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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Reflections on the Volga

Thursday. July 18th our team boarded a Volga Riverboat and took a 3 hour trip to Shiryaevo Village. It is a historic area of the Samara Region and locals call it the Switzerland of Russia.

It is home to the Repin Museum and is where Repin did many drawings while he was working on his best known painting “Barge Haulers on The Volga”.
But more importantly it is beautiful Russian countryside. We spent time hiking, picnicking and being warmly treated by several members of the group of Samara UMC members who visited Ohio last summer.

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It was a great time of fellowship spent in a beautiful setting. During one outing the team members and our hosts took turns singing and entertaining each other. The food was incredible for picnic food.

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Spending time with this wonderful community of Christians gave us insight to their world. They are very close knit and adults function as supplemental parents, watching out for and taking care of each other’s children. As a five year old leaned over the water’s edge for a rock, one of the other Mothers stood behind him loving holding the back of his shirt so he could not slip and get wet. In one way it was so basic but in another reminded several of us of a time that has passed in America.

When our time was done on Friday, we had a great cruise down the Volga to Samara.

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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

An Ending & A Renewal

Wednesday, July 17th – Day #3 of our seminar with members of the Volga District was a fitting end to our time together. Started with a passionate worship service from our hosts. Included several styles of music and praise.

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There were sessions on why we needed to be involved in social outreach followed by an examination of the “Awaken The City” ministry at Hyde Park Community UMC. The Walk to Emmaus and the “Unbinding” series were discussed as tools to faith development.

A restatement of the covenant service between the Volga District and West Ohio Conference was a moving and appropriate ending to the seminar.

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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

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The Mantle

Day #2 of the seminar was focused on sharing spiritual formation and supporting Christian families. One memorable highlight was when members of the team took their mantles, which they received when commissioned a few days earlier and used them to encircle all attendees and entered into prayer. It was a powerful moment both symbolically and in the moment as Christians from worlds apart became one.

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During the afternoon the focus was singles, marriage, sex education for children and divorce support. Not exactly timid subjects but it was obvious that these are areas of ministries where sharing information on these subjects were well received.

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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

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Seminar Day 1

July 15 – Today was the beginning of a three day Vision and Mission Seminar coordinated by Carol Harper of the WOC mission team and leadership of the Volga District and Samara UMC. Pastors and lay leaders from the churches across the Volga District of the UMC in Russia.

Carol Harper introduced the concept of kitchen table theology during which members of the WOC VIM team paired with Russian attendees in groups that shared their thoughts and reactions to Acts 2, 1-21. As we progressed it was obvious that while we have different histories, language and cultures we shared common reflection and reaction to this brief study.

DS Natalia Prokhorova of the Volga District shared the process of building a vision of what a church in today’s Russia can be using the example of how Samara UMC. That vision includes being a “Church of Full Families” taking into account what a family is in modern day society.

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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

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In Worship

Sunday, July 13th…after attempting to catch up on much needed sleep, our host families took us to worship at Samara UMC. A steady stream of church members greeted us pre-worship. It is always heartening to be in worship with this community of Christians. You do not need to understand Russian to get a sense of the strong faith of the these people.

In many ways, this is a first generation community of Christians not unlike the early churches in Greece or Rome. Members are very comfortable sharing their faith and love of Christ with each other and their visitors from West Ohio.

The service was full of announcements, blessing of children, faith sharing, a sermon by Carol Harper and beautiful music.

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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

Yellow Roses

Yellow Roses

Three yellow roses bundled and wrapped in ribbon where presented to each of us as we entered the Samara airport. We had been traveling a little over 18 hours since boarding the first of three flights in Cincinnati. Warm welcomes of hugs were given to us and it did not matter if we were old friends or first time visitors. We are treated as family…sisters and brothers in Christ. It is a warm and welcoming beginning to our time in the Volga River District.

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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

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Mission to Samara

We come from all across the West Ohio Conference. From Ripley to Maumee to Cincinnati and even Northern Kentucky. There are eight of us and we started the journey to the Volga District of Russia on Friday, July 12. Four of us are returning to see old friends and make new ones and four are going for the first time to be in fellowship with our sisters and brothers in Christ across the Volga River District. You are welcome to join us on our mission of Christian love here on WOC Mission Mosaic over the coming days.

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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Mission Mosaic

 

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