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Russia/Eurasia Mission Initiative
After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of countries,
including Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova re-emerged and declared
their independence. Global Ministries’ work in Russia began almost
immediately after the Communist regime fell. Its primary purpose was
delivering food to the Moscow region, but soon the Russia Initiative
expanded beyond aid programs to include re-establishment of Methodism in
the countries of the former Soviet Union. Methodism had roots in both
northwest and far east regions of Russia prior to the Communist
Revolution. Global Ministries designed the program on the Wesleyan
holistic approach to mission, which combines both spiritual and physical
The Eurasia Annual Conference was established in 1997, with expansion
to four annual conferences in 2003 and a fifth annual conference in
2005. The United Methodist Theological Seminary in Moscow was launched
The Russia/Eurasia Initiative is a mature mission program that is in transition from the mission initiative phase to the Global Ministries/established church partnership within the United Methodist connection.
Challenges: The vast geographic size and cultural/ethnic
diversity of Eurasia have been a challenge to the mission. Another
significant challenge facing the mission initiative is to develop a
culture of self-sufficiency. Bishop Hans Växby (retired) said that there
has been a fall into a “deep dependency trap,” with Eurasian
congregations becoming too dependent on US partners.
Assets: The backbone of the mission initiative is the Partner
Church Program, with US-based churches providing relational and
financial support to the emerging churches in Eurasia. It is the first
Global Ministries mission program based on a church-to-church
partnership model that empowers local leaders and ministries.
Goals: In 2009 the United Methodist Church in Eurasia adopted a
vision called “The Roadmap to 2015,” a comprehensive plan of church
development and self-sufficiency by 2015. The initiative will assist the
United Methodist Church in Eurasia in its various ministries, including
education, mission, evangelism, and social outreach. Partner churches
will be encouraged to remain engaged and their work is coordinated with
the efforts of the bishop and Eurasia leadership team. A Eurasia
Evangelism Academy took place in 2013.
The mission initiative is transitioning into annual conference
structures within the United Methodist connection, completing the
initiative phase of the program by May 16, 2015, at the Russia-Eurasia
Partnership Roundtable in Moscow, Russia.
Statistics: There are 91 churches and five faith communities, with 113 pastors, four missionaries, and seven Nationals in Mission.
In Mission Together Coordinator:
Bishop Eduard Khegay