Those who follow international news know that Romanians and Bulgarians are now able to enter the United Kingdom legally.
Hateful and xenophobic screeds notwithstanding, little has changed no far, except those who have taken advantage of undocumented labor can no longer abuse workers with impunity. London is not swimming in people from southeastern Europe. But that’s not to say there’s not a critical mass.
Surely my dear readers know that most of the Unitarians in Europe are Hungarian-speaking Transylvanians; that is, Romanian citizens.
So I wonder has there ever been, or has anyone ever intend to (or hoped to) create a ministry to accommodate our religious kindred, should they come to the United Kingdom? And if so is there any plan for the larger community to help?
These are honest questions. I would love to hear from someone who knows.
It is interesting you note this, Scott.
When the Polish were given permission to work in the UK freely, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral saw a big upsurge in attendees to Mass. I think they may have even put on a Polish language service.
But the thing is, most Polish people are Catholic, at least in name, whereas Romanians and Hungarians are more diverse. The chances are Unitarians coming from the east, as it were, will scatter across England. So it will be a question of whether Unitarian & Free Christian churches can provide a welcome for them on a local case by case level. And a question of whether our new neighbours find our churches to be suited to their worship and fellowship needs, as some are likely to be theologically miles apart.
I am unaware of any “Transylvanian Rite” Unitarian congregation in the UK, although there are historic links and a student exchange/placement scheme with Unitarian College Manchester. Romanian and Bulgarian Nationals were legally allowd to enter the UK without a visa before. The difference since 1st January 2014 is that they are no longer required to register on a migrant workers’ scheme to work. I think the language barrier would be the main impediment to a Transylvanian Unitarian ministry in the UK, if it were to be for Hungarian speakers. Like Matt writes, it’s a matter of numbers and theology, too.
(I’m coming late to this conversation, sorry)
Despite all the hubris it seemed the UK wasn’t “flooded” with Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants on 1st January. Nevertheless this thought has occurred to me too. If more migration happens I think there may be a good argument for a Hungarian-speaking Unitarian congregation, in London at least where the numbers might be viable. Such a church would be suitable for 2020 Fund money, and I think might well be a good use of money. It’s not inconceivable that such a church could very soon become the largest Unitarian church in the UK.