Brief Updates on the Moscow Church
In August 2016, from online news and the message from the Moscow church council members, we were advised that the Russian government made changes to their religious laws and had begun implementing the changes in order to reinforce their anti-terrorism efforts. Among the changes are: prohibiting preaching in residential areas and requiring all missionary personnel to have legal documents regarding their status from governmental religious institutions, foreign short-term missionaries are to use a missionary visa to enter Russia, and long-term missionaries are to have a missionary work visa issued by the Russian government. All missionary publications must have detailed address and name of the publishing religious institution. Any contraventions will be fined 50,000 rubles and the foreign missionaries will be deported.
Founded on praying for God’s mercy, help and guidance, the Moscow church took a number of measures in response to the new laws. Such measures included applying for registration of the church to the Russian Christian Association, applying for two church council members of the Moscow Church to be qualified as sermon speakers, and printing one thousand business cards with the Chinese and Russian name of the Moscow church on them to replace the use of leaflets. Currently, the church registration is still in progress, the two church council members have obtained approval and the relating documents from the Russian Christian Association for their qualification as sermon speakers. The holy work of the church has proceeded as usual without interference. Thank God!
Due to the sanctions imposed by some Western countries, the Russian economy has been in poor condition for several years. The work and life of most believers in the Moscow church have been affected to a certain extent, and some even left to return to Mainland China. Thank God, the condition of everyone’s spirituality has been relatively stable. Currently, there are about 30 people attending the Sabbath services. In addition to the two Sabbath services, there are two online Bible study sessions from 8 to 9 p.m. every Wednesday and Friday evening and a family service from 5 to 7 p.m. every Sunday afternoon. Each evening from 9 to 9:30 is the prayer session time for all church members. A church council member will send online notification and list out the prayer content. This has persisted for more than three years, with most believers having participated.
The Moscow church regularly holds evangelical services and spiritual convocation and student spiritual convocation twice a year in early January and early May. At the evangelical services and spiritual convocation at the beginning of this year, 49 people attended, including 14 truthseekers. Seven people including two truthseekers attended the student spiritual convocation. Currently, the follow-up work with the truthseekers is done mainly by the people who guided the truthseekers to the church, with assistance from church council members and church workers from abroad. The main focus of the Sunday family service is tailored to the needs of the truthseekers. There are no full-time ministers at the Moscow church. Every year before and during the spiritual convocation, there are four groups of workers from abroad who take turns to come to assist in holy work.
Evangelical Services and Spiritual Convocation in 2017
In early December of last year, a brother came to Moscow after graduating with a master’s degree in music conducting in St. Petersburg and returning to his home country. He was moved to dedicate himself as a full-time worker and was interested in participating in holy work in the Moscow church. After discussion, the church council members resolved to provide the chapel for this brother as accommodation, arrange for him to participate and lead the online services, put in him charge in planning and implementing the church’s choir work, and have him participate in the religious education for the Elementary 2 class and lead the hymnal prayer session or testimony and prayer session on the Sabbath afternoon. After a period of time (estimate of 1-2 years), the church will consider whether to recommend this brother to the General Assembly to be a full-time preacher based on an assessment to be made at that time.
The church council of the Moscow church has designated the themes of holy work for the next two periods, each in three years: Renewal of Life and Pursuit for Perfection. The theme for 2017 is “Deep Prayer - Renewal of Life,” for 2018 “Diligent in Study - Renewal of Life” and for 2019 “Be Active in our Work – Renewal of Life.” The theme for 2020 is “In Respect of Speech – Pursuit for Perfection,” for 2021 “In Respect of Love – Pursuit for Perfection,” and for 2022 “In Respect of Submission – Pursuit for Perfection.” Through the proposal of the believers, the church council members have resolved to add a Youth Servitude Fellowship from 6 to 7:30 p.m. of every Sabbath commencing January 28 of this year.
We ask that fellow workers and brethren to please often intercede for the Moscow church!
UK worker visitation