Ordination and Commissioning in Crimea
On July 12th at worship in the congregation in Simferopol Archbishop Dietrich Brauer ordained Elza Gerko as pastor of the congregation and commissioned Marina Gusarova as preacher. Elza completed her theological education at the Seminar in Novosaratovka and for two years acted as preacher of the congregation. Marina is the church council president and has also been active for many years in church life.
This is an event Lutherans in Crimea had been waiting for for quite some time. Now they have their own pastor and preacher.
Archbishop Brauer presided at this ordination as part of his travels to the congregations in Yalta and Simferopol July 10-13. Accompanying him was the president of the Martin Luther Bund in Bavaria Wolfgang Hagemann.
Saying Goodbye to Pastor Fara
On July 19th after 8 years of service Pastor Fara Rayarisoa from Madagascar completed her service in the French-speaking Protestant congregation of Moscow. This event was marked by worship in St. Peter and Paul cathedral and by an African barbecue meal in the courtyard after worship.
Elena Bondarenko, Dean of the Moscow region, is fluent in many languages, including French; this will allow her to be Pastor Fara's successor. The congregation already knows Pastor Bondarenko well thanks to her frequent visits to and preaching in their congregation, which is made up of French-speaking Africans and a few Protestant French citizens who work at the embassy. The congregation has been in contact with the ELCER for 15 years already and celebrates its regular services in the chapel. This year the congregation expressed its desire to become an official congregation of the ELCER while at the same time maintaining its French Protestant identity.