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From Playgrounds to Arias: Nizhny Novgorod Congregation Serves Community and Proclaims Christ

Tue, Dec 15, 2015

Life Together, News, Russia, Witness

This report is translated Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko’s quarterly report. Rev. Boychenko is the pastor of the Lutheran church in Nizhny Novgorod from sister church body, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR). Rev. Boychenko and projects through his church in Nizhny Novgorod are supported in part by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) through the “Ingria Outreach and Church Support” special project. If you are interested in contributing to the work being done here, search for this project in the new Project Catalog at the main LCMS site.

Congregational members work to create a playground for church and community children in Nizhny Novgorod (photos courtesy of Rev. Boychenko).

Congregational members work to create a playground for church and community children in Nizhny Novgorod. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko).

From June to September 2015, members of the Lutheran Church in Nizhny Novgorod worked hard to improve the land around their church building and set up a playground for children from the church and the neighborhood to be able to come and play. Members rented an excavator and tractor to remove the old tree stumps and to level the ground. Three truckloads of soil and sand were also brought to the site. Part of the church team spread the soil and installed the playground fixtures the church had ordered from Moscow, while others sowed grass seeds on the land. Now the congregation has a fully grassed level plot of land with playground structures!

Children playing on the newly constructed playground at the church in Nizhny Novgorod. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

Children playing on the newly constructed playground at the church in Nizhny Novgorod. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

Praise the Lord for a new minister in the Nizhny Novgorod Lutheran Congregation. In June 2015, the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Nizhny Novgorod passed a decision to request the ELCIR Synodical Council to ordain Denis Tikhomirov as a deacon for service in the Nizhny Novgorod Congregation. The Synodical Council approved the decision and on November 1, 2015, ELCIR Bishop the Right Reverend Arri Kugappi assisted by Rev. Ivan Laptev and Rev. Ivan Hutter ordained Denis at an ordination service in St. George’s Lutheran Church in Koltushi near St. Petersburg. Please pray for God’s blessing on the new deacon’s service in the church.

A sacred music concert in July shared the Gospel through music with church and community members. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko).

A sacred music concert in July shared the Gospel through music with church and community members. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko).

On July 26, the church’s worship area hosted a concert of organ and vocal sacred music. The program included works by Olivier Messiaen, Nikolai Medtner, Sergei Rakhmaninov, and Charles Tournemire. The organ pieces and piano accompaniment was performed by Ivan Tatarinov who also provided a Christian commentary for the concert. The voice pieces were performed by the soprano Tatiana Tatarinova.

A second concert in August also proclaimed Christ through song. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

A second concert in August also proclaimed Christ through song. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

Another concert was held in the Nizhny Novgorod Lutheran Church on August 23 featuring organ and voice pieces by J. S. Bach, Giovanni Legrenzi, Andrea Falconieri, Alessandro Scarlatti, Jean-Henri d’Anglebert, Handel, Leonardo Leo, and Buxtehude. The voice pieces were performed by the soprano Tatiana Tatarinova and the contralto Maria Ovchinnikova. The organ and harpsichord scores were played by Ivan Tatarinov.

On August 11, a Finnish delegation from Sotavainajien muiston vaalimisyhdistys ry (“Association for Cherishing the Memory of the Dead of the War”) visited Oranki, Bogorodsky District, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. The group was led by Chairman Pertti Suominen and included former chairman Pekka Pitkänen, Reservist General Timo Lehtonen, and POW historian and translator Reijo Nikkilä. The delegation laid a wreath on behalf of the Finnish government on the burial site of Finnish citizens who died as POW’s near the Village of Oranki in 1942-1943. Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko led a remembrance service.

Participants view the film and prepare to discuss its themes, and how they interact with Christian belief. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

Participants view the film and prepare to discuss its themes, and how they interact with Christian belief. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

On September 27, the church’s library room resumed hosting “Christian film club” meetings which Rev. Boychenko facilitates for anyone interested in viewing films and discussing them from a Christian perspective. This season was opened with Schastye — eto… (“Happiness is…”), a family film produced by Disney Russia in 2015 and directed by Artyom Prokhorov, Leonid Zalessky, Anna Yanovskaya, Tatiana Gulina, Viktoria Kozeltseva, Tatiana Ponomaryova, and Sergei Burov. Seven different stories and seven different happy endings try to prove that every person deserves happiness.

Olga Lebedeva leads the seminar on limiting screen time for children. Mrs. Lebedeva holds many such seminars through the church, as well as helping with family camps in the summer months. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

Olga Lebedeva leads the seminar on internet safety and limiting screen time for children. Mrs. Lebedeva holds many such seminars through the church, as well as helping with family camps in the summer months. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

On October 3, church member and Christian psychologist Olga Lebedeva led a parents’ meeting in the church to talk about internet safety for children and ways to reduce children’s screen time.

The interdenominational conference is a chance to share ideas and learn from another, as well as be a witness to confessional Lutheran teachings. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

The interdenominational conference is a chance to share ideas and learn from one another, as well as be a witness to confessional Lutheran teachings. (Photo courtesy of Rev. Boychenko)

On the same day, the Lutheran church in Nizhny Novgorod hosted an interdenominational conference, “The Church’s Mission in the Modern World: How Can We Speak the Gospel Today?” gathering more than 45 clerics and laypeople of The Russian Orthodox Church from Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow, pastors and laypeople from four Protestant churches and the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Nizhny Novgorod.

  • Learn more about the summer Family Camps.
  • To support this project, visit the Project Catalog and search for “Ingria Outreach and Church Support.”

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