This fall, St. Paul’s Congregation in Novye Burasy, Saratov Oblast, celebrates 20 years since its official registration.
In 1999, descendants of Volga Germans in Novye Burasy asked the Lutherans in Saratov to help conduct worship services and Bible studies and organize their church life. Volunteers from Saratov began traveling to the village on a regular basis holding worship services and various other activities at different facilities such as the local House of Culture or Volga Germans’ Club.
It was the congregation in Novye Burasy that put forward the idea that the Saratov region, too, should host theological seminars involving seminary professors from the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
In the fall of 1999, the late Reverend Sergei Preiman, Bishop’s Vicar and the Dean of the then Russian-Language Deanery of the ELCIR, visited the community to celebrate the first communion service and confirm more than 11 members of the newly-established church congregation. Also, he brought a congregational constitution to register the congregation with the state.
In 2000, the Congregation of Novye Burasy was visited by pastors and missionaries from different Lutheran churches such as SELK Bishop Diethardt Roth from Germany and LCMS pastors and missionaries John Reehl, Douglas Reinders, and James Dimitroff from the USA, and many others. In the same year, the congregation was officially registered as the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of St. Paul.
For many years, Deacon Aleksandr Ukhanov traveled to the congregation on a weekly basis carrying out the preaching, nurturing, and diaconal ministry until his sudden decease. Today, St. Paul’s Congregation is served by clergymen from Saratov.
Photo credits: personal archive of Rev. Aleksandr Furs