Advent & Christmas in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko, a pastor of our sister church body, recently shared a report of the Advent and Christmas activities in his congregation. Rev. Boychenko serves LCMS sister church body, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR). The LCMS supports this sister church body through the Ingrian Outreach and Church Development Fund. The report was translated by Aleksei Zubtsov.

–Edited by Elizabeth Ahlman

During the Advent and Christmas seasons, Rev. Boychenko and the congregation at Nizhny Novgorod hosted several activities which proclaimed the Gospel to believers and non-believers alike through their interests and through serving them.

On Saturday 26 November, which was the eve of Advent 1, for the fifth time we conducted a traditional activity – Senior Generation Day. This is a congregational festival to which we invited our brothers and sisters aged 60 and above. The festival’s program included a short worship service with Holy Communion, a small play with spiritual content and a concert, a tea party, and gift giving (tea and candies). This traditional festival shows honor to older members, and brings the different generations of the Church together in serving them and interacting with them.

The Senior Day was well attended and included participants from across generations. (Photo Courtesy of Yaroslav Boychenko).

On the fourth of December, the Sunday Divine Service included the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism to two children of church members, a wonderful addition to the Advent season.

Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko blesses one of the children to be baptized during an Advent worship service in Nizhny Novgorod. The boy and his sister (the baby in her father’s arms) were baptized. (Photo Courtesy of Yaroslav Boychenko).

On the 1st and 15th of December, Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko led two part seminar on music entitled: Melody. What is it? How does it come and from where? Why, when we reflect on melody, do we talk about Soul, Heart, Mind, and God? “Music talks about those secret and elevated things that the soul dreams of and anticipates. It’s as if melody revealed the higher ideas and feelings that human language was powerless to express. It is the revelation of the endless.” (George Sand). “Life is like a beautiful melody, only the songs are confused.” (Hans Christian Andersen) Paricipants spent time reflecting on Melody and listening to music with excellent examples of melody.

Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko (back left of the photo) discusses melody with participants while showing a clip in the congregation’s library, which is also used as a meeting room. (Photo Courtesy of Yaroslav Boychenko).

One of the meetings was attended by guest of honor, Yulia Lotova, an organ teacher and organist in a Lutheran congregation in Moscow.

The congregation publishes announcements about musical meetings for anyone interested on Afisha Nizhnego Novgoroda website, in vk.com, and on our congregation’s website, bringing in community members to hear both the excellent content and the Gospel.

The outstanding attendance at the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services was a reason to rejoice. (Photo Courtesy of Yaroslav Boychenko).

On Christmas Eve 2016, all of the church members gathered at 6 pm, and on Christmas Day at 12 noon. Pastor Boychenko says: “There were so many people! Praised be the Lord!” After worship, church members performed a concert. Three Lutheran sisters in Christ from Namibia sang one of the traditional Christmas hymns. Everybody enjoyed a festive meal and tea!

The Sunday School children sing for the Christmas Even service in Nizhny Novgorod. (Photo Courtesy of Yaroslav Boychenko)

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