From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Urgent Need for Trained Preachers in Uzbekistan

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Mon, 17 Dec 2001 14:05:31 -0600

Emigration to Germany, Russia

CIRCIK, Uzbekistan/Geneva, 17 December 2001 (LWI) - "Our preachers
urgently need training," Gilda Ivanovna Raspopova, Synod President of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan stressed in her report
to the church's November 22-25 meeting in Circik.

Following the emigration of many clerics to Germany or Russia,
numerous local churches in Uzbekistan rely on preachers who have not
had adequate preparation for the ministry.

Bishop Stefan Reder, Rector of the Theological Seminary of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia and Other States (ELCROS),
announced a seminar for preachers in Uzbekistan for next spring. He
said the theological seminary continues to offer educational
possibilities. In addition seminars for Sunday school teachers, youth
leaders and social service workers are planned for the coming year by
the Evangelical Lutheran church in the neighboring Kirghiz Republic.

Raspopova pointed out the need for summer camps for Uzbek children
and youth saying that other ELCROS regional churches hold such
activities regularly. Local churches, she added, must also provide
more opportunities to keep German alive.

Concerning the shrinking of Lutheran congregations in Uzbekistan,
Bishop Kornelius Wiebe estimated there would be fewer people moving
to Germany, however a new wave of emigration to Russia had begun. In
the previous year, he said, there had been only 45 baptisms and 55
confirmations in the Uzbek church.

Those for whom emigration to Germany is not an option now want to go
to Russia, Wiebe said. This has to do with dwindling prospects for
Russian-speaking people in Uzbekistan and the difficult economic
situation in the country.

ELCROS Archbishop Georg D. Kretschmar explained during the synod
meeting: "You may say, we all want to leave this place, but there
will be some who cannot leave. The church must be here for them, and
that will be a big responsibility." In his report, he referred to the
experiences of Lutheran Christians in Brazil and Transylvania in
Romania, and asked whether, for the sake of its future in Uzbekistan,
the church should not seriously consider working in Uzbek, the
national language.

Ludmilla Lamparter, a preacher from Fergana, said that many in her
congregation were emigrating, but new members, mostly Russians were
joining the church. The majority of congregations nowadays use two
languages only for the liturgy, with the sermon in Russian.

The situation in the smaller churches, consisting mainly of old
people, in places such as Angren, Gazalkent and Krasnogorsk, is
described as particularly difficult. "For us, life has come to a
standstill," said Ludmilla Kremlyova, preacher in Angren. "There are
almost no job opportunities, gas or electricity supply."

At the closing worship service in the church in Tashkent, Archbishop
Kretschmar ordained two preachers from Tashkent, Pavel Alexandrov and
Yury Weilert.

The Tashkent-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan, with
seven congregations, is a regional church of ELCROS. The
250,000-member ELCROS joined the Lutheran World Federation in 1989.

(By Irina Selezneva,public information officer, ELCROS)

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the Lutheran
tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now has 133
member churches in 73 countries representing over 60.5 million of the
64.3 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on behalf of its
member churches in areas of common interest such as ecumenical
relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human rights,
communication, and the various aspects of mission and development
work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.)

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is the information service of the
Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Unless specifically noted, material
presented does not represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of
its various units. Where the dateline of an article contains the
notation (LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with

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Frank Imhoff
Associate Director, News & Media Services
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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