2007 East Russia and Central Asia Provisional Annual Conference
May 18-20, 2007, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Five new church groups were registered during the East Russia and Central Asia Annual Conference session, which met around the theme of "Sharing." Three of the groups were new church plants in the Urals, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan; one was a local church that reopened in Vladivostok; and one was an independent congregation that applied to become part of The United Methodist Church connection.
"We are still learning how to function as an annual conference," said area Bishop Hans Vaxby. "The East Russia and Central Asia Provisional Conference covers vast distances and five time zones. This description of the conference session may give a slightly chaotic impression, since we are still in the process of figuring out the best ways to communicate with one another in preparation for the opportunities we have to gather together. We are definitely moving in the right direction, though, and it was a joy to listen to the reports and survey the fruit of their labor."
The conference speaker was the Rev. Lena Chudinova of Tomsk, the Siberia/Far East District superintendent. She spoke about sharing, and a special time of teaching and reflection on "Sharing ... Faith, Resources and Time" occurred during the plenary sessions. Brochures on each component of the theme were handed out, and members sang about sharing during the meetings.
The Rev. Steve Johnson, an elder in the U.S. California-Nevada Annual Conference, was appointed to help oversee church development in the Siberia and Far East District. He and his wife, Carol, have lived in Khabarovsk since January.
Two elders were ordained: Tansillia Prokopenkov and Tatiana Tomakh; and one probationary member was commissioned: Svetlana Tsoy.
The lay delegate elected to the 2008 General Conference is Irina Gorbuleva of Tomsk, Russia, and the clergy delegate is Daniil Strarikov of Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. The lay delegate elected to Central Conference is Klavdia Parfyonova of Khabarovsk, Russia, and the clergy delegate is Elena Kim of Moscow.
Membership for Central Asia stands at 155, up from 77 in the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 252, up from 56. Statistics from East Russia are not yet available.
Kathleen W. Harris