Social centers for children

Igor Savich, the Director of the Concordia Foundation, and Alexander Akimov, the coordinator of the Youth For Christ (YFC) mission, met in the Concordia Foundation’s office.

Alexander talked about the main course of their work and shared their plans for the next three years. YFC ministry is focused on the most at risk adolescence. Together yfc_swith some local churches YFC launched several social centers for children from troubled families in St. Petersburg and in Leningrad Region.

In these centers children are provided with food, medical help and help in getting their homework done. More than hundred kids are already coming to the opened centers. YFC also holds training workshops for active members of the churches to prepare them for the further work with these young people.

The Foundation has already more than once supported various YFC projects. In particular, the Foundation sponsored one of the day centers in the city of Otradnoye.

It was decided during this last meeting to make a permanent agreement about cooperation between YFC and Concordia Foundation. Also Concordia Foundation decided to sponsor one more YFC’s project—Playgrounds. Children’s playgrounds will be set up in several villages of the Leningrad region as a part of this project, and qualified staff members will be organizing various types of activities with local children. Those activities will not only be entertaining but also edifying. Children and adolescence will learn about Christian values. At the end of the project, the local congregations will take these young people under patronage, and in winter there will be a special youth event planned for them.

Concordia Foundation provided YFC with a batch of Discussions About Christian Faith brochures, so that all those young people who would want could start studying the course; the Foundation also gave YFC Splinters of the Distorting Mirror brochure that unmasks the basic points of the evolution theory which is being taught in all of the mainstream schools.

Meeting of the Prison Ministry

The latest meeting of the Prison Ministry participants took place on June. The gathering started with everybody singing and praying together. Yan Volkov, the Executive Director of the Russian Public Television, facilitated the assembly. Igor Savich represented the Concordia Foundation at this gathering.

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Pastors of various St. Petersburg churches were present at this meeting together with some delegates from Ukraine — Valerii and Alexander. All of these people are serving in the prison ministry.

One of the questions discussed at the meeting was the issue of mentorship and guidance.

A magazine Gospel Behind the Barbed Wire which is being distributed among the prisoners was spoken in praise.

Yan Volkov shared impressions from his visit to Ukraine; he also reported of new publications that are going to be issued soon, such as a book called Captured to Be Free.

A positive feedback was received regarding a presentation that Dennis Kondratiev did in the women’s prison camp.

The following questions were also discussed during the meeting:

– music ministry in prisons by a professional singer from Finland, Nina;

– pantomime theater performed by the group called Sotvorenie (Creation);

– Bible lessons using materials offered by Concordia Foundation.

Another important issue that was touched is training of those people who are willing to be ministers in the prison camps.

After the meeting, Igor Kruglov mentioned to Dr. Savich that through ministers of various congregations materials published by the Foundation are being distributed in six prisons in St. Petersburg.

The program «Atheists against»…

32431_xradiosuAt the present time one can find approximately dozen Russian-speaking Christian radio-stations on the Internet. These stations broadcast Christian music, classical and modern Christian songs. Even though all of these radio-stations have their own unique format, audience and the method in which they present materials, they have one thing in common: such Christian radio-stations exist in order to encourage, edify, teach and even entertain Christians. Do Christians need Christian radio-stations? Of course! Though, if you count the Evangelical Christians in Russia the number you get will be a little less than the number of HIV people in the country. Thus a radio-station for the HIV positive people could count on a larger audience than would a Christian radio-station for Christians.  That is why we’ve decided to take a different tack.

XRadio.Su is a joint effort of young people who are both Christians and non-Christians. This station broadcasts Christian music, classical and modern Christian songs, and in addition to that it holds various discussions that do not necessarily touch Christian topics.

Radio-facilitators speak the language that is understandable for young people, without «church jargon»; they refer to the Bible consistently though not constantly as it would be the case on a Christian radio-station; and most often using the contemporary vocabulary.

It is very important for the contemporary secular audience to be able to hear and understand the Christian point of view on the matters that stir the whole world regardless of its beliefs and cultural preferences.

Christians, and most often for good reasons, are considered to be of their own culture—they take no interest in the things that are going on in the society. Therefore Christians themselves often become of no interest to the society. It seems that everything that Jesus’ disciples could say they have already said in the last 2,000 years and the only thing the followers do today is just quoting what was said previously.

Non-Christian audience is in the same way not interested in mass media that plays purely Christian songs and worship music as it is not interested in the worship services themselves—otherwise they would have been attending those. And there is no need for worship services to be interesting for the «outsiders»; but mass-media is not able to exist without being entertaining or, rather, it only exists due to its sponsors and enthusiasm of the «devoted ministers».

Concordia Foundations is interesting to work in this direction. We are supporting weekly program «Atheists against». The idea of this program is a discussion between atheist and Christian. Constant participant of the this program is Andrew Poljakov who is atheist and his opponent is Christian Sergey Stepanov.  During their discussion is arising various topics about morals, ethics, religious questions. The living debate is best way to spread information about Christian values. At the end of each program there is announcement about BCC that can be sending by mail.

That is why X-Radio.Su is a secular organization with a «Christian emphasis» as our listeners like to say. And this is the direction in which we would like to continue our development. We welcome any of you who would like to join us in this uneasy task.

Four Seasons and the new organ in parish

Yet another concert of the International Festival Four Seasons in Tur was held with great success. Several hundreds of people came not only to enjoy the concert but to witness the blessing and presentation of the new organ—the gift made by friends from Finland.4s_2s

Distinguished guests’ addresses preceded the opening of the festival. Sirkka Kyyla—a minister from the St. Mikhail Church in Helsinki—initiated the purchase and delivery of the new organ to the Lutheran parish in the village of Martishkino. She said that all this would not be possible had it not been for the help of the pastor and the members of her church. Kristiina Hyaikio—the consul from the consulate-general of Finland in St. Petersburg, Russia—also said a few words of welcome. She expressed the satisfaction with the activities of the parish.

4s_4sMr. Kazakov—the Deputy Head of the Municipal Education in Lomonosov—said in his opening speech that he is very glad that in the due time this building was returned to the believers in the village of Martishkino.

Dr. Shlyapnokov—the artistic director of the Four Seasons in Tur Festival—opened the Festival by saying that this organ will not only serve during of the concerts but will also glorify God.

Music of Bach and Handel played by Sergei Andreev was performed in the first half of4s_1s the concert. Then the audience was introduced to several works sung by vocal singers Roman Karpyak and Nataliya Evstafeva accompanied by Mariya Shlyapnikova. The concert was brought to a close by Dr. Shlyapnikov’s virtuoso performance on the organ.

Concordia Foundation used this opportunity to distribute its new publications and also to invite everybody to participate in the Bible Study on the Basics of the Christian Faith.