Funding pastors’ salaries and church ministries, and establishing new churches
Describe the need affecting community
The population of Ukraine is almost 46 million people with 25% under the age of 25. The population of Moldova is 3.5 million with 32% under the age of 25. The percent under age 25 is significant because these where born after 1990 when the Soviet Union dissolved. Although Ukraine is more pluralistic then Russia or Belarus, almost 65% of its population is not affiliated with any religious group. In Moldova, over 90% of the population have a religious affiliation with Eastern Orthodoxy but it is estimated that only about 5% attend on a typical Sunday morning.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
Methodist work in present day western Ukraine was founded by the Chechoslovak Annual Conference in the 1920s and continued to grow up to World War II. This is one of the few places during the Soviet period where Methodist house churches continued to meet through the 1950s. In 1964 contact was made with Methodists in Tallinn, Estonia for pastoral training. Four congregations in 1989 made contact with the Hungarian Annual Conference and remained in connection until 1992 when General Conference decided to make Eurasia an independent Episcopal area which also included Ukraine and Moldova.”The Roadmap to 2015″ was a plan to move Ukrainian and Moldova churches towards self-sufficiency. The next phase was adopted in May 2015 which is a seven year Roadmap, 2016-2022. As the ministries continue to grow with these two countries, they seek to formulate their own dreams and visions for ministry and to empower not only their own people but also to share their insights and resources with the global church. The 2022 Roadmap will serve as a guide to strengthen and grow church leadership, moving beyond its institutional structures to create self-sustaining communities that will empower the local churches to stand on their own while forging deeper relationships and partnerships. “We live on the threshold of a new paradigm. It brings to us a new way of thinking, new approaches to evangelism, and new understanding of modern human beings. We are called to be active participants in the movement of the Spirit and make a breakthrough in the development of Christian mission,” states Bishop Eduard Khegay.
Describe the primary goal of the project
United Methodists in Russia and Belarus have adopted a new seven-year Roadmap for 2017- 2022 which focuses on the following key areas: * Methodist identity—with focus on theology, media, music, family ministry, and spiritual disciplines. Measurable outcome will be seen in the output of printed materials for study, reflection and the practice of spiritual disciplines. * Leadership development of laity and pastors – Measurable outcome will be seen in strengthening and increasing the number of courses in Centers for Church Leadership” and the offering of other Leadership District and Conference events. * Mission and missionary involvement within Eurasia and beyond. Measurable outcome will be seen in the number of UMVIM groups and individuals which participate and also the number of new churches which are planted. * Financial self-sufficiency. Outcome measured by Advance gifts decreasing for local church ministries but increasing for church planting and new projects. * Strengthening of inter-religious relationships. Outcome measured on the number and agendas of inter-religious meetings.