This article draws from Rev. Alexander Furs’ report of congregational work at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Saratov, Russia. Rev. Furs’ report was translated by Aleksei Zubtsov. Outreach work done in this congregation of LCMS sister church body, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR), is supported in part by the LCMS through the Ingria Outreach and Church Support project. To give to this project, click here.
–By Elizabeth Ahlman
During the spring of 2016, the congregation of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran celebrated new members through the Rite of Confirmation. Simultaneously, one of its pastors, Rev. Alexander Furs, continued to reach out to the community and wider surrounding areas through his work with the internet and social media.
On Sunday, May 8, 2016, several adults were confirmed and became members of the congregation. Pastor Furs writes that “Ilya Gorbachev, his wife Nadezhda Barsukova, and Marina Grinina were confirmed during a divine service.” Senior pastor and Bishop’s Vicar, Rev. Olav Panchu, officiated at the service. Already, more interested people have enrolled in the next confirmation class, set to begin this coming Fall.
Rev. Furs explains that many people come to know of the congregation through participation “in the various congregational meetings and activities and its life in general. Thus, some people from organizations we partner with, with whom we have held meetings and seminars together on their initiative, have begun to attend our worship services as they developed interest in the Lutheran teaching.” Many of those who have attended other events have begun to attend Divine Service, as well. They have often had no previous exposure to Lutheran teaching.
Additionally, Rev. Furs works with the website for the ELCIR’s main webpage and communicates with those who have questions about Lutheran teaching via the tools there as a representative of the ELCIR. Often, he guides people in finding an ELCIR congregation near them. As part of those duties, Rev. Furs also recently created a congregational website for St. John’s in both English and Russian. He also began a Twitter feed for the ELCIR. Through these means, he hopes to inform others concerning the work of the ELCIR, as well as proclaim Christ and hopefully connect them with ELCIR congregations.
- Pray for those interested in the Lutheran faith, that they would be called to faith through the proclamation of the Gospel.
- Pray for the newly confirmed, that they would be kept in the one true faith.
- Check back soon for information about St. John’s Double Anniversary festival Divine Service and other exciting events celebrating 15 years since its founding and 10 years since the consecration of its chapel.