22 November 2020 | Miskolc, Hungary [Paul Lockham]
“Bringing hope and helping people to be reconciled with God” is the ultimate purpose of hospital pastoral ministry while at the same time ensuring that they will not be left alone in the most challenging time of their lives.
Erzsébet Feketéné Trankusz commenced working as a pastor in the Tisza Conference of the Hungarian Union in 2015. As well as fulfilling her pastor’s role in the Adventist church she did some voluntary Chaplaincy work in the Hospice ward of the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Central and University Teaching Hospital in Miskolc.
The hospice is there for patients who are in the end-stages of illness, the majority suffering some form of cancer. While in the hospice patients are given support physically and mentally to deal with their end-of-life process. The care is provided by doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists/mental hygienists, social workers, pastors, dieticians, and trained volunteer helpers. The team provides complex (physical, mental, social, and spiritual) support. When asked why she got involved with the chaplaincy work, Erzsébet said, “My answer is very simple, the faith that I have received is priceless, which I think needs to be passed on to others.”
At the end of 2019, the Tisza Conference were unable to find pastoral work for Erzsébet in or near her home and for family reasons she was unable to move. But when one door closes another opens. Having been a volunteer at the hospice, Erzsébet had the opportunity to get more involved there. The Director of the hospital gave her the responsibility of being the chaplaincy coordinator for the hospital. However, there was one small challenge – chaplains are provided financial support by the state because they usually come from the major denominations in Hungary, with whom the government have made agreements. While the Seventh-day Adventist church is a recognised denomination, it does not currently have such an agreement with the government for the payment of chaplains. The Tisza Conference and Hungarian Union looked at the finances and together applied for support funding through the Trans-European Division Mission Board to provide Erzsébet a salary for 2020.