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Transylvania Partner Church

About Brasso

First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego is honored to be a Partner Church to the Unitarian Church of Brassó in Romania.


In 1991 our Church joined a then-new program pairing American UU Congregations with Unitarian Churches in Transylvania; this began our relationship with the Unitarian congregation in Brásso, Romania. Two visits by their minister, Sándor Máthé helped put a human face on the relationship and give us insight into the spiritual depth of their branch of our shared religious tradition.

1995 Friendship Tour

Over 50 of us made this trip into Romania and Hungary, part of the time staying with families in both city and village. We learned about each other, shared meals and worship, and became no longer strangers. We also brought the gift of music, as our Choir sang in venues large and small, with the highlight being a performance at the first ever joint religious event in the historic "Black Church" of Brásso.

2008 Pilgrimage

15 travelers from First Church undertookthis Transylvanian pilgrimage. We stayed with host families in Brassó, where we participated in the dedication of their new multi-purpose building (still under construction); the ceremony was attended by the city mayor as well as the Unitarian Bishop. We visited a number of historic sites, including the centuries-old Unitarian Church at Skékelyderzs, a UNESCO World Heritage site with medieval frescoes, the Unitarian Church in Kolosvár, where we passed around the 16th-century golden chalice which was only recently recovered after the government had seized it during the Communist era, and we attended the Sunday Service at First Unitarian Church in Budapest.

Our Connection

Through this relationship we have learned much about our denomination’s historical roots, and what it has meant for these, our spiritual kin, to live their faith through times of persecution as well as cultural and economic change. During the aftermath of Iron Curtain days, their Partner Church link to the outside world provided a source of strength and hope; now, in our reciprocal relationship, as we offer them economic advice and support, they continue to teach us about the depth of our faith. Together we are learning how to express and live our liberal faith in the 21st century.

July, 2015


Transylvanian Partner Church Chair Dan Ratelle visits the Unitarian Church in Brásso, bringing greetings from First Church, as well as a gift from our congregation, honoring Rev. Sándor Máthé’s more than 20 years of service to his congregation and to our Partnership. The progress on their new multi-purpose building, “San Diego Friendship Hall,” continues. In February, 2015, an unusually severe storm literally blew off the stucco and insulation “skin” from parts of the outside of the building (visible in the attached photo), but otherwise the building was unscathed. The basement and bottom floors are complete, as are parts of the 2nd and 3rd floors, and Dan was able to stay in the first completed guest room. Their invitation to visit remains open!

For more about this trip and about the history of our Partner Church program, see an article in the up-coming September First Words Magazine.

For Travel: If you are considering a trip to this region, either individually or as a group, a great resource is the UU Partner Church Council (www.uupcc.org). On their website you can find general advice and information, upcoming pilgrimages that you could join, and links to their fine travel leaders, who could answer more specific questions.

Naming Ceremony: May 11, 2014

On this Sunday the Unitarian Bishop came from Kolosvár to our Partner Church in Brassó to preside over a Naming Ceremony, in which the new Social Center was christened "San Diego Friendship Hall," in recognition of our support and continuing friendship. This building, with its dining hall, classrooms and accommodations, will be a huge help in ensuring the congregation's survival and in extending their service to the larger community. Our congregation was instrumental in beginning this important project, and has helped during the years of construction. In 2008 fifteen members of our congregation participated in the Building Dedication, and for the future, all of us are warmly invited to visit, and to stay in the guest rooms!

Below is a note from our Partner Church minister, Rev. Sándor Máthé, from December 2013.

Dear Friends,

With the holidays upon us, our thoughts turn to our friends around the world, as we hold them in our hearts in this season of warmth. We are thankful for all we have received from you: your friendship, your care, your loving hearts, and we hope that these friendships will be blessed through the richness they bring to our lives.

We wish you all a Blessed Christmas and a Successful New Year!

With Friendly Love!

Máthé Sándor 

from Brassó, Transylvania

Letter from Rev. Sándor Máthé, December 2012

Below is a note from our Partner Church minister, Rev. Sándor Máthé, from December 2012.

Dear Friends,


Another year is almost over. We have been so busy all the time that we really did not realize how fast it has gone. We cannot turn back the big time-wheel, which goes round and round, not taking in consideration how we feel about it. So we have to try to do our best in order to fulfill our own dreams and the expectations of the community that we serve.

As for our family, it was the fourth birthday of our grandson Vadony in September. We have so enjoyed being together with family and friends.

As for political and economic situation in Romania, there is nothing new or encouraging for ordinary people like us. Inflation is still very high because of the policy of the Government. Politicians are talking about the economic crisis, but I have the strong feeling that the moral crisis of our society is much deeper. Even worse is that we simple citizens cannot do much to change this situation.

We have enjoyed the partnership with your Church for more than twenty years now, and we all are grateful for all your support, both spiritual and financial.  Without this support we could not complete our new church hall and guest house. We are making some progress, and some rooms are now ready for guests. This means we hope you will come visit us in Brassó!

Please accept our warmest greetings for this special season of Christmas and the coming New Year.

Yours in Faith,
Rev. Sándor Máthé

Letter from Rev. Sándor Máthé, December 2011

Below is a note from our Partner Church minister, Rev. Sándor Máthé, from December 2011. 

Dear Friends in San Diego,

As it happens every year, December is the busiest time around our church. We have had lots of activities for various age groups. For the very first time in our history we organized religious education classes for adults. Over 40 people attended the courses and enjoyed just being together. We also had activities for our children related to Advent and Christmas. The youth group was very active too, preparing a short Christmas story which they performed on Christmas day at the evening service. Christmas Eve was the highlight of these events when more than 60 children participated, along with their parents and grandparents. The children recited poems and sang Christmas songs. And on Christmas day we had two services where there were over 500 people sharing the communion, the Lord's Supper, as we call it.

Winter in Brassó, Romania

We have good news regarding our new building: We have received some more money from the Romanian Government, so we can continue the work and hope to complete at least 5 guestrooms on the upper level of our community building by the end of April. This way we will be able to accommodate 8 - 10 people very comfortably. Take this as an invitation for you all!

The new year is here, with more events and services: The first one was the Ecumenical Week of Prayer, January 18 - 25. This is a special series of services held in the churches of the seven Christian denominations of the city of Brassó. Hundreds of people attend, as these services are tri-lingual (Romanian, Hungarian and German) and we conduct them in turns at the different churches.

We wish you a Happy new year and hope to see you visiting with us in Brassó!

Yours in Faith,
Rev. Sándor Máthé

Greetings to Brasso

Expressing our friendship and gratitude on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego's partnership with the Unitarian Church of Brassó, Romania.

Current local date and time in Romania: