–By Elizabeth Ahlman
Material for this article was found in reports from Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko and with the help of Translator Aleksei Zubtsov. This story features one facet of Parish Education in Nizhny Novgorod, which ties in with The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s June Emphasis on Parish Education.
The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) works with partner church body The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR) to reach out to the unchurched, as well as sustain the Lutheran churches in Western Russia. ELCIR Pastor Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko is the pastor of a congregation in Nizhny Novgorod. The congregation is constantly thinking of creative ways to connect with the local community by meeting their needs. This gives them the opportunity to share the Gospel and the Christian worldview with the people around them.
Rev. Boychenko reports that one such activity which continues to be fruitful are the marriage and parenting seminars, some of which are led by congregational member and Christian psychologist, Olga Lebedeva. Ms. Lebedeva conducted seminars in October and December of last year, as well as recently in January of 2015. In his report, Rev. Boychenko says, “[Olga held] open seminars on the Christian parenting of children under 10. On October 25 and December 20, 2014, [Ms. Lebedeva] led a seminar, “Handling Your Child’s Caprices Fast and Effectively,” and a training workshop, “Making the Need to Obey Joyful for Your Child.” Olga’s seminar and workshop were attended by more than 40 people.” In January, Ms. Lebedeva led another seminar entitled, “The Causes of Unacceptable Behavior in Children.” Included in the group which attended were seven unchurched people.
The congregation also offers periodic marriage seminars to help strengthen the marriages of members and non-members alike. On February 28, Olga Lebedeva led a seminar entitled “The Six Periods of Marriage.” Rev. Boychenko reports that the course was very well-received, with 34 non-confirmed church goers in attendance, among others.
Given the good reception of this kind of helpful life information, the congregation began a seven week marriage course for interested parties on March 21, 2015. The course is titled “Building Strong Foundations (The Importance of Spending Time Together).” The course took place over seven weeks on Saturdays and covered the following topics:
1. Building Strong Foundations (the importance of spending time together).
2. The Art of Communication.
3. Resolving Conflict.
4. The Power of Forgiveness.
5. The Impact of Family-Past and Present.
6. Good Sex.
7. Love in Action.
The marriage course is authored by Nicky and Sila Lee, a married couple from the Anglican Church, experts in marriage and parenting.
Through these creative means and many others, the congregation in Nizhny Novgorod continues to strengthen marriage and families for its members, as well as its community. The seminars and courses offer an opportunity to build relationships with non-church members, proclaim the Gospel to them and help them to become familiar with the church. Please pray for the continuance of these efforts, and that they would bear fruit both in strengthening families, and in new Christians.
- Pray for the congregation in Nizhny Novgorod, for Pastor Boychenko, and for congregational members like Ms. Lebedeva who offer their time and talents.
- Learn more about other work being done in Nizhny Novgorod.
- To learn more about the Parish Education theme this month, visit the LCMS site for a video and resources.