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This month we want to tell you more about the efforts of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Novosibirsk, Siberia, to train pastors to serve the church in Russia. They are the recipients of a $100,000 grant from Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM) in the 2019–2021 biennium.

Prior to the 1917 Russian revolution, the Lutheran Church was the second largest group of Christians living in Russia—the first Lutherans having arrived there shortly after the Protestant Reformation. But government-sponsored anti-religious campaigns between 1917 and 1941 and anti-German sentiment during and after World War II were especially brutal to Lutherans. Virtually all of the church’s pastors were killed or imprisoned and Lutheran churches were destroyed or confiscated.

Today the Lutheran Church is making a comeback. Nowhere is that more apparent than in eastern Russia, in Siberia, where many Lutherans were deported in the purges of the 1920s and ’30s. Through the efforts of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is in full altar and pulpit fellowship with the Luther Church—Missouri Synod, and through the pastoral training provided by the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Novosibirsk, Siberia, the Word and Sacraments are again making their way to the long-repressed Russian people.

The Novosibirsk seminary’s goal is to prepare workers to spread the true Word of God to the Russian people. To do so, pastors must be well educated and prepared to provide intelligent, compassionate pastoral care to everyone. While the academic training at the Novosibirsk seminary is second to none, the seminary’s ability to survive financially is at risk. Its U.S.-based foundation, from which the seminary received the largest portion of support, has had to reduce its contributions to the seminary’s operations due to changing financial circumstances.

If the seminary were to close, it could be impossible for it to reopen, given the politics of today’s Russia. At the least it would take years, and it is difficult to know what impact the closing of the Novosibirsk seminary would have on the future of the Lutheran Church in Russia. This grant will help keep the seminary in operation for the next two years as the Siberian Lutheran Mission, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization (RSO), continues its “Save the Seminary Campaign” to raise funds to endow the seminary’s operations long-term.

Lutheran Women in Mission (LWM) is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, LWM has focused on affirming each woman’s relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and by supporting global missions. For more information on each month’s mission focus, visit Saint John’s Lutheran Women in Mission (Mission Guild) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30 AM in Room 301. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.