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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The winds of Lutheran change

One Russian church embraces new leadership and outreach

Since the March 2011 election of a young adult, Dietrich Brauer (now 29), as bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia (ELCER), winds of change have wafted through one of its congregations — Moscow's lofty St. Peter and Paul Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral.

Perhaps Russia's most magnificent Lutheran structure, St. Peter and Paul — one mile east of the Kremlin — is fast becoming a focal point of Russian Protestant life. Weddings, conventions and concerts from many Protestant quarters take place there weekly. And since January 2012, the ecumenical, space-cramped Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy has run a medical clinic for the needy in the basement. The cathedral also rents out office space in its outlying buildings, supplementing the congregation's income.

Alexander Usoltsev/Moscow Walks  <BR><BR>Markus
Markus Schnepel, a pastor from the German Embassy (left) and Dietrich Brauer, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia, lead a worship service at St. Peter and Paul.

The St. Peter and Paul congregation is beginning to grow again after the previous minister's removal and a difficult leadership transition in 2011 that led to the departure of some parishioners. Now 50 to 80 members attend worship on Sundays and prospects are bright. Separate German- and Russian-language services have been reduced to once a month. Regular Sunday services combine Russian and German elements of liturgy and music.

The congregation has many hopes, including raising $27,000 to install a sound system in the massive, main sanctuary — something rejected by previous leadership.


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