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St. John Lutheran Church Hosting Visiting Russian Clergy

St John Lutheran ChurchSt. John Lutheran Church of Russell is hosting two visiting Russian churchmen Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two visitors are Pastor Alexander Lapochenko and Evgeny Slinchenko from St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Arsenyev, Russia. The town of more than 56,000 is in Primorsky Krai, Russia located about 160 miles northeast of Vladivostok.

Pastor Alexander is one of a handful of Lutheran pastors that serve a number of emerging Lutheran congregations in a large geographical area of southern to Far East Russia. Following the legalization of religion, a surprising number of Lutheran faith communities were discovered to have been meeting "underground". Sadly, many of the pastors and church leaders had been purged by the Communist regimes of Stalin and Lenin.

Persons such as Evgeny is not only the president of the congregation, but is also a lay preacher that serves the house church in Arsenyev along with Pastor Alexander. It is a small church by American standards, but in Russia, only Russian Orthodox churches can "advertise". Although free to practice faith, other religious denominations can have congregations and hold worship services. Often congregations like St. Luke's in Arsenyev and St. Paul's in Vladivostok hold organ concerts, which allows them to let people know who and where they are.

The two pastors will make a presentation at the Russell Senior Center Wednesday, June 19 at noon. A potluck meal will be provided by the members of St. John (425 N. Main) at 6 PM where the two will share stories and slides about their congregation and the state of faith communities in their area. On Tuesday, the two will be meeting with Lutheran pastors from throughout Kansas. Pastor Roger Dennis is the host pastor and will be guiding the visitors to various sites in the area.

For more information, please contact Pastor Roger Dennis at 785-483-5358.

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