In October 2014, St. John the Evangelist Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Saratov, Russia, continued to reach out with assistance to refugees. The church people are now working with three more families, so in total the congregation is aiding 10 families and several individuals. The church people and their clergy invite all the needy to come to their chapel where they talk with them, invite them to their congregational activities, and whenever possible provide them with needed clothes, etc. The aid project continues.
Praise God that around 30 new people have visited St. John’s congregation during the month of October and in November, Rev. Furs (co-) officiated at four Sunday divine services which were attended by 25-40 new people in addition to regular worshipers. As usual, after church the clergymen talked with the newcomers answering their questions, telling them about the Christian teaching and the confession of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the history of Lutheranism and the role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia’s history and culture. They gave books to many of the new people and invited them all to come back to participate in worship and other regular congregational activities. As usual, the church’s clergy talk with them, answer their questions, and invite them to take part in congregational activities.
Rev. Furs also continued to witness to his faith in personal conversations. Additionally, during this time as always, Rev. Furs gathered material and wrote an article about past and upcoming festivals and activities in the chapel for the newsletter of non-governmental organizations and associations in the Saratov region. He also replied to more than 20 emails with feedback and questions from visitors of the congregation’s website and messages that came through the guestbook of the ELCIR central website.
Catechesis continues and new members are added often. Praise God for a new confirmation! Mikhail Gorenkov who graduated from the church’s catechization school was confirmed during a Sunday divine service.
On November 9, 2014, St. John the Evangelist Congregation hosted another organ concert in collaboration with partners from the organ studio of the Saratov State Conservatory. The performers were students from Natalia Golfarb’s organ class. The program included well-known and not very well-known works. They had a full house. Most of the listeners came to the Lutheran church for the first time. Here’s a quote from an internet blog where a listener shared her impressions:
This concert of organ students from the Saratov State Conservatory, unlike two previous ones, was not held in a huge concert hall, but in the modest space of St. John’s chapel located below the much better known Zhiguli Bar in Saratov… It was a full house… It felt like being in a family circle which made listening to the music especially warm. A small auditorium, a small organ, beginning performers, a short program, and at the same time majestic, even overawing music! I’d like to note “Moonlight” by Louis Vierne, a penetrating and tender melody, remotely reminding me of Soviet films about space flights. Measuring up to an authentic French choir, the conservatory students had prepared a preface for every composition which whetted the ear for the next melody and facilitated our understanding. The fact that the girls were only students was almost unnoticeable…
Also in November, the congregation’s youth club met three times. Many new young people were in attendance. As always they raised important issues, had discussions, and answered questions. With the assistance of the new catechist Sergei Anikin and his wife, one of the club’s meetings included a display of works by a young Saratov artist which was attended by many young people. In addition, the congregational youth group led by the new catechist and youth worker Sergei Anikin are preparing a mission program for Christmas.
- Learn more about work in Russia.
- Pray for the people of Saratov, Russia, that those who attend recitals, concerts, and other activities at the Church would hear the Gospel, repent and believe.