Russia Mission Team 2015
After our team’s trip to Davydovo, Russia, to serve in the church camp for children with disabilities, the Russia Mission Team has decided to make 2015 a year of education. Through a series of events planned to begin in February, we will continue efforts to get to know Russia and its people. We hope to hear once again from those who spoke at the Russian Mission Network Conference in August, to enjoy Russian food, and to engage our friends from St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church. As yet we have enjoyed only a sample of what our two congregations can offer to one another through musical events, presentations, and shared meals (including the cooking itself!). Although our team will wait until 2016 to return to Davydovo, we hope to support our brothers and sisters at St. Vladimir as they prepare to send a team to Russia, including youth, in the summer of 2015.
About the Russia Mission Team
The Russian Mission Team was established in February 2012, after an exploratory trip to Russia in October 2011. The trip was funded in part by a grant from the Jeane Seeley Mission Fund. Our group of five, accompanied by Ellen Smith, Presbyterian Mission Co-Worker, spent some time in Moscow, but we also visited Davydovo, a small village in the Yarolslavl region, about a three-hour train ride northeast of Moscow.
This past fall, thanks to another Jeane Seeley grant, Fr. Vladimir and Ellen traveled to Ann Arbor in order to see models for the kind of center Fr. Vladimir envisions for his church community as they serve children with disabilities, their parents, and at-risk teenage boys. Our congregation's Christmas Eve 2012 offering was designated for the ministry at Davydovo.
Russian Mission Network Conference
The 2014 conference will be hosted August 21 - 23 by First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor (1432 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan).
The conference begins with an informal reception, dinner, and a brief program on Thursday, August 21 and ends Saturday, August 23, at 4 p.m. This conference is for persons and churches beginning their journey or seasoned in their Russia mission programs.
Our goal is to engage and learn from each other how to strengthen the global Christian family through mutual encouragement. Let us come together as one in Christ, to inform, enhance our experience of cultural exchange, and share inspiration. In particular, we will have an opportunity to hear presentations regarding the ways in which Orthodoxy has shaped Russian culture as a whole.
Sign up here to attend the conference! The registration fee is $135 per person or there is a Friday or Saturday only option for $75 (includes meals and snacks).
Russian Mission Network Dinner - August 22
On Friday, August 22, all are invited to a dinner at First Pres from 6 - 9 p.m. There will be entertainment by musicians from First Presbyterian and St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church. Dr. John Burgess, of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, will speak on "The Religious Factor in Ukraine and Crimea," followed by responses from Fr. Gregory Joyce of St. Vladimir and Dr. Laura Kline of Wayne State University. Donations to support the work of the Russian Mission Network will be received at the dinner. Questions? Contact Linda Speck at email@example.com. Interested in attending? Sign up here to RSVP for the Russian Mission Network Dinner!
Russia Mission Trip - July 2014
A group of six volunteers (five from First Pres) recently traveled to the small village of Davidovo, Russia, to meet Father Vladimir, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. This was the next step in developing a deeper relationship with the church there. While there we were privileged to be able to participate in a camp that Father Vladimir runs for disabled youth and to attend worship services and learn about the life of the village.
Some of our activities while in Russia included sharing crafts with the campers, working in the dining hall preparing food, trying some of the traditional games with the campers, learning about the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, and holding our own devotions as we processed our experiences. We came away from our time there aware of the great need for help for disabled children and aware that what Father Vladimir is doing is good indeed. It is our hope that our church can continue to assist and be a part of the revitalization of the village.