Synod Calls for Preachers' Training, Intensified Work with Children and Youth

Dec 31, 1969 07:00 PM EST

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - "We are convinced that the Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan has a future," emphasized Bishop Kornelius Wiebe in his report to the tenth synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan.

The theme of the November 7-10 synod meeting in Tashkent was "God is Love" (I John 4: 8). It was attended by twelve members from seven of the eight congregations in Uzbekistan.

Reviewing the past ten years, Bishop Wiebe expressed gratitude for the continued presence of the church in Uzbekistan despite great difficulties including the emigration of many church members including preachers. More than 1,000 people had been baptized and confirmed in the last ten years. The bishop noted that there were 38 baptisms and 30 confirmations in the past year.

In her report, the synod president, Ms Gilda Ivanova Raspopova, pointed out that the training and further education of preachers in Uzbekistan continues to be an urgent concern. Each congregation requires at least two preachers. She underlined the need for intensified work with children and young people. A first summer camp for children and young people is planned for next year.

From the congregations' reports, it was evident that the increased in some congregations. The services are bilingual using German andRussian, although the sermons are now often preached in membership had remained stable over the past year and had even Russian only. In most congregations children's worship takes place at the same time as the Sunday service.

One major concern in the discussion was diaconal work in the congregations, most of which is voluntary. It includes care and support for the elderly, sick, handicapped or needy church members. In Tashkent, a woman doctor is a full-time social service worker and regularly visits the sick in their homes. A delegate, Elisaveta Chraminkova from Chirchik, described diaconal work in Uzbekistan: "It is difficult to do diaconal work when the financial resources are very limited."

Headquartered in Tashkent, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Uzbekistan is a member of ELCROS.

By Albert H. Lee
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