Moscow, Russia, is the major political, economic, and scientific center of Eastern Europe. By broader definition, Moscow is the 11th most-populated city within the world, and is recognized as having the 14th largest metro area of the world. She is the largest city entirely on the European continent. On my most recent trip to Moscow, I met with Superintendent Dr. Tom Rosson and National Overseer Bishop Pavel Abashin and was excited to learn of the aggressive vision cast by these great leaders. The regional overseer of Moscow, Bishop Vitality Arhipkin, shared with me that we currently have 30 active congregations in Moscow. Within the past four months, we have organized two new churches and are presently assisting two additional new church plants. It is our heartfelt desire to not only strengthen our existing churches in Moscow, but to plant 10 new churches within the next four years.
The Eurasia Theological Seminary, located in Moscow, continues in advancement in every way with a current enrollment of more than 400 students. Many of these students are preparing themselves for full-time ministry roles within our churches. In February 2017, this seminary was awarded Level IV Accreditation from the Church of God Division of Education. The Regional Evangelical Accrediting Association Committee submitted a recommendation to the Association Board that all Master Level Programs be changed from “Candidate” status to “Accredited” status in May 2017. This seminary has established itself as the Pentecostal Training Center for the Church of God in Russia, and continues to prepare the way for greater church growth and development within Eastern Europe.
Apprehensions were voiced concerning a new law passed in Russia in July 2016 which restricted the personal witnessing, as well as evangelistic witnessing of Jesus Christ openly outside the actual church structure. There is no doubt—this is an important matter! While this has limited the outside activity of ministry teams, along with open crusades, the Church of God is serving in a leading role in legally challenging these new laws. Bishop Sergei Riahovsky, the former Church of God national overseer of Russia, serves as the president of the Pentecostal Union of Russia. In a recent meeting with Bishop Riahovsky, he pledged to me, Dr. Tom Rosson, and the Russian National Council that, in the appropriate settings, the Pentecostal Union is committed to continue representing the rights of religious freedom for the people of Russia. Together, we will continue in the pursuit of righteousness and the preaching of the uncompromised Word of God.
—Dr. Stephen Darnell, WM Field Director of Europe/Middle East/CIS