Russian Baptist superintendents graduate and Mission Department reports on progress

From William Yoder (6th April 2011), news of Superintendents gaining Master’s degrees is cause for congratulations from European Baptist Federation President, Valeriu Ghiletchi:

— On 23 March, Moscow’s First Baptist Church celebrated the graduation of sixteen of the RUECB’s superintendents (called “starshy presbyter” in Russian) who each received a Masters degree from Moscow Theological Seminary. Some of these clergymen had no previous academic degree in theology. Over the past three years they had prepared themselves for their final exams mainly through studies by extension. In conjunction with the Union Council, which meets twice annually, they had usually come a week earlier to Moscow in order to attend lectures on campus. Primary guest speaker at this graduation was the Moldovan pastor and politician Valeriu Ghiletchi (Chisinau), the EBF’s current President.

Alexey Smirnov has now been President of the RUECB for exactly one year. That was one reason why the Union Council, which lasted until 25 March, was concerned more than ever with numbers. Yevgeny Bakhmutsky, the Union’s Senior Vice President, explained: “We want to obtain a true picture of developments within our brotherhood. We want to discover how things really look among us and where we are headed.” He is concerned above all with the recruitment and preparation of further pastors for congregational work.

The webpages of the RUECB’s Missions Department report on two expeditions taking place during February and March. Missionary expeditions even during the coldest times of the year have proven their worth – they have been taking place for a decade. The Russian East then has more ice (better roadways) and fewer flies than in the summer. Both expeditions aimed to visit as many prisons and penal colonies as possible; one travelled primarily in the southwest (for ex. Tambov, Voronesh, Tula and Belgorod), the other in the central Siberian regions of Krasnoyarsk, Khakassia and Tuva. The western expedition terminated on 24 March after having visited 21 colonies and 3 rehab centres as well as 15 churches. Since many inmates were or are addicts, not only spiritual literature was distributed. Information on evangelical rehab centres which can be looked up following release from prison was also supplied. The number of listeners at meetings ranged from four to 250; the youngest listeners in special schools were only 10 years old. Employees and administration were frequently also present. The testimonies of missionaries who themselves were once addicted or incarcerated has proven to be particularly effective.

The RUECB, Russia´s largest unified Protestant church, represents nearly 80.000 adult members in 1.750 congregations and groups.

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One Comment on “Russian Baptist superintendents graduate and Mission Department reports on progress”

  1. Sigrid Says:

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