PostHeaderIcon Romania Mission Project

…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

Matthew 25:40

Background map

Epiphany has a long history of reaching out to people who are suffering in our local community and around the world. We learned about the widespread poverty and discrimination against our Roma (also known as “Gypsy”) brothers and sisters in Cefa, Romania through Epiphany Music Director Joe Burt, who has known and worked with Romanian Pastor Alex Stroie for many years. Pastor Alex serves churches in Cefa and Berechiu, two small villages in northwestern Romania, near the Hungarian border.

Cefa and Berechiu are both rural communities in which Roma and non-Roma families live very different lives. Roma face persistent discrimination in employment and basic community services, and Roma children receive inferior educations, nutrition and health care compared to non-Roma children. Statistically, the school dropout rate among Roma children is quite high, since the Romanian teachers do not offer them any help with understanding their schoolwork.

The Homework Project

 The after-school homework project is thriving! The classroom is full to the rafters, there are plenty of books and supplies, and the snacks are nutritious. Roma (Gypsy) and non-Roma children are learning together. A lovely, energetic woman named Mariana (at right, in purple) leads the tutoring program assisted by her daughter (in pink). Pastor Alex has had to turn away children because the program has become so popular. Mariana and her daughter genuinely enjoy working with the children.

Visit the new site for the homework project

Winter coatswinter coat

Epiphany members donate three large boxes of coats, shoes, mittens, scarves, hats and clothing to children in the homework project and kindergarten. The children (and their parents) are very excited to have warm new things.

Housing project

 During our visit to Romania in October 2006, mission team members met with the Mayor of Cefa to ask the village to contribute land where we could build homes for local Roma families, whose living conditions are often compared to “third world.” The mayor said he would recommend to the village council that they provide ½ hectare (about 1¼ acres) for us to use. Our resident architect Joe Burt has designed a prototype for “gypsy duplexes,” so after we receive approval to use the land we plan to build one duplex as a pilot project this summer. Ultimately we would like to build 12 duplexes on the parcel, housing 24 families.

photo galleryphotos of Epiphany's trip to Romania October 5-15, 2006.

This week at Epiphany
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