Opening of the Peace Chapel
On September 7th in the War Memorial Complex in the village of Rossoshki near Volgograd a truly historic event took place – a Peace Chapel was officially opened with the help of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Germany.
This chapel became the common symbol of two peoples of the horrible events which took place in the area of Stalingrad during the Second World War. The opening ceremony was attended by the German Ambassador Rüdiger von Fritsch, the director of the Russia Federation's Third European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergei Nechaev, as well as representatives from veterans organizations and businessmen from Bavaria.
Representatives from the clergy of Volgograd and Germany took part in the blessing of the Peace Chapel – Metropolitan of Volgograd and Kamyshinsk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, German, Orthodox Archpriest Oleg Kirichenko, the military general deacon Mattias Heimer, Roman Catholic Bishop Walter Mich, Military Bishop Rainer Brummer, Dean of the Lower-Volga Deanery of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Oleg Schtulberg and Pastor Conrad Weber from Dekendorf.
The well-known civil activist from the Bavarian city of Denkendorf, Christian Holtz, was the initiator of the building of the Peace Chapel. In his words the Peace Chapel is a symbol of reconciliation, friendship and peace, a symbol of remembrance of those who have fallen and of the ability to overcome tragedy. Rossoshki is not only the largest military cemetery in Europe it is also a symbol of the relationship between Russians and Germans.
The monument was designed by Professor Juergen von Royce from Germany; he also took part in the opening ceremony. The monument itself is made from natural stone with two crosses (Orthodox and Western) on two walls of granite on a pedestal.
The chapel is a monument that includes open space; this is a symbol of the tragic events, of the pain and suffering, that took place not only here, but in other parts of the world. The two crosses which stand together speak to us about the Christian faith which unites the two peoples. And it was no accident that the symbol of the cross was chosen – it is a harsh symbol of suffering which reminds mankind not only of the suffering we undergo, but also the suffering we cause.
The architectural design leads one's eyes not to the crosses so much as through them in order to see the space on the other side. This is a symbol of the way people should not get caught in the past but to think about the future and care for the future.
Based on the article by Tatyana Stulberg
Synod Assembly of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ukraine
On September 6-8 in Berdyansk (Zaporozhskaya oblast) the 3rd meeting of the 6th synod of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ukraine was held. The Church of Christ the Savior welcomed participants and guests of the assembly.
27 participants from 18 different congregations took part in the assembly, as well as ecumenical guests from the area. The international guests were the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yuri Novgorodov, and Pastor Daniel Johnson of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (USA).
The preacher from the congregation in the city of Lozovaya, Anna Wolf, was recognized as the synod president, a responsibility she had in practice been carrying for the previous month.
In his report GELCU Bishop Sergei Mashevsky touched upon theological and practical questions of church unity, the church's everyday life, its problems and paths to resolutions. He spoke about the ecumenical cooperation of GELCU with the Orthodox, Catholic and Greek Catholic Churches, about its participation in social events and about growing relationships with the Lutheran Churches of Latvia, Lithuania, Canada, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod and the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Ukraine (SELCU). The bishop emphasized that despite all the financial situation of the Church, it has done all its ministry without any subsidies. Among other things educational activities for pastors and preachers in the GELCU were continued – in the past year 6 continuing education courses were held.
Pastor Daniel Johnson gave a paper on “Lutheran Identity. Education and the Reformation.” Then there was group discussion of how to implement the ideas of the Reformation in congregational life.
Lyubov Galimova spoke about diaconal ministry in the church. She noted that it is not possible to directly use the experience of this ministry as it takes place in other countries, because many local factors have to be taken into account.
Mina Sharnina gave a report on women's ministries. Women all over the world are united by the Worldwide Day of Prayer on the first Friday in March. There is a WDP committee in Ukraine and four denominations take part. GELCU holds regular seminars for preparing WDP and for other aspects of women's ministry.
The women's ministry report inspired a new idea; Pastor Viktor Tselinko made the suggestion to establish men's ministry in GELCU. The synod supported his suggestion and Pastor Tselinko was named coordinator of that ministry.
The assembly passed a budget for 2017 and a new version of the church constitution.
This is the second year in a row that the synod assembly has taken place somewhere other than in St. Paul's Cathedral in Odessa. The practice of holding the synod assembly in one of the congregations of the church allows everyone not only to get acquainted with the life of that congregation, but also to draw interest to the congregation among others in the city. The Christ the Savior Lutheran Church is one of 54 congregations among the 12 confessions and religions represented in Berdyansk.
Anniversary of the Carl Blume House
Zadorozhe (Kaliningrad obl., Russia)
10 years ago in the village of Zadorozhe in the Ozerskiy region of the Kaliningrad oblast an unusual home was opened. For the first (and so far only ) time in our church's recent history, a home providing medical care for the elderly was opened under the auspices of the Evangelical Lutheran church. The first director of the Carl Blue House was Pastor Tatyana Petrenko.
On September 17th of this year the Carl Blume house once again welcomed guests as they did 10 years ago; these guests include the person who inspired the building of the house, former area dean Pastor Heyer Osterwald, former area dean Pastor Thomas Passauer, a representative of the Order of St. John, a representative of the administration of the Ozersky region and the town of Ozersk, ad representatives of the administration of the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia, Dean of the Central Deanery Elena Bondarenko and preacher from the Central Deanery Artis Petersons. Local church guests included current Dean Igor Ronge as well as pastors and staff of the deanery.
The celebratory program was led by the director of the home, Irina Mitrokhina. There was a concert program with local children's and dance groups to entertain the residents and guests. The staff of the home put out a lot of effort in order to arrange a wonderful buffet.
The anniversary was a good opportunity for old friends from Germany and Russia to meet. All the guests expressed hope for long and blessed work of the Carl Blume home.
Archbishop Visits USA
From September 9-19 Archbishop Dietrich Brauer together with his wife Tatyana visited partner churches in the USA. During this visit he met with ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the Bishop of the Central States Synod Richard Gustafson, and also visited the churchwide offices of the ELCA (Chicago) and PC(USA) in Louisville.
Archbishop Brauer became acquainted with the leaders of various aspects of ministry, held negotiations with the heads of various institutes of higher education, gave presentations about the Lutheran Church in Russia and also preached at numerous services. A special accent was made on the existing partner relationships between churches, including the productive cooperation of the ELCA Central States Synod with the Far East Deanery and the support from the American side of the “Equipping for Service” project in the Russian church.
The culmination of the travels was a conference of the “Russian Network” in Asheboro (North Carolina), during which participants discussed the long-term ecumenical partnerships that have been forged between believers in Russia and the US; prayers were raised for the strengthening and development of these ties.
Archbishop Brauer says: "I would like to express thanks for the warmth and heartfelt kindness that was visible in the events organized in the USA and also to express thanks to Ellen and Al Smith of the PC(USA) for their wonderful work in organizing the trip."
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39)
ELCER Pastors' Conference
A conference for pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia was held on September 27 to the 30th. It was dedicated to questions of family values and the Biblical image of the family as well as the image of the Church and congregation as family in Scripture. Pastors and preachers in the Church came with their families to a beautiful corner of the Crimean peninsula for work, rest and fellowship.
The following people gave papers at the conference: the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia Dietrich Brauer, Pastor Stephanie Fendler of the Evangelical Church in Germnay, Elizabeth Hintz (who is responsible for women's ministry in the city of Wilstedt, Germany), Pastor Bradn Buerkle head of the “Equipping for Service project, Pastor Norbert Hintz, the vice-Bishop, and Dean of the Central Deanery Elena Bondarenko.
The vice chair of the Committee for State Committee for Inter-ethnic Relations, Yuri Gempel, attended the event. He greeted participants of the conference and expressed his willingness to support Lutheran congregations in Crimea.
As part of the pastors' conference there also was a special meeting of the ELCER synod assembly. At this meeting delegates for the church-wide assembly were elected and Ekaterina Kreimer (Samara) was named the coordinator of Children's Ministry in the ELCER, while lay minister Artis Petersons (Moscow) was named the coordinator for diaconal ministry in the ELCER. These two coordinators were installed at the final worship service by Archbishop Brauer.
At the end of the conference representatives of the church administration visited the congregation in Evpatoria and the “Ludwigsburg” German Cultural Center. The ELCER supports the congregations of Crimea which, at the same time, remain in contact with the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ukraine. Lutherans move across political borders and pray together for peace.
From the ELCER site, http://www.peter-paul.ru/
Bishop Otto Schaude Has Passed Away
Dear brothers and sisters! It is with great grief that we inform you that Otto Schaude, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Urals, Siberia and Far East, died on September 27, 2017.
From 1991 to 2008 Otto Schaude was the chairman of the Union of Old Pietist Congregations of the The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. He was a member of the Synod Council of the Württemberg state church and was the co-founder of many Protestant schools in Germany. For his services Otto Schaude was awarded with the highest award given by the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg, the Johannes Brenz silver medal.
Otto Schaude was elected Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Urals, Siberia and Far East in 2010. Together with his wife Brigitte he traveled throughout the whole CIS in order to take part in synod assemblies and bishops' meetings and in order to visit and strengthen congregations in the enormous territory of Siberia, to direct and support ministers of the Church in their faith and service.
Despite the fact that he was diagnosed with a late-stage cancer in 2014, Otto Schaude continued his service; until his final days he made trips for church business and put all of his effort in to his episcopal ministry. In everything he did he gave all of himself – all of his strength and love, all of his heart and soul, his courage and his decisiveness. All of his life was dedicated to serving the Church.
We express our heartfelt sympathies to Brigitte Schaude, their children and everyone in their large family. Together we trust our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Author and Completer of our faith, who says: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me will not die, but live.” (John 11.25)