Russia’s Evangelical Alliance has Joined the European Family
News from the EEA’s Annual Conference in Portugal
M o s c o w – The Russian Evangelical Alliance has achieved a significant milestone. At its annual conference in Colares/Portugal on 12 October, the REA was accepted as a full member of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA). According to REA-General-Secretary Sergey Vdovin, the goal was only achieved after 142 years of effort. Britain’s Granville Waldegrave (1833-1913), better known as Baron (or Lord) Radstock, who had spent time as a missionary in St. Petersburg 1874-78, was a member of the 1846-founded World Evangelical Alliance. In 1896, Evangelical-Christian leader Ivan Prokhanov (1869-1935) attended the Alliance’s 50th-anniversary celebrations in London. Thanks to the work of Prokhanov, a “Russian Evangelical Union” achieved state registration in 1906. Yet due do the lack of internal agreement among evangelicals, the organisation was only granted a short life. The next attempt began with the refounding of a Russian Alliance in April 2003 by 145 delegates from Russia’s largest Protestant denominations and organisations. Four years later, the Russians applied for EEA-membership. After an additional nine years, all sides have now agreed to membership status.
This year, Russia’s Christians have been commemorating the 140th anniversary of the publication of the Russian Synodal Bible (comparable to the Anglo world’s King James Version). The REA too sees its roots in the Russia’s evangelical movement of the 19th century.
One of the Russians in Colares was Vitaly Vlasenko, Director of External Relations for the Moscow-based Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. Vlasenko stressed: “I believe this a very significant and positive development for the Russian Alliance. Early in the 18th century, Tsar Peter the Great had reached out the hand of friendship to the countries of Western Europe. We understand ourselves very much in that tradition. We strongly favour peace and cooperation, and we from the Russian Alliance stand for the close collaboration of evangelical churches throughout Europe.”
Regions in which the current REA have been most active include: Moscow, Voronesh, the Caucasus, Nizhny Novgorod, Izhevsk, Perm, Novosibirsk and Kemerovo.
In attendance in Portugal were also REA’s president, the Baptist Alexander Fedichkin. All of the Russian guests in Portugal are from Moscow.
In another development, the Russian-speaking theologian Prof. Johannes Reimer, a Russian-German from Germany’s Free-Evangelical church also present in Portugal, has been appointed “Director of Peace and Reconciliation” of the New York City-based World Evangelical Alliance. General-Secretary of the EEA is Thomas Bucher of Switzerland.
William Yoder, Ph.D.
Smolensk, 22 October 2016
This is an official release of the Russian Evangelical Alliance. It may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #16-12, 387 words.