A Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the central European nation of Hungary was recently awarded a prestigious prize for his contributions to the well-being of Hungarian families. Hungarian Union family ministries director Gábor Mihalec, both a pastor and a family therapist, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Kopp-Skrabski Prize.
During the award ceremony held at the Kopp Mária Institute for Population and Families (KINCS) on June 4, 2018, the institute leaders stated that Mihalec “has made immense efforts to strengthen and preserve the value of marriage, childbirth, and family.” The laudation also acknowledged that he rescued or helped to start hundreds of relationships and marriages through his work as a couples and family therapist. It was noted that he had helped not only couples but also families and singles by providing useful, professional, and practical advice through his many publications.
The award is named after a renowned Hungarian couple, Mária Kopp and Árpád Skrabski. The highly acclaimed Professor Kopp (1942–2012) conducted research in areas such as clinical epidemiology, psychophysiology, and psychosomatics for almost five decades.
An initiative established by Kopp in 2009 seeks to support young adults in accomplishing their dreams of having children. The initiative aims to create optimal conditions for the birth of planned children by addressing ten areas of improvement such as work-life balance, financial stability, and stable relationships. Kopp’s nonprofit foundation rewards people who “perform outstanding work for the health of society, for the creation of supportive communities, for a family-friendly approach, for the prosperity of others, and for the birth of desired children.”
During the award presentation, Professor Ágnes Engler emphasized that it is a privilege to have people who work in a professional capacity following a personal call, “whose attitude is to serve others rather than just providing a service.” Basing her words on a biblical paraphrase, she stated that those who work for families and children in the spirit of love “are collecting treasures in the right place.”
It was not the first time that the paths of Kopp and Gábor Mihalec have crossed. Also in 2009, Kopp launched Population Roundtable with the aim of exploring the conditions for the improvement of the demographic situation by collaborating with sociologists, psychologists, pedagogues, engineers, economists, and social workers. As part of this initiative, in 2011 and 2012 she invited the founders of the Adventist-run Two-Together Marriage Workshop, Gábor Mihalec and Róbert Csizmadia, into a working group focused on the development of educational material in family life education.
Representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Hungary congratulated Mihalec on his award. “We pray that through his ministry many married couples and families will experience a restoration of their relationships, the re-discovery of love, and through such experiences, they may discover God, who is Love,” they said.