Six of UK/Ireland region attended the conference of the ICCJ in Budapest. A report will follow so we will not give lots of details here, but just a few thoughts. There were 15 participants from Sion, 6 from our region, as well as Jilvaneide from Brazil, Ania from Poland, Clare from Rome, and Rose Theresa and Marge from Jerusalem. We were also joined by Murray Watson and Alisha who are associates in Canada / US, Anna, a teacher from our school in Box Hill, Australia, and Mark Walsh, also from Australia. At the conference, as well, was Brenda Farrell, one of our Friends of Sion in Ireland, and Lucy, who was a volunteer in Jerusalem and did several Bat Kol sessions. The theme of the conference was ‘Towards Reconciliation in a broken world’. There were some really interesting and stimulating the presentations and workshops.
Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June were ‘Sion Days’ where our group spent time together reflecting on the conference and our response to it. On one morning our the Sion Days we visited our School in Budapest. This is now a state school, but until 1948 it was a Sion School belonging to the Congregation. We were warmly welcomed by the deputy head teacher and some of the staff. One of the teachers had been to the Biblical Programme in Jerusalem and others had been to Sion School meetings. The staff who were with us talked about the history of the school. They are very proud of their Sion heritage which is very strong. One of the students presented a project she had researched about the years when it was a Sion School. She had interviewed one of the past students an old lady now. During the war the Chapel was bombed and was never re-built. However, the crypt of the Chapel has been made into a beautiful space for prayer and reflection.
After lunch one of the staff took the group to the Cemetery, where the sisters who had been in the community were buried. It was a special moment for us as a Sion group in 2018 to be remembering, celebrating and giving thanks for the sisters who lived and died there before 1948. We left some flowers and a candle on the gravestone. (Sr Anne Lee, NDS)