Category: News

$1 Million Milestone

$1 Million Milestone

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thank you for supporting the restoration of the Lutheran Church in Russia! We have surpassed our first major milestone and announce that we have received in donations and commitments over $1 million towards the $7 million goal to permanently fund the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. The endowment is safely tucked away in conservative investment accounts, managed by professional, bonded personnel. God be praised!

Thanks to skilled and dedicated Lutheran volunteers, we had a very professional presence and meaningful literature, along with a new video.  We made many wonderful contacts among the pastors and laity, who will be taking our story back to their congregations.
 To stimulate interest, we also had a little contest: “Guess how many M&Ms in the little Matryoshka Dolls.”  It created a lot of interest (see to the left) and allowed us to speak with a many new supports.  Rector Alexsey Streltsov of the Siberian seminary was present, and also drew many to our booth. 

We also received another important endorsement of our efforts this month. As you’ll remember, President Harrison charged SLMS to Save the Seminary as our primary funder considers reducing their support.  President Harrison therefore recently penned the following confirmation letter, as detailed below:

“Dear Rev. Daniel Johnson, Greetings in the name of Jesus! The Seminary of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church exists because of the remarkable efforts of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne who answered the appeal from Pastor Vsevolod Lytkin in 1996 for help in establishing a confessional seminary in Siberia. Two years ago, the Siberian Lutheran Mission Society responded to a request from my office to assist the LCMS in raising funds for an endowment to keep the seminary open. What you have accomplished in such a short time is remarkable. Please extend my deep gratitude and encouragement to the members of the Mission Society for their commitment to Lutheran mission and the restoration of the Lutheran church and holy ministry in the former Soviet Union, and be sure to pass on my thanks and encouragement to those who are willing to help you to reach this crucial goal of saving the Seminary through their generous offerings. 
In Christ, Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod”

The Holy Spirit, working through graduates of the Novosibirsk seminary, is saving souls all over Russia.  Those who have never heard of Jesus the Christ are hearing the pure Word and being baptized and catechized. 

In order to bring this story of the restoration of the church to more congregations, we’ve prepared a presentation package with everything needed to tell this wonderful story. About 45 minutes total, the package includes a PowerPoint and Video presentation on a thumb drive, plus the narrative to go with it. Bulletin insert, handouts and other aids are included.  If you’d like a package to use for your congregation, please let us know.

Please pray for the restoration of the Lutheran Church in Russia, for her outreach to the lost and for the Seminary as it prepares pastors. “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  2 Timothy 2:2

For the restoration of the Lutheran Church and Seminary in Russia let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For all the pastors and deacons of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church that they not loose heart or become discouraged, but faithfully give pastoral care to their sheep and courageously give witness to those still in darkness, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy

For the laity of the Siberian Lutheran Church that they may remain faithful to the Gospel and the Lutheran Confession and be encouraged to live and confess their baptismal vocation in joy and hope, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

Yours Truly,

Rev. Dr. Timothy C. J. Quill
Director of Fundraising
Save the Seminary Campaign

Save the Seminary
8811 St. Joe Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46835

Letters From Siberia – June 2019

Letters From Siberia – June 2019

Dear friends of SLMS;

Robert Kiefer, the SLMS Treasurer, recently sent our May donations to Siberia for use in the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (100% of all donations to the general fund are sent to the mission field in Siberia. No undesignated funds are used for operational costs.)

The following is Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin’s response to this month’s donations.

Dear Robert,

Thank you very much!

Now, since the summer has begun, we have many plans: as usual, we plan to organize various educational programs for children and adults. The first one will start on Monday: it will be the “Vacation Bible School” here in Novosibirsk. But we invited parents and children from other parishes also. There will be a large educational program for children, and the parallel classes for their parents. And then we plan to start summer seminars in different places, and Fr. Daniel Johnson will fly to us to participate. We will start in Tomsk on June 22, and then we will continue in Khakassia, then in Chita, and then in Bieloretsk and Yekaterinburg. And later in the summer (the dates have not yet been approved), we will conduct seminars in Novokuznetsk and in Novosibirsk. It is very important to train the parishioners so that they know better the basics of Lutheran faith and can tell others as well. Thank you very much for your help, because of which we can conduct the missionary work, visit remote places, receive medical care and feed our children.

We are very thankful to you!

In Christ,
Vsevolod,
bishop,
SELC

Easter Greetings From Siberia

Easter Greetings From Siberia

Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are glad to greet you with Easter Greetings: Христос воскрес! Christ is risen!

May we bring to your attention the words of greetings from the Easter Message 2019 of our Bishop Vsevolod that were read today in all parishes of SELC during the Easter liturgy:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it [John 1: 5]. These words from the very beginning of the Gospel speak very well to us about Easter. The hearts of the apostles and women marching to the tomb on that Easter morning were clouded: after all, their Lord and Master was dead.

In the unbelieving world proclaiming that “God is dead,” that is, that there is no God, or that He is not needed by a modern man who can be lived without God, we also sometimes feel that it is very difficult for us to endure the darkness around us.

But Easter morning comes, and we proclaim again and again: “Christ is risen.” And light dispels darkness in our lives, as it shone on the first witnesses of the resurrection. We rush to the church, where the resurrected Lord is waiting for us to strengthen us through the Word and the Sacraments — so that we would fulfill our designation and would be “children of light” [John. 12: 36] in the midst of sinful darkness.

Happy Easter, my beloved parishioners! Christ is risen!

And we wish you blessed Easter!

“Faith and hope”,

Siberia, Center of the world. 🙂

Please see attached photos from the Easter liturgy in Novosibirsk

March 2019 Appeal – Lutherans in Siberia Need Your Support

March 2019 Appeal – Lutherans in Siberia Need Your Support

Download PDF

As our eyes turn to Spring and warmer temperatures, it remains very cold in Siberia with average high temps of about 10 degrees. While the average may be a balmy 10 degrees, temperatures of 30 degrees below zero are not uncommon, but the lows during February in eastern Siberia were 50 degrees below zero (F). Despite these brutally harsh winter conditions, the faithful Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) pastors continued to visit their remote congregations and hearers, bringing them the Gospel and the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus. These visits on rough winter roads exact a heavy toll on the pastors and their vehicles. The fuel to heat their church buildings is expensive

In addition to these climatic challenges, Siberian society is in shambles. Inflation is staggering. Although the Russian economy has been buoyed by the production and development of gas and oil, little of this money has filtered down to the populace east of the Urals. There is a huge divide between rich and poor. Unemployment, averaging 25 percent, is even greater in some rural towns and cities. It is believed that between 30 and 40 million Russians live below the poverty line ($30 a month). Disease is an additional problem, with tuberculosis rearing its ugly head due to improper nutrition in many of the poorer communities.

The Siberian Lutheran Mission Society (SLMS) was formed in 2002 to provide monthly support for the congregations of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) which has been in full altar and pulpit fellowship with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS) since 2010. Because of the needs identified above, the SLMS has committed to sending a minimum of $10,000 per month to assist with regular expenses such as rent, gas, and heat as well as donations of laptop computers, the purchase of church buildings and used cars so their pastors may travel to outlying congregations and aging congregants.

During this solemn season of Lent, please consider a special donation to the SLMS to help our Siberian brothers and sisters continue their mission endeavors in a land fraught with the teachings of paganism, Shamanism, and Buddhism and to strengthen their existing congregations. You or your congregation can adopt an SELC congregation, pastor, or seminary student, or you may simply donate to the SLMS general fund and let SELC Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin determine where the funds are needed the most. Either way, your gift will be used to help the pastors and people of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church who are in great need. The SELC seminary in Novosibirsk is also in need of support. The SLMS has established an endowment fund to provide ongoing support to the daily operations of the seminary.

Donations to the SLMS may be sent to:

Siberian Lutheran Mission Society
c/o Ascension Lutheran Church
8811 St. Joe Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46835

You may also donate online using the button below.

You may designate your gift:
(1) General Fund to congregations and clergy of SELC
(2) Endowment Fund to support the seminary and theological education in SELC
(3) Current operating expenses of SELC seminary

Thank you for your prayers and financial support of the mission in Siberia.

Pax,
Dan

Rev. Daniel S. Johnson
Chairman, Siberian Lutheran Mission Society (SLMS)

Letters From Siberia – March 3, 2019

Letters From Siberia – March 3, 2019

Dear Robert [Keifer, SLMS Treasurer],

Thank you very much for your help!

Today I served the liturgy (the last Sunday before Great Lent) in Novosibirsk, and other priests were in the travels.

Rev. Pavel Khramov was in Novokuznetsk.

Rev. Alexey Streltsov was in Chelyabinsk (where he came from Beloretsk — as we have the mission station there).

Rev. Vitali Smirnov (our newly ordained priest) served in Yurga. So the Church life is going on. We serve our people, we visit parishioners who are sick, we travel to the mission stations. All this things are possible because of support of SLMS.

This is wonderful grace for us.

Thank you for your care!

In Christ,
Vsevolod,
Bishop, SELC

Matching Funds Now Available for Seminary Endowment Gifts

Matching Funds Now Available for Seminary Endowment Gifts

Unexpected Matching Fund Donation ignites new incentive among the friends and supporters of the young Lutheran Seminary in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Snohomish, WA has kicked off the New Year with a $60,000 matching gift donation for the Novosibirsk Seminary.  Beginning February 1 through March 15, up to $60,000 in donations received will be matched by the Shepherd of the Hills donation.  Thanks be to God!

The Novosibirsk Lutheran Seminary is part of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church which is in altar and pulpit fellowship with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  Graduates of the Seminary are serving in congregations and mission stations from Moscow to the Far East. They are bringing the Gospel to a nation devastated by decades of communist tyranny. (1917-1991).  The Seminary would not exist today if not for the mission and churchly vision and generosity of the Marvin M. Schwan Charitable Foundation. The Seminary was established in 1997 as part of the Concordia Theological Seminary “Russian Project,” and financed entirely by the Schwan Foundation.  After 22 years the Foundation has reduced their support by over 50% and plans are in place to end support completely in approximately four years. The Seminary must abide by Russian laws. If the institution is closed, even temporarily, it is unlikely in today’s political environment that it could ever be reopened. To make sure it stays open, healthy and strong, your help is needed.

  1. To fund the Seminary in the future, we need to create an endowment fund of about $7 million, the earnings of which will finance the seminary in perpetuity.
  2. To continue daily seminary operations, we need to supplement Schwan’s reduced financial  support with $75,000 per year.  

The gift from Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church along with donations from many congregations and individuals are without question an answer to our prayers and are received with great joy and relief. Thank you for your gifts and please continue to keep the work of the SELC and her Seminary in your prayers. 

Zion Lutheran Church of Bridgeville, PA Hosts SLMS Presentation

Zion Lutheran Church of Bridgeville, PA Hosts SLMS Presentation

Zion Lutheran Church of Bridgeville, PA hosted Rev. Alexey Streltsov and Dr. Timothy Quill of the Siberian Lutheran Mission Society on Saturday, January 5, 2019. About seventy Lutherans from the area attended a luncheon and presentation followed by an Epiphany worship service.

Streltsov, who was raised as an atheist in the waning years of the Soviet Union, first encountered the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a student at the University of Novosibirsk. He has earned two degrees at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne and currently serves as the president of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Novosibirsk.

An audio recording (approximately 20 minutes) of the presentation is available on Zion’s web site. In this presentation, Streltsov discusses some of the challenges of operating a seminary in Siberia and why it is imperative that the Seminary achieve financial independence so that it can continue to operate.