From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Russian United Methodists dedicate church
Tue, 26 Jun 2001 15:46:33 -0500
June 26, 2001 News media contact: Linda Bloom·(212) 870-3803·New York
NOTE: Photographs are available.
By United Methodist News Service
With the help of friends from Louisiana and a denominational agency, United
Methodists in Ekaterinburg, Russia, dedicated a new church building June 17
before a standing room-only crowd.
Leading the celebration at First United Methodist Church of Ekaterinburg was
Bishop Ruediger Minor of Moscow, Bishop William Hutchison of Baton Rouge,
La., the Rev. Elena Stepanova, district superintendent for the Ekaterinburg
region, and the Rev. Olga Kotsuba, pastor of First Church. United Methodist
pastors from the Moscow area also attended.
The visitors from Louisiana included the Rev. Bob Burgess, Amy Mercer, and
Dave and Carol Civils from Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge;
the Rev. Larry Norman, Volunteers in Mission director for the conference;
and Dennis and Jane Hyatt and James, Cheryl and Emily Gillespie from
Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Shreveport. Marilyn Oden, the wife of
Bishop William Oden of Dallas, read a statement of congratulations from her
husband, who had participated in consecrating the land in 1991.
Before the dedication, the visitors from Louisiana helped their Russian
friends prepare for the opening by washing and scrubbing floors, hanging
wallpaper, dusting and cleaning, according to James Gillespie. He said he
considered the event the fulfillment of a decade of promise.
The involvement of Louisiana United Methodists at Ekaterinburg, a city of
1.3 million in the Ural Mountains, began in 1990. First United Methodist
Church was registered there on Oct. 24 of that year, before the collapse of
communism. The Ekaterinburg City Council donated land for a "Methodist
Park," and the property was consecrated on Sept. 22, 1991.
The Ekaterinburg congregation began outreach to the poor, and United
Methodists in Louisiana and other parts of the United States donated 160,000
pounds of food in 1992 in response to a shortage in that part of Russia.
Louisiana also responded to the need for a permanent place of worship by
generating $100,000 through a conference-wide special offering. The United
Methodist Board of Global Ministries donated an additional $350,000 for the
building of a sanctuary in Methodist Park. Construction, now complete, met
with some delays but began in fall 1996.
"The First United Methodist Church of Ekaterinburg will serve as a beacon
for not only the thousands of people that live within a short distance of
the church, but for the thousands of people that pass the church and see the
cross, where in 1990 there was only a field of grass and a vision for the
future," Gillespie said.
He urged more congregations to become active in the mission work in
Ekaterinburg. For more information, contact him at (318) 868-0710.
# # #
United Methodist News Service
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