Pride, Prejudice and Russian Orthodoxy

Pride, Prejudice and Russian Orthodoxy

Every year my wife and daughter  invite me to watch the mini-series Pride and Prejudice. In the first episode Mr. Darcy gives the impression of being a proud man  and it takes 5 more episodes for Elizabeth Bennett’s prejudice against him to be uprooted  by contradictory evidence.

This is an appropriate template for how many  evangelicals view Orthodox believers in Russia. The Orthodox here, often, give the first impression of being proud, and our prejudice makes it very hard to see them as otherwise. 

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An Unexpected Death, a Poignant Reminder

An Unexpected Death, a Poignant Reminder

A couple of days ago we heard the sad news from one of our most faithful pastor/seminary students, Sergei Sukharev, that his father had passed away suddenly and tragically at only 60 years of age. 

Sergei is unique in many ways, he is the pastor of a downtown Presbyterian church, just a few blocks from the Czar's Winter Palace. But more than that, Sergei is literally the only student in our seminary who was raised by a believing father. His father, Ivan, was an evangelical pastor during Soviet times, loving Christ and outspoken about his faith . 

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SRS is now Hope Russia!

Since 1990 when the Purcells moved to the USSR, and since 2006, when SRS was founded, God has used these ministries to give hope to Russian speaking people.

Therefore, the board of SRS has decided that HopeRussia is a more appropriate way to describe us than SRS. 

We will continue to believe and teach what we always have, and accept students for training from all historic Christian denominational backgrounds as we always have. 

Click here to learn more about HopeRussia ministry and enjoy our slides.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Giving now can be done in the following ways:

  • Electronically: www.hoperussia.com/give or just click here
  • By Mail: HopeRussia, P.O. Box 694, Pella, IA 50219

We appreciate your continued support as we seek to grow the Kingdom of God in the world’s largest country!

Help Us Continue to Plant Churches Where There Are No Churches

  The past 1.5 years we have added 10 churches with 800 members to our movement. This one in Saratov (above left) is pastored by Andrei Kosygin (above right with wife and two daughters) and has 300 members.

The past 1.5 years we have added 10 churches with 800 members to our movement. This one in Saratov (above left) is pastored by Andrei Kosygin (above right with wife and two daughters) and has 300 members.

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Dear Supporters and Enthusiasts,

In case you missed my previous note, I am David Briar, SRS Treasurer. I am pictured here (right) with my wife Erin and my seven children. I am a retired Air Force Colonel living in Tok, Alaska. Blake Purcell led me to Christ in 1984 at the Air Force Academy and I have been serving on the SRS board since 2015.

As treasurer it is my privilege to report to you annually on how we have used what God has provided through you, and let you know what the SRS board believes we need to  fulfill God's call on our ministry in Russia and beyond.

During the past twelve months we have received $350,000 from 44 churches and 156 individual donors.

This money has been distributed in the following ways:

  • 40% Seminary Intensives and Pastor Training and Mentoring
  • 35% Pastor Stipends and Church Planting
  • 9% Ministry to the Disabled and Prison Ministry
  • 8% Partnerships with US Sponsors and Promotions
  • 8% Administrative Costs

Our primary ministry is to plant churches where there are not churches. We do this both by training pastors and by financially supporting our Russian speaking church planters directly. 

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As you can see from the map above, we now have over 20 churches in 4 countries whose pastors have studied with us. The number of pastors in training has more than doubled during this last year, and we believe this trend is set to continue. Most of these churches are being planted where there is little or no evangelical presence. Hallelujah! 

We feel God is empowering us through your faithfulness to fulfill Romans 15:20-21,

And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand”

Our Growing Needs

  • Prayer
  • Financial support

In the past, more than 40 percent of our budget is raised through special campaigns. In 2017, this was approximately $150,000. As we expand and reshape the ministry, we are seeking new annual commitments totaling $200,000 per year so that we can plan the year-round ministry of pastoral training, church planting, and support of our mercy ministries.

This means we need an additional $16,500 a month. Therefore we are asking the Lord to provide the following support for the next two years:

  • 12 new donations of $500/month=$6,000/month
  • 24 new donations of $250/month=$6,000/month
  • 45 new donations of $100/month=$4,500/month

Please pray about making one of these commitments for 2018-2019.  

And please let me know (dbriar.srs@gmail.com) if you will be able to be one of these new commitments of financial support.
We are so grateful to God for your support and through us working to see the 1.7% of the Russian world that is Evangelical become 20% soon!

In Christ, 

David Briar, Col, USAF (Ret.)
Treasurer
SRS/Hope Russia

  SRS Trained Church Planters

SRS Trained Church Planters

A Russian President Coming to Your Church?

July and August 2018 you have the chance to have a Russian president with his wife and professional translator visit your church. 

Who is this VIP?

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Evgeni Victorovich Kruzhkov, internal president of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg, Russia. He and his wife Saule will be in the United States from July 10 until August 10. 

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President Kruzhkov will be available to preach in churches and be translated by the external president of the Seminary Blake Gramovich Purcell.

The 3 will also be available to share a presentation on the political situation in Russia, and whether or not there will be WWIII and the explosive growth of the ministry to 20 churches and 1000 members across 11 time zones. 

They will also share with you how you can play a vital role in keeping our Embassy of Peace in Christ open in Russia.

Their appearances will be first come first serve so please write Blake Purcell today if you would like to have a Russian president visit you, your church or those interested in world peace in your community.

Slavic Reformation Society Joins the Ranks of Organizations Accredited by the ECFA

Founded in 1979, the Evangelical Council on Financial Accountability (ECFA) provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. Members include Christian ministries, denominations, churches, educational institutions, and other tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations including the PCA’s Mission to the World (MTW), Compassion International, the Navigators, and Campus Crusade for Christ. As of April 2018, SRS joins the ranks of these well-known evangelical organizations by earning accreditation from ECFA!

What does this mean for you? It means that SRS meets ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. These standards are based on Biblical principles of financial accountability. In talking to the Corinthians about stewardship, the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:20 – 21 (NASB), “taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” 

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By joining ECFA, SRS demonstrates that we meet this high standard of financial accountability and responsibility.

Additionally, by joining ECFA, SRS lives up to the intent of ECFA’s motto – Enhancing Trust. As a result, we here at SRS hope you will feel more confident than ever that we are an organization worthy of your trust and which administers your generous gifts responsibly.

Thanks be to God and thanks be to you, our donors, for your continued support, prayers, and generosity to support the ministry of SRS.

In Christ,
David P. Briar, Col, USAF (Ret)
SRS Treasurer

American visiting professor helps Russians see the depth and breadth of Christ in scripture

Dear readers!

Let me introduce you to a man who became a real inspiration for all students of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg, Russia.

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SRS Board Member Mike Rasmussen, Resident Theologian for Worldwide Discipleship Association

Mike came to St. Petersburg in March to lecture on the History of Redemption viewing the whole Bible as one book. Mike presented the person and work of Jesus Christ as the theme and focus of every part of the Scriptures.

As far as I remember, it's the first time in our seminary that we have viewed the history of the Old Testament in the light of one all-embracing theme. All 20 Russian ministers who took part in this intensive course said they would definitely use what they had learned in Mike's course in their sermons and Bible study groups.

Thank you, Mike, for coming and sharing your knowledge with our students. It was your first visit to St. Petersburg and we look forward to our future cooperation. 

 Seminary students with teachers and staff. March 2018.

Seminary students with teachers and staff. March 2018.

Let me express my gratitude to all those who made this intensive course possible. You fearlessly sacrifice and direct your efforts to help the church of Christ grow in this part of the world. 

Evgeni Kruzhkov

rector of the Biblical Theological Seminary of St. Petersburg

CAN A SMALL CHURCH MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE MAINLY MUSLIM AREA?

(by Yuri Levchenko, pastor of Reflection Presbyterian church of Dmitrov, Moscow region)

 The Temple of All Religions or the Universal Temple

The Temple of All Religions or the Universal Temple

At the end of March right after the intensive course in St. Petersburg we went to Kazan where we saw a very interesting architectural complex called the Temple of All Religions or the Universal Temple build by Ildar Khanov. It’s really unique because it consists of several types of religious architecture including an Orthodox church, a mosque, and a synagogue, among others. Therefore we can see a Christian cross, a Muslim crescent, David’s star and a Chinese dome. It’s one of the sights of the city which describes the character of Kazan very well. Islam has been the state religion of the city since its foundation in 1005. The first Christian church was built only in the XVI century when Ivan the Terrible conquered Kazan. Today predominant faiths of Kazan are Sunni Islam and Orthodox Christianity. But there are also Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Baha’is. 
They don’t hold any worship services in that Universal Temple. It’s just a building. But you know what building is located right in the center of Kazan? The Qol Sharif Mosque. And it is active, of course.
I’m sure, in terms of soteriology, the Church of Jesus Christ takes a central place in every city. Even if it’s small and located in the outskirts of the city. 
There is only one Reformed church in Kazan and that’s where we went together with Blake. We wanted to encourage people of that small church and show that their church is not small at all because it belongs to the great Church of Jesus Christ and is always under His care. On Sunday l preached and Blake shared his experience in child raising. 
A year and a half ago God called the pastor of this church. Truly, “the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance” (Ps. 94:14). God have kept this small community and even built it up. Vladislav Larionov the elder serves as a caretaker pastor. He comes to St. Petersburg to participate in the intensive courses of the SRS seminary. So does another member of this church – Andrey Dyatlov – who is an official student of our seminary now.
Please pray for this church so that the Lord would provide a pastor for them who will love them and lead in worshipping God in Kazan.

 

 Blake teaching on Child rasing

Blake teaching on Child rasing

 Qol Sharif Mosque

Qol Sharif Mosque

Delight to Your Soul

Delight to Your Soul

There are almost 900 people in all churches where our students and pastors minister, and 50% of the members are children. Hence the importance of teaching how to achieve peace and see fruits when raising children in the Lord. That's what Rev. Blake Purcell did the first week of our Intensive Course.

"Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul". (Proverbs 29:17)

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Women of Faith in Russia

Women of Faith in Russia

Whenever Blake and Cathy come to Saint Petersburg it is always a chance for us to see Cathy and hear from her about her relationship with God. We all know that she raised 6 children all of whom have done well in life and are being a good influence in the world. 

On Saturday, March 10, women from three Evangelical churches and one Russian Orthodox church came to the Purcells' to encourage one another and hear Cathy teach. It's always a treat to hear such an experienced woman talk about how to be a virtuous wife.

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The Cost of Church Planting in Russia

The Cost of Church Planting in Russia

What's the first thing you think about when you receive a letter asking to support our seminary training in Russia? May be, "Oh, this seminary costs too much!" But do you know how much this training costs RUSSIAN PASTORS?

Here is a great example of the new harvest field God is opening for us in the Russian speaking world. 

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Together We Do Great Things in Russia

Together We Do Great Things in Russia

Dear Friends of SRS!

We have only one month before the spring intensive course of St. Petersburg seminary. It will be really intense and the largest in our history: 16 students, 6 pastors and 2 visiting professors from America. We hope it will bless both Russian ministers and American teachers. Alone we can't reach our goal. But together we can. Please help Russian pastors get a good education and the Church of Christ grow in Eurasia!

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The Ice Is Broken in Latvia

The Ice Is Broken in Latvia

Eight Latvian men attended the conference “What Is a Real Man: God's Perspective” held by SRS in Jurmala, Latvia in March 2017. The goal of the conference was not to gain new members for the local Reformed church where Pastor Timur Anichkin ministers but to enter into a person-to-person relationship with men of the city to study the Word of God.

Was it worthwhile? Read Timur's report.

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