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Music from Bach to Handel to Modern Jazz an Outreach Tool in Nizhny Novgorod

Mon, Aug 1, 2016

Life Together, News, Russia, Witness

This report comes from Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko, a pastor in The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR), a partner church body of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). Activities at Rev. Boychenko’s congregation are supported in part by the LCMS fund Ingria Outreach and Church Support. Rev. Boychenko’s report was translated for our blog by Aleksei Zubtsov.

Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko, the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, continues to reach out to the community by providing an opportunity for the public to attend classical music recitals, presentations and discussions of classical music and quality works of cinematographic art in the congregation’s library room.

On April 9, 10 & 17, 2016, Pastor Yaroslav conducted three evening presentations about the music of George Frideric Handel. Church members and guests listened to and discussed Handel’s best music from his operas and oratorios, cantatas and chamber ensemble music excellently performed in audio and video recordings. One of the evenings was wholly devoted to Handel’s Messiah oratorio.  Rev. Boychenko prepared the English text with a parallel Russian translation for the audience.

Recitalists on the night of the French music recital pose for a picture. The event reached congregational and community members alike.

Recitalists on the night of the French music recital pose for a picture. The event reached congregational and community members alike.

On April 10, the church’s worship area hosted a recital of piano music by the French composer Erik Satie. The music was performed by La dantelle piano ensemble: Serafima Muratova and church organist Olga Shumitskaya. 

On April 12, Rev. Leif Camp from St. Petersburg visited the Nizhny Novgorod congregation and led a discussion about various aspects of the Evangelical Lutheran confession of faith and how it is similar to or different from other Christian confessions. The audience enjoyed the informal meeting in a friendly atmosphere and had a chance to ask questions. 

Rev. Boychenko discusses Haydn's music and its Christian connections in May.

Rev. Boychenko discusses Haydn’s music and its Christian connections in May.

On May 7 and 14, Rev. Boychenko led two evening presentations about the sacred music of Franz Joseph Haydn, making a special emphasis on The Creation oratorio. 

On May 8-9, the church’s “cinema club” hosted the viewing and discussion of Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter, a 3-part film drama released in 2013, centering around the life of five friends from Berlin in 1941-1945.

The congregation coordinated several different offerings with the city's Night of Museums event, reaching a wide range of community members with content that also allowed them to proclaim the Gospel.

The congregation coordinated several different offerings with the city’s Night of Museums event, reaching a wide range of community members with content that also allowed them to proclaim the Gospel.

On May 21, 2016 from late afternoon and into the night, the Lutheran Congregation in Nizhny Novgorod joined in with the rest of the city in the 2016 Long Night of Museums event. The church presented a program for the public, which included the viewing and discussion of the Luther film, presentations about Lutheranism, a roundtable discussion, an organ recital, an evening worship service, and activities for kids. The visitors showed a lot of interest in Western European and Christian culture. God willing, the Nizhny Novgorod Lutheran Congregation would like to take part in the Long Night of Museums every year.

The Deacon of the church in Nizhny Novgorod shares a series of lectures with interested community members concerning Luther and the Lutheran faith in anticipation of the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Deacon of the church in Nizhny Novgorod shares a series of lectures with interested community members concerning Luther and the Lutheran faith in anticipation of the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

During the event, Deacon Denis Tikhomirov shared with the public on the following topics: Lutheranism and the 500th Reformation Anniversary, Lutheranism in Nizhny Novgorod, The Lutheran Quarter in St. Petersburg, and Lutheranism in Modern Russia. Church member Vladimir Hukka presented a book about Carl Gustaf Mannerheim. Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko performed a lecture recital and led a roundtable discussion, J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel: Two Religious Worldviews in Music. Church organist Olga Shumitskaya performed a recital of several Bach, Vivaldi, and Saint-Saëns pieces. In the meantime, Sunday school teacher Irina Tsirkova engaged children in outdoor games and an arts & crafts class. The night was concluded by an informal gathering with tea and snacks followed by a vespers led by Deacon Tikhomirov.

In the evenings of May 31 and June 7, Rev. Boychenko shared with an audience about the music of Antonio Vivaldi, with an emphasis on The Four Seasons, discussing seasons in music, poetry, and arts in general, their symbolism, allegories, and meanings.

Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko discusses Jazz and connections to Christianity during an event on June 29th, 2016.

Rev. Yaroslav Boychenko discusses Jazz and connections to Christianity during an event on June 29th, 2016.

In the evenings of June 21 and 29, Pastor Boychenko invited church members and guests to his presentations about jazz, discussing its universal language of communication and its soul, the best jazz musicians of modern day, artists’ sources of inspiration, and their connection to Christianity.

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