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Reaching Prisoners in Estonia

Wed, Jul 19, 2017

Estonia, Life Together, Mercy, Russia, Witness

On 8 July 2017, Rev. Oleg Sevastyanov from the Alexander Cathedral in Narva, Estonia presented a lecture for future church volunteers who want to work with inmates of Estonian prisons. Rev. Sevastyanov, who has been engaged in prison ministry for more than 6 years, spoke by invitation of Rev. Avo Üprus, a pastor in the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) and a member of Parliament who has been conducting aid projects for prisoners for more than 20 years.

The volunteers in Estonian prisons are called “support persons” and are assigned to one or several inmates.  The support person gets to know the inmates and will continue to work with them in a rehab center after the inmates are discharged.  These volunteers seek to assist the inmates so that they do not return to jail.  Rev. Sevastyanov shares his personal experience in prison ministry with the volunteers.  He points out the importance of an individual approach to each person based on their personality and emphasizes that “God has a unique connection to the heart of each individual.”

Rev. Oleg Sevastyanov, an Alliance missionary, is sent by The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR), a partner church of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  He serves as a missionary to both Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking people in two EELK congregations in Narva and Tallinn, Estonia.  In his prison ministry, Rev. Sevastyanov offers counseling, catechesis and worship to young male inmates.  He also authors and hosts a Christian radio program in Estonia.

 

Rev. Oleg Sevastyanov (5th from left) and volunteers serving in prison ministry in Estonia.

 

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