Book launch -- Szabolcs Ferencz Kató: When the Rooster Crows...

On November 22nd, 2022, in the Aula of the Protestant Theological Institute, Szabolcs Ferencz Kató's book titled "When the Rooster Crows..." was presented. The book was professionally reviewed by Éva Éles, a Reformed minister, associate staff at PTI, and a doctoral student at the Reformed Theological University of Debrecen.

The appearance of a new book is always a significant event in the life of the Theological Institute. This time, a publication was presented that simultaneously represents the institution's pastoral training background and scientific commitment. The volume presented is not a traditional collection of sermons, but a collection that combines in-depth analysis of biblical texts and its congregational applicability.

Szabolcs Ferencz Kató, lecturer of the Department of Old Testament Studies, prepared a volume for the so-called Feast of Tabernacles, which contains five exegetical studies, five homiletic outlines and sermons related to each holiday. The volume also contains three speeches focusing on the preparation for the Lord's Supper.

The sermons published in this volume are not only speeches composed at the desk of the author, but mostly delivered in a concrete congregational context. Most of the sermons were presented at the Upper Town Reformed Church in Cluj, where the author served as an appointed minister between 2017-2018. At the presentation event, the author, Kató Szabolcs Ferencz, told that the Monday discussions initiated by the former minister of the congregation, Géza Papp, were significant moments for him as a colleague. The texts of the weekly service were discussed together on a weekly bases, and these discussions contributed to experiencing the period of congregational service as a real blessing. The title of the volume was also inspired by this congregational environment: the rooster is a familiar symbol of the Upper Town Reformed Church, the Kakasos Temple. It represents the Christian motif that is a symbol of repentance in the gospel tradition. The rooster focuses on one of the central aspects of Christian preaching: it urges repentance and proclaims forgiveness.

Csaba Balogh, the Dean of the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca, greeted those present at the event. Vilmos József Kolumbán, secretary of the Reformed church district, spoke on behalf of the church. He highlighted the beautiful work of the Misztótfalusi Kis Miklós printing house.

The book was evaluated from a professional point of view by Éva Éles, a minister of the congregations of Melegföldvár and Katona, a doctoral student at the Debrecen Reformed Theological University, and an associate teacher at the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj-Napoca.

In her speech, she emphasized that Kató's book draws attention to what is at the heart of Christian, particularly Reformed theology: "To spend more time and energy explaining the texts, to show closer commitment to the Scriptures." In her comprehensive and thoroughly professional evaluation, Éles emphasised that in this volume, which is written for busy ministers preparing for the holiday, there are "true words, a clear source, distilled theology" to be found. She remarked that the selection of texts takes into account the genre diversity within the Bible itself. Here you can find debates, prophecies, genealogies, birth stories, theophany, letters, and apocalypse. Each study follows a similar structure: research - observation - sermon, and in this process, Szabolcs Kató does not omit difficult texts. The author was compared to the protagonist of a Hungarian tale "Nehézcsináló" (Difficult-Maker) by Judit Berg, with a protagonist enjoying to focus on accomplishing difficult tasks. Éva Éles recognized in the author a writer specialized in difficult texts. She specifically highlighted that while the author remains close to the text, he is also familiar with the current language of the time. The author is "not only a person of the text, but also a listener among the listeners," who "constantly exegetes not only the texts but also our world." (The full text of Éva Éles' review can be downloaded from the attached document.)

In the conclusion, the author thanked the people and the institutions who contributed to the creation of the volume, as well as the encouraging feedback received at the event.

The musical and vocal festive program of the theological students accompanied the book launch. The performers were Virág Berekméri, Beatrix Bíró, Réka Kánya, and Ádám Pánczél.

(The photographs were taken by Gabriella Berekméri.)

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