Will Ukraine be Evangelizing the West?

Ukraine on the verge of a major geopolitical decision

Commentary M o s c o w – For three days ending on 2 October, a Ukrainian religious delegation including Baptists and Pentecostals visited European Union headquarters in Brussels. The response was generally positive in Ukraine and all signs appear on «go» for the country to sign an «Associate Agreement» with the EU in Vilnius on 29 November. Yet the supposed moral decadence of the West does pain conservative East European Orthodox and Protestants. They believe Eastern Europe has done a...


The Church after Rush Hour is Over

Lutherans in Russia's Kaliningrad enclave have a new concept

M o s c o w – Things have settled down among the Lutherans in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad/Königsberg a quarter century after the political transformation of Europe. The throngs of tourists have shrivelled. Those aged, one-time residents from Germany who had planned to set up shop in the enclave have already done so. Due in part to a crises in leadership, donations to the region have dropped. One consequence of these developments is a new financial plan, a major downsizing which took...


Setbacks are Not the Final Verdict

Szczecin Baptist congregation is working on its future

Commentary M o s c o w – The Baptist congregation in the Polish border city of Szczecin (Stettin in German) has been through hard times. Even its building in Ulica Stoislawa 4 shows signs of duress. A programme to refurbish the building did not advance beyond the destructive phase: the chairs, flooring and a portion of the wall plaster were removed. Two stairs leading up to the balcony were torn out in hopes of replacing them with elevators. The building’s...


Taking Our Kids out onto the Streets

A debate involving Donetsk Christian University has its first birthday

Commentary M o s c o w -- It's been a year since a tempest swept through Ukrainian evangelicalism. That minor storm was caused by the moderate position of Olena Panych (“Elena Panich” in Russian), then a vice rector at Donetsk Christian University (DCU), on the issue of homosexuality. It began when the evangelical initiative “Love versus Homosexuality” called her to task for favouring a political candidate who had defended the civil rights of homosexuals. Soon the initiative's head, the...


Not the Worst of Times

The future of Lutheranism in Central Asia

M o s c o w -- The weak strains of aged female voices still waft through Omsk, Siberia’s Lutheran church during its German-language Sunday service. No organ is desired and the 20-or-so women sing from hymnals printed in the Gothic script and vernacular of imperial Germany. Elderly women remain significant players in Russia. Lutheran discussion on the role of women wanders all over the map. Yet the need for church leaders in remote areas remains desperate and lay...


Turbulent Times among Ukraine’s Charismatics

Two more church divisions have occurred

M o s c o w -- In a statement released on 17 June and signed by 12 bishops, 235 of the 345 congregations belonging to the 20.000-member “Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church” (UKhETs) announced their withdrawal from the church. This occurred after the church’s senior bishop, Leonid Padun (born 1960), founder and senior pastor of a 5.000-member strong congregation in Donetsk (eastern Ukraine), rejected the request of the Charismatic, Uppsala/Sweden-based “World of Life”...


Practice is the Decisive Issue

The Baptists of Ulyanovsk understand hospitality

M o s c o w – From 8 to 11 June, German and Russian Baptists – along with other Christians – celebrated the 20th birthday of a partnership between the Baptist congregations of Krefeld and Ulyanovsk. This occurred in connection with the 12th German-Russian City Partnership Conference as well as the 20th anniversary of the city partnership between Krefeld and Ulyanovsk. According to the Baptist Klaus Schilbach, more than a little hot air was...

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