Moscow´s Marathon Breakfast
National Prayer Breakfast Board Chairman visits Korea
M o s c o w – Future participants at Moscow´s National Prayer Breakfast will need to be ready for Moscow´s most drawn-out breakfast. That was one upshot of Pastor Vitaly Vlasenko´s (Moscow) attendance at Korea´s 40th National Prayer Breakfast in the South Korean capital on 15 May. The Board Chairman of Russia´s National Prayer Breakfast Foundation adds: “A few hours on a midweek morning will no longer suffice. We want to invite many more representatives of church and government to Moscow and offer them the opportunity to hold extensive conversations.” Smaller sessions on specific topics will also be finding their way onto the programme.
The Baptist pastor is especially attracted to the Prayer Breakfast movement´s wholistic, international and interdisciplinary approach. He states: “In a globalised world, all sectors of society are related to each other. The Koreans show us how vital it is that people of good will from the political, business, cultural and church realms get together informally without the rigours of protocol to do some serious talking.” This approach is also essential for the citizens of Russia, where struggle for the common good is still foreign to most. The pastor states: “Still far too few Protestants are involved in the political affairs of this country. It no longer suffices to simply secure the welfare of one`s own local congregation. Gifted young people with an eye on public affairs need to be sought out and supported in their development.
Not least of all, Vlasenko, who is also Director of the Russian Union of Evangelical-Christians Baptists´ (RUECB) Department of External Church Affairs, intends to link those politicians who attend Russian Prayer Breakfasts with Christian politicians from other countries. “Our politicians need to hear about all which this movement has already achieved. Russian politicians need to catch hold of that dream.”
Vlasenko is apparently the first official representative of Russia´s Prayer Breakfast movement to attend Korea´s annual Breakfast. He was consequently asked to address the 3.500 leaders at the primary event. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, an active Presbyterian layman, also spoke on this occasion.
The Korean sessions ended on 16 May with a breakfast in the South Korean parliament. Afterward, South Korean and foreign participants climbed onto two tour buses and visited a new industrial park in North Korea developed by South Korean firms. The guests gathered on these grounds and prayed for Korea´s peaceful reunification and the overcoming of Communist rule.
In 2002, a high-level Korean delegation visited Russia´s Prayer Breakfast. After the US-American Prayer Breakfast, which was founded in 1953, South Korea has become the world´s second-largest Prayer Breakfast movement. Russia´s National Prayer Breakfast was first held in 1995; besides Moscow, annual events are also held in Krasnodar/Caucasus and Krasnoyarsk/Central Siberia. New Breakfasts are in the offing for Belgorod/Southwestern Russia and Izhevsk/Ural.
Dr. William Yoder
Department for External Church Relations, RUECB
Moscow, 23 May 2008
A release of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Union of
Evangelical Christians-Baptists. It is informational in character and does not express a sole, official position of RUECB-leadership. May be published freely. Release #08-23, 458 words.