Monday, December 20, 2010

From Russia (and St. Louis) With Love

Siberian clergy meet with Concordia Theological Seminary professors

World Lutheranism has just received a beautiful Christmas present from Russia and St. Louis: formal altar and pulpit fellowship between the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

This bilateral recognition was a long time coming, and is the cause for great celebration around the globe.

If you want to learn more about the survival of Lutheran Christianity against all odds in the face of the iron fist of Stalin and 70 years of atheistic Communism in the Soviet Union - and the Church's new beginning in the most unlikely of places - check out this video.

To learn more, visit the Siberian Lutheran Mission Society - including these inspiring newsletters.

On a personal note, several members of my own parish have committed monthly donations to support Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Chelyabinsk - which is served by a pastor, Fr. Vladislav Ivanov, and a Deacon Victor Shtraube.

After two unsuccessful attempts to deliver a gift from our parish to their parish of two deacon's stoles, (thanks to the untiring and determined efforts by our friends at Almy), they were finally received a few days ago - one purple (for Advent) and one white (for Christmas).

Here is the nice note I received from my brother in the holy ministry (with whom I now share formal altar and pulpit fellowship), Pastor Ivanov:

Dear Father Larry:

Today, our deacons serve in the new stole. After the liturgy, I told our parishioners that it was a gift from your parish. Everyone really liked your gift to our deacon. I think that people find it very important that there are Lutherans who are far away, but they are so close in prayers and help!

We've got a very cold -25 degrees Celsius, but on the street are very beautiful, like a fairy tale.

God bless you, your family and your parish!


Deacon Shtraube and family

Deacon Shtraube, Pastor Ivanov, and (I am assuming) the deacon's son

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