Category: News

March 2019 Appeal – Lutherans in Siberia Need Your Support

March 2019 Appeal – Lutherans in Siberia Need Your Support

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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.