration with our partner congregation in Székelykeresztúr, are organizing our next Transylvanian multi-generational pilgrimage to our partner congregation in Székelykeresztúr.  Our twenty seven pilgrims range from elementry school well into retirement and include ministers, staff, individuals, couples, and parents-with-children.

Programs and ActivitiesIt is through our day to day practices, and our programs and activities that we realize our partnership Mission and Goals.

Our Transylvania Partnership Programs page has more information, including the following:

Partner Congregation Committee Members

Lillian Anderson (Co-Chair) Dana Booth

Tim Whitney (Co-Chair, Secretary)

Kathy Booth
  Pat Brinkman
Beth Norton (Staff Liason) Peggy Claybrook 
Sara Ballard (News)
Ellen Crompton
Darien Smith (Treasurer – interim) Bill Taylor
Katalin (Kathy) Spang (Scholarships)  Linda Benua
Rodger Mattlage (Co-Chair Emeritus) Marilyn Lowitt


Past initiatives:

==>  Our 3rd Quadrennial Visit of Keresztúris – Sept. 2012
== >     > See more at http://gallery.firstparish.org/piwigo/index.php?/category/465

==>  Our 5th Bi-Annual Youth Service Pilgrimage – July 2011

==>     >See photos at http://gallery.firstparish.org/piwigo/index.php?/category/642

==>· Transylvania Culture and Music Pilgrimage – Oct. 2010
== >     >Our Partner Congregation Programs page has more information

==>  First Parish hosts UUPCC Executive Board meetings and pot luck supper – March 2010
==>     > Our Partner Congregation Programs page has more information

==>   Balázs Scholar  and family visit First Parish and other New England congregations – Jan. 2010
==>     > Our Partner Congregation Programs page has more information

==>  Keresztúr Terrace Commemoration – Nov. 2009
==>     >photos of the dedication ceremonies for our Meeting House renovations

==>  The Astonishing Gift from our Partner Church in Székelykeresztur – Oct. 2009
==>     >– See UUA World.Org Article

==>   Photos of the Friendship House dedication services, events and celebrations – Sept. 2009




The Transylvania Partnership Community (TPC) promotes, supports and enables the deepening of the relationships between our historic spiritual communities in Concord Massachusetts and Székelykeresztúr Transylvania.

We are ever mindful of the common threads that bind us closely together.

So too are we mindful of our differences and seek ways to transform them into new levels of shared strength and hope.

We continue to deepen our circles of mutual trust and understanding of what it means to be Unitarians across continents, languages and cultures.

We visit each other to experience first hand the richness of our unique perspectives and histories.

We exchange ideas and gifts to enrich the life and spirit of each of our congregations.



We have established the following goals to help us achieve the mission:

Connecting – To bring together people interested in our partner church and Transylvania, including Choir Pilgrims, Youth Service Pilgrims, student scholarship program supporters, donors, and so on.

Covenanting – To take the initial steps toward possibly establishing a covenant between our two communities church, whereby our expectations of and promises to each other will be laid out and understood by both partners.

Communicating — To educate and inform fellow First Parishioners about the purpose of our partnership, the activities and needs of our friends in Székelykeresztúr, and how we can all grow in our understanding of each other. We will do this through well-organized lists and more frequent communications to interested parishioners.

[Rodger Mattlage , our webmaster welcomes comments, questions and suggestions.]