Simon Borodin Provisional Director of RUECB-Missions Department
Moscow headquarters more colourful than ever
M o s c o w – Since 1 November 2007, Simon Alexeevich Borodin has been serving as the new Provisional Director of Missions for the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (RUECB) in Moscow. Contingent upon the agreement of the Union´s Council, Borodin will be taking over this major department officially from Leonid Kartavenko, who has become Department Director for Financial Services.
Borodin serves as a pastor in the 3.000-member „Missionary Union of Evangelical Christians“, which is active primarily in southern Russia. His official calling would make him the fourth Department Director arriving at RUECB headquarters from a non-RUECB congregation. During the second half of 2006, President Yuri Sipko had with the sanction of the Union´s Council brought three “predecessors” into RUECB-headquarters. Pastor Alexei Smirnov (Dedovsk near Moscow) from the „Association of Brethren Churches“ (ABC), had then been named Director of the Pastoral Department. He was followed by Valentin Vasilizhenko, once a member of the „International Council of Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists“, better known initially as the „Initiativniki“ or the „Unregistered“. Before transitioning to RUECB-headquarters, Vasilizhenko had last served as head of the Moscow-based “Association for Spiritual Renewal”. He became at RUECB request Founding Director of the “Public Council”. Vitaly Vlasenko, President of the "Union of Christian Evangelical Churches of Russia", was named Director for External Church Relations. Today, Vasilizhenko and Vlasenko are both serving as RUECB pastors. All denominations mentioned here belong to the 10 churches with Baptist roots forming the loose, Public Council umbrella organisation headed by Vasilizhenko.
Borodin states: „I think the Public Council has done much to bring together both the tighter and the more distant brotherhood of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. Yuri Sipko has shown great foresight with his decision to call brethren from other denominations into Union services. The positive results stemming from the past two years point to the appropriateness of such a stance. The ABC is now cooperating strongly with the RUECB. My denomination also approves of the present process and believes that it serves both the larger and the smaller brotherhoods well.”
Simon Borodin states that Pastor Kartavenko has handed over a well-prepared house with seven experienced and trained staff members. “The missionary expeditions (involving motorised vehicles and bicycles) have plowed the earth well. We are now concerned about sowing and reaping. I see only great conditions for the continuation of our work.” Of course, the coming Director hopes to further develop the missionary spirit and training of leading workers throughout Russia. Yet the continued development of a missions network – involving tent evangelisation for ex. – is heavily dependent upon general conditions determined by the state. “We are in any case convinced that evangelisation from heart-to-heart cannot be restrained.”
Not only Simon Borodin dreams of the RUECB transitioning from a receiving to a giving church. “We dare not remain a church which collects missionaries and funds from outside. We should develop missionaries in our own congregations and support them financially ourselves. But this requires that God change our ways of thinking.” The dream includes the sending of missionaries to both the Far East and the Near East, both to the Russian diaspora and to native peoples. “Not all countries allow American missionaries to enter. A number of countries have friendlier relations with us than with North America or Western Europe.”
Pastor Borodin has spent two years assisting Leonid Kartavenko in RUECB-headquarters. After years of church service in Krasnodar region and elsewhere, he had become pastor of Moscow´s “Good News” congregation in 2006. He also headed for an interim period Willow Creek´s „Global Leadership Summit“ programme in Russia. His job resume includes stints as a portrait photographer and army cook. Borodin was born in 1956 in Kropotkin, Krasnodar region. He and his wife Tatiana have seven children between the ages of 28 and 19. The couple is presently awaiting its sixth grandchild.
Dr. William Yoder
Department for External Church Relations, RUECB
Moscow, 23 January 2008
This piece desires only to inform readers. May be published freely. Release #08-02, 636