–By Elizabeth Ahlman; translation of report materials from Aleksei Zubtsov
In June 2016, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Saratov, Russia, celebrated a double anniversary. The congregation is a member of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ECLIR), a partner church of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). Senior Pastor and Bishop’s Vicar, Rev. Olav Panchu, and Rev. Alexander Furs, the pastors of St. John’s, joined with their congregation in celebrating 15 years since the founding of the congregation and 10 years since the dedication of its building.
Rev. Furs reports that the celebrations began with an organ concert. The concert on June 15 was performed by students from the organ class at the Saratov Sobinov State Conservatory. Coincidentally, the organ class was also celebrating its 10th anniversary. The congregation has worked closely with the conservatory numerous times in the past, so working together to celebrate was a natural fit.
The official celebration of the double anniversary was celebrated on Tuesday, June 19th with a festival Divine Service. Rev. Furs reports: “Rev. Olav Panchu presided over the festive divine service. He was assisted by guest clerics Deacon Alexander Ukhanov from Novye Burasy and Deacon Vladimir Grigoriev from Engels, ELCIR Volga Probstvo, as well as by the servants of the Saratov Congregation Deacon Sergei Anikin and Catechizer Andrei Gette.”
In addition to special guests at the service, says Rev. Furs, the “acting minister chairman of the Committee for Public Relations and Ethnic Policy of the Saratov Region sent a letter of greeting to St. John’s Congregation on the occasion of its double anniversary.”
Following the service, the church’s choir and Sunday School students continued the celebration by performing a concert. Join them and us in giving thanks for the 15 years of the Gospel being preached in this congregation and 10 years of the blessing of having their sanctuary and church building. We pray also for continued growth of the Gospel throughout their community through the proclamation of the Gospel at St. John’s.