First Hymnal in Azeri Published
“Isa Rabbim” is translated from Azeri as “Jesus is my Lord.” That is the name of one of the songs in the hymnal published in the Church of the Savior in Baku. It came out on May 7th with a run of 250 copies.
Menzer Ismailova, pastor of the congregation, says: “in Azerbaijan in all churches we usually sing songs and pray prayers in a foreign language. A year ago we decided to make more available in our native tongue and started working on a project to that purpose.
While working on the hymnal Martin Luther's Small Catechism and his morning and evening prayers were translated into Azeri. Hymns from various Christian confessions (some of which were already used in the congregation) were included, and Menzer herself wrote a few poems that were then put to music by composer Galib Gasanov.
The 129 page hymnal included 42 songs. It's publication was made possible thanks to the help of the Lutheran congregation in Kvinstal (Norway) and the Finnish Lutheran Overseas Mission.
“Today I am so thankful to hold in my hands this hymnal, even if it is small,” says Menzer. To be able to sing and pray in my native language is a great joy.”
The Church in Berdyansk Opened up its Doors to Congregation Members and Guests
Berdyansk, Kherson region
On May 10th the Church of Christ the Savior was the site of a Baptism for the first time in 80 years. It was at this time that the Berdyansk Lutheran Church opened up its doors for congregation members.
The Church is still undergoing repairs, in particular to the interior. But the congregation, which up until now met in a German cultural center, has decided that it is ready to begin services in the church again.
Bishop of the German Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ukraine Sergey Mashevsky presided at the baptism of Alisa Karakulova. There was also a very special guest present that day – Harry Tse, who was one of the last people baptized in the church in the 1930s. During the day the congregation was acutely aware of how God has worked there in the past and its hopes for God's work there in the future.
Behind the altar there is a cross nearly 5 meters high that congregation members made themselves out of the ruins of the old roof. It has been decorated by a Luther rose, a gift from Andrey Lokay from Germany. On the side altar there is a painting of the crucifixion that was recently returned to the church. It had been kept in a private home for many years and the canvas is in need of repair. But it is now in a new frame under glass and reminds members and guests of how the church has suffered.
Thanks to many years of cooperation the Catholic congregation in town was kind enough to give the congregation an electronic organ for its use temporarily, and citizens of the city are happy to see that the church is coming back to life.