Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Good News out of Russia

Just as the Christian faith is transmitted, often tediously and arduously, from one person to another, so it is with churches.  They are established one parish at a time, growing out of missions and missionary work, out of education and training, and forged in the Word of God by the Holy Spirit.  So too, parish pastors are formed in a slow process, one at a time.  As the late Rev. Prof. Kurt Marquart quipped, "You cannot mass produce pastors."

This article shares the joy of a recent ordination in Siberia, that of the Rev. Dmitry Dotsenko to the pastoral office after three years of faithful ministry as a deacon.  This past Reformation Day, Father Dmitry was ordained as a presbyter by Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin in Novokuznetsk at St. James Lutheran Church where he now serves as the parish pastor.  The bishop was assisted in the ordination not only by two priests of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (The Revs. Alexei Streltsov and Pavel Khramov), but also by two prominent pastors from the LCMS: the Rev. Dr. Tim Quill (director of the Fort Wayne Seminary's Russian Project for many years) and the Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, special assistant to the Rev. Matthew Harrison, president of the LCMS.

The article also shares the sublime joy and the holy terror of a newly ordained pastor officiating at his first Mass.

Blessings to Father Dmitry in his ministry to the saints of St. James Lutheran Church - Novokuznetsk.  It is an honor and a privilege to spiritually stand shoulder to shoulder with such great warriors of the Lord's Kingdom, though we are physically separated by half a world.  Our Siberian brethren are a great inspiration to us, laymen and pastors alike, who labor under the cross in a very different culture, and yet carrying the same burdens heaped upon us by the world, the devil, and our own sinful flesh.

Blessings also to all of our clergy, laymen, and congregations in Russia and around the world.


Ag Adventurer said...

I have been reading your blog for quite some time now and really enjoy your sermons and homilies. If only Gretna was closer to NC. I would be there every time the doors are open. If I am ever in the area, I will certainly drop by for a visit to your parish.

I am a member of a Lutheran church that has recently voted to leave the ELCA and we have elected to join the NALC (hopefully finalized this Saturday by the NC Synod council). I was a member of the steering committee that elected to follow this route and even though I was the second youngest on the committee, I was definitely the most conservative and wanted to move toward a more conservative church body, but, alas, I was ruled out.

What picked my interest with this post is that you often post information about the Siberian Lutheran church. In joining the NALC, we are asked to partner with a mission congregation to aid them in their endeavors. I know that there are congregations in Africa and even here that would appreciate this type of help, but I do not want my congregation to forget that there are churches within the former Eastern Bloc countries that could use this help as well. We just do not hear about this on the news the way that it is always PC slanted. Can you provide me with information on the Siberian church so that I can provide that information to my church council in determining our mission congregation? I think that it would be a blessing to all of us if we were able to help the folks in that region.


K said...


Where are you in NC? I am a pastor in Greensboro.

Fr. Beane,

Since we are not yet in formal fellowship with SELC, is this unionism? The article states that we aren't YET in fellowship, yet LCMS pastors assisted in the ordination. It's clearly not the same as the strange things that tend to happen in our saltwater districts, but still... what is the point of declaring or not declaring fellowship if we are just going to fudge the rules anyways? Lets just get it done so we don't have to have these questions for these joyful occasions!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Ag:

Blessings on your exodus. I should have included a link to the The Siberian Lutheran Mission Society

They are an outstanding mission group that sends 100% of funds collected directly to Siberia. You can even see some outstanding YouTube videos on their website showing the work of our seemingly-tireless brethren.

Peace in Christ!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear K:

Siberia had previously declared fellowship with the LCMS, and the LCMS has formally declared that we are in doctrinal agreement with Siberia. All that is left to do from the LCMS end to formally ratify altar and pulpit fellowship is to sign the papers - which is scheduled to happen in St. Louis a few days from now.

I suppose it is a bit like a wedding. The marriage comes into being when the couple are pronounced married - even if the papers are not signed until after the ceremony. I don;t know if that's a good analogy or not, but I see it as the same kind of thing. Our agreement makes the fellowship (agreement that has already been openly declared), not the paperwork as though it were some kind of ex opere operato.

I do agree with you, however, about the importance of getting these relationships formalized, and my hat is off to Dr. Collver and others who are working tirelessly to do just that. I'm also gratified to see us shed our provincialism and understand that we are not simply members of a St. Louis sect, but rather part of a worldwide catholic communion in which we have a valuable role to play.

Ag Adventurer said...

Pr. Beane,
Sorry for using your blog post to respond to K, but I couldn't figure out how to contact him otherwise.

I really do enjoy reading your posts and I look forward to each new installment. It is really a blessing.

And, thank you for the link. I know that it will be most helpful.

Dear K,
I am in Salisbury. About an hour and 20 minutes south on I85. My church is Union Lutheran Church (the actual birthplace of the NC Synod in 1805). Some folks were sad to leave the NC Synod because of the history, but seeing that our ancestors were the driving force to form it, it was fitting that we were one of the first congregations to "shake the dust from our feet" and go our separate ways.

I will say that the presiding bishop (Pr. Bolick) has been very supportive and does not want any ill will because of our departure. He definitely understands our reasoning. There are 4 other congregations leaving in Rowan county alone. I know that there will be more.