CHAPTER NINE– A CHURCH
OF MANY COLOURS
During 1980, the Central & North London District Council of the URC
decided that Trinity should share ministry with the Holloway Church.
Early in 1981, Revd Istvan Kardos was called from his
chaplaincy of a Hungarian Boarding School in Kastl, Bavaria, Germany
to be minister of both churches. At the interview with the Trinity
Elders in February, Istvan, quizzed by Bernard Pike about his faith
as a ‘Calvinist’, said that to him Calvinism meant the supreme
leadership of Christ in every aspect of life. He mentioned that he
had been expelled from College in Budapest in 1951.
Ildiko and Istvan Kardos
left Hungary soon after the 1956 uprising and its suppression by the
Soviets. Istvan had commenced theological studies, but been
thwarted in his ministerial vocation through the state authorities
requiring him to train for the competition in equestrian dressage at
the Rome Olympic Games. Prompted by an acquaintance in the same
apartment block in Budapest, they decided overnight to make for the
border with Yugoslavia. With only the clothes they had on and no
belongings, they took the evening train to the south, but got off
before their destination when they spotted security guards
embarking. Staying overnight at the hotel in the town, the resident
pianist quietly approached them and offered the help of an
acquaintance to take them by horse and wagon to a farm on the
border. Ildiko was expecting a child (Judith). Arriving at the
farm, lights were doused for fear of border guards. Snow was thick,
but under cover of darkness they horse-sledged and then trudged
alone across fields guided only by a star. Istvan counted their
steps to reckon their distance of travel. Just as Ildiko could go
no further, they saw a light and – much later - discovered they were
in Yugoslavia. The next day, police picked them up on the road and
eventually they came to a refugees’ gathering point where they had
to sleep on a table. From there they were taken to a refugee centre
in Serbia. Some months later, traced through the Red Cross, a letter
arrived from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland offering Istvan a
scholarship to complete theological studies at Assembly’s College,
Belfast. They arrived there in 1957 with their eldest child Judith
born in Vienna.
In 1960 Istvan Kardos was ordained at Great Victoria Street
Presbyterian Church, Belfast, where Sarah was born. He was seconded
to work with Inter-Church Aid and Refugee Service (later re-named
Christian Aid) under Janet Lacey. He became the pastor of the
Hungarian Church in Barons Court. Stephen and John born in
Carshalton. In 1961 he was called to serve in Minterburn, Northern
Ireland. There he met Revd Arthur Macarthur, then General Secretary
of the Presbyterian Church of England. As a result, in 1964 he
accepted ministry in Aylesbury on a Council estate From a
worshipping congregation of 6 or 7, the church grew to 120 strong.
Then in 1971 he took up an appointment as Protestant Chaplain to the
Hungarian Bording School, and in 1976 became pastor to the ‘Hugenot’
Church in Schwabach. The children (except Sarah) went to school in
the Induction at which Revd David Viles gave the charges, Istvan
wrote in the Newsletter:
has a purpose with us and we have to work hand-in-hand in
order that we may learn and do His will. We shall meet
difficulties at times and Christianity is indeed an exciting
adventure. Our Lord Himself entered the very centre of our
crises and conflicts and to the world He appeared as a
rather tragicomic loser. We know, though, that He defeated
the forces of evil and destruction and, therefore, we do not
have to worry about the final outcome. Jesus tells us
clearly what we can expect: "In the world you will have
trouble; but do not lose heart, I have overcome the world."
We have been called to proclaim and demonstrate His victory
and all its implications. Isn't this an exciting challenge?
sincerely, ISTVAN KARDOS
From a church ‘looking after poor
people’, the aim now was to have everyone share in the
Elders minutes of 16th March 1981 record that ‘A Bible and a kettle
(!) had been purchased with some of the money donated by Mrs
Hamilton in memory of her husband’. On 1st June, it was agreed that
Hector Turner ‘would carry it into church on Sunday mornings and
place it on the lectern’. Hector was to retire as an Elder in 1984,
writing, ‘It has been a joy and privilege to have been allowed to
serve the Church for the last 55 years without a break…’ He had
been Session Clerk/Church Secretary from 1934 to 1976. He was
presented with an electric typewriter.
90th birthday celebrations for Hector Turner and Nancy Brown
October 1981, Fred Williams asked the Elders Meeting about the
procedure for Communion services. ‘Bernard Pike explained that
during the singing of the last verse of the hymn prior to the
Communion the Elders go to the platform… The Minister opens… and
when he announces the bread, the those serving the bread immediately
stand and he gives them the bread; they take it to the congregation
and the other two servers follow. When that is completed, all four
go back to the platform and sit down… The Minister serves the
Elders, the Elder on the Minister’s left serves the Minister and
then sits down’.
Christian Aid Week that year raised £1,760. 72% of the
congregation voted in favour of the URC joining in the ill-starred
nation-wide Covenant for Christian Unity. At the end of 1981, a
group of nine young people from Taize stayed in the church building
as part of a pan-European Pilgrimage of Reconciliation.
Early in 1982, Istvan Kardos expressed concern about the lack of
continuity in the worship patterns at Camden and Holloway and
suggested a change in the time of services to allow him to be
present at both churches on a Sunday morning. In May, he took up a
Chaplaincy post at the University College Hospital.
Cunningham had worked for many years as proof-reader to S.C.M.
publishing, and was fluent in New Testament Greek. When she retired
in 1982 she developed a taste for world travel, and then became
Trinity’s Church Secretary and also Secretary to the Pastoral
Committee of the Central & North London District Council.
Through Boris and Clare Anderson,
formerly missionaries in Taiwan, the work of the Camden Chinese
Community was introduced to the church, and eventually the Chinese
Nursery was set up under the leadership of Shu Pao Lin. In 1982, the
Nursery received a grant of £40,000 and sought to establish the work
on a more permanent basis.
In 1983, the Elders Meeting consisted of Hector Turner, Richard
Beepat, Nancy Brown, Annie Clifford, Jean Cunningham, Molly Johnson,
Molly Karamath Lesley Millar, Bernard Pike, David Ramsay, Sarah
Reeks, John Stewart, and Fred Williams.
Until 1979 Hamish Fraser had served as Church Secretary and had
continued to do much to maintain the church buildings while Lila
Fraser had organised many of the social events of the congregation.
In 1983 they moved to near Woodbridge in Suffolk, and Ildiko Kardos
found herself involved in the care of the property and in
co-ordinating social events. And it was that year that the minister
suffered a heart attack.
Congregational Sunday in the Frasers’ garden; Jean Cunningham
standing in the centre
1984, John Bremner – a candidate for ministry – was appointed as Lay
Assistant to the minister for about a year. John is now minister at
Inez Peters with others organised Caribbean evenings; her dancing
had to be seen to be believed! In 1985, Mr and Mrs Obuabang and Mr
and Mrs Osei were enquiring about church membership. In 1986, Simon
and Elizabeth Ahiafor also joined, and the links with West Africa
Marian Beha, who was ordained Elder in 1985, and Dot Fraser combined
to produce some outstanding pieces of drama in which the Sunday
children could fully join. In 1990, they contributed to a Synod
Children’s Work conference. From time to time the ‘Junior Church’
led the services. In 1987, Zab Osei, Kenneth McKelvey and Noel
Fraser were ordained as Elders. David and Christine Ramsay
transferred to Crouch End Union Church.
In 1988, a long-lasting link was forged with the church in
Groenenbach, Bavaria, and the pastor Reinhard Huber became a good
friend. He brought his communicants’ class to stay. In 1989, a
group from Trinity visited Bavaria. With the generous help of these
German friends, our excellent little pipe organ was repaired.
Another link was made with Brian and Christine Austin who ran an
evangelical enterprise called Mustard Seed. They sought to reach out
to drug addicts from a shop selling books and plants next door to
the church on Kentish Town Road. They became in effect for a while
the unofficial caretakers of the church buildings.
Just before Christmas 1992 Revd Istvan Kardos died. During the
ensuing vacancy, a District consultation concluded that a full-time
minister should be arranged for Camden Town for a number of years,
and the link with Holloway was severed. The Elders also met to work
out some vision for the future, and the ideas for a Camden Prayer
Cycle and for a more welcoming and brighter entrance-way were born.
The Revd. Donald Elliott was interim moderator.
Fred Williams and Bernard Pike and friends open a bus trip