East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 6, No. 1, Winter 1998, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe

Letter to the Editor

This letter of appreciation is sent on behalf of the recent conference on "Women In Ministry" here in Russia in June 1997, bringing together Christian women from a broad geographic and confessional range.  Having participated in church-based ministry for over a decade, first in Eastern Europe and now for four years in Russia, I have observed that helping women come to terms with their abilities and spiritual gifts within the context of the church is a tremendous need.  This has become especially clear in recent years in the seminars and training schools that my mission and others have held for youth leaders from a number of Christian denominations throughout East Central Europe and Russia.  Invariably at each training event, there are a number of young women who request additional time to discuss such issues as singleness, dating, marriage, and leadership within the context of the church.  In addition, significant numbers have indicated struggles with various issues of shame which have been a part of their experience, or the experience of those in their youth programs, including physical and sexual abuse, incest, abortion, prostitution, and the devastating effects of alcoholism.  (Only now are drug-related issues beginning to affect Russian youth in a major way.)  Many have gladly received biblical counsel in these areas.

The work which has been started through this consultation is vital in a number of ways, namely:  1) introducing Russian Christian women to each other across a wide range of confessional and professional affiliations; 2) opening up their thinking with regard to women's service in the church; 3) challenging them to find ways of positively impacting the thinking of leaders and laity in the churches toward the participation of women in viable ministry activities; 4) helping them to see new ministry options for themselves; 5) encouraging them to take opportunities which will use their abilities and gifts meaningfully; and, perhaps most important, 6) assisting them to serve as role models for a new generation of young women who desperately need to feel valued and challenged toward faithfulness to their calling and giftedness.  My sincere thanks and best wishes in making the discussions an ongoing effort toward the extension of God's Kingdom here.

Letter to the Editor, East-West Church & Ministry Report, 6 (Winter 1998), 13.

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© 1998 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
ISSN 1069-5664

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