Is the Quest for Money More Important Than Our Own Life in the Church?
A Critical “Processing” of the Days in Omsk from April 19th to 23rd. A Voice from the Far East
We spent some very interesting days in Omsk: consistory, Pastoral days, a conference entitled “500 Years of the Reformation and its Influence on Society and Culture”, the installation of our new Bishop Alexander Scheiermann and the exhibition “Lutheranism in Siberia.” Former Bishop Volker Sailor and our current Bishop Alexander Scheiermann gave a very positive report about these days on May 3, 2017.
But there are some things that trouble us and we would like to share these with you.
We are all standing under the words of our risen Christ: “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life (Revelations2:10)
My wish for us is God’s blessing.
Your Dean Manfred Brockmann
The photograph is of our new Bishop and his wife.
To Moscow, April 25, 2017
It is too bad that we couldn’t meet again. I am flying back tomorrow. I think that these days in Omsk will have some repercussions. I am dissatisfied and disappointed.
1. The exhibition about the rebirth of the Lutheran Church in the territories of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East was not displayed, even though Omsk asked us and the other regions for material and we in the Far East sent our material to Omsk in plenty of time.
2. The exhibition about the history of Lutheranism and how it influenced Siberia was displayed late and there were errors in it; in this exhibit there was nothing about the rebirth of the Lutheran Church after 1992 in regions of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.
3. But instead there were many appearances by representatives of the University and the administration. That is also important but what is more important is the appearances of our own people,
4. The music was good, especially the organ concert and the concert by the small chamber orchestra. But they were paid professionals just like those from the university.
5. The lecture about “Music in the Lutheran Church” was really bad. Before the conference Tatjana Muramzewa asked for materials. I took this request very seriously and sent my lecture in plenty of time. And then I was notified under negative pressure to very, very quickly begin my lecture. It was not possible for me to find our good hymnals printed in St. Petersburg. There was only one pamphlet so we very quickly had to make copies of this. And Denis Scheck didn’t even send anything.
6. At our closing assembly Tatjana Muramzewa thanked those who contributed money and thanked the other “Church tourists” and other people who do not take part in our life here in Russia. I don’t think we should be thanking those who contribute money but instead we should be thanking those who are giving their lives to the church. That didn’t happen.
7. This all shows that these days were days where money ruled and where the foreigners were featured. And most of those featured were hired hands. The money came from the Hanoverian Lutheran Church and the German General Consulate in Novosibirsk.
Of course we need to praise the workers in Omsk for the way they stood ready to help and their ability to be flexible and improvise on the spot. We need to especially praise the women and specifically Lena and Tatjana. But for the organizers of the event in Omsk one can only give them grade of “insufficient carrying out of the assignment” . Especially scandalous is the absence of the exhibition “The Rebirth of the Lutheran Church in the deaneries of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.” We in the Far East sent our documents in plenty of time. That this exhibit did not happen was a really big disappointment for our people here. They were so happy about this exhibit and wanted to know what happened that it didn’t happen. I visited with our new Bishop A. Scheiermann about this and he wants to put this on the agenda for our next consistory meeting. This exhibition is supposed to be displayed at our Synod meeting in October, but that really is too late. Even the minister who is the Vice President of the Hannoverian Lutheran Church, Arend de Vries, could not hide his disappointment, because he said he really was looking forward to seeing the exhibition “The Rebirth of the Lutheran Church after 1992.”
Be ready, Dietrich. I am very enthused about and respect your quality of work and the responsibility you show.
Sincerely Manfred, who is awaiting your attendance at our celebration September 28-October 7.
PS I am supposed to send greetings to you from Ambassador Fritsch, who I spent time with yesterday. He regards you highly.
Vladivostok, May 1, 2017
Most esteemed and dear brother Wladimir Winogradoff:
Even though I have reconciled myself to my first impression of the start to your responsibility for 87 congregations (this is what you said on May 18) in Western and Eastern Siberia and my impression of your Biblical meditations, I unfortunately need to offer criticism of you and I do so in the name of the council of the Far East Deanery.
1. You are responsible for the display of the exhibition “The Rebirth and History of the Lutheran Church of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East since 1992” We, that is, our coworker and administrative leader for the Deanery of the Far East Ludmilla Pedjasch and my coworker Eduard Mischenko, put out a lot of effort to provide a high quality portion of this exhibition. We sent you our documents from the Far East in a very timely manner. The president of our congregation Konstantin Pawlenko contacted you often about this exhibition. But none of this was displayed by you. I spoke with our new Bishop Alexander Scheiermann about it and it was very embarrassing for him. We of the Far East were very disappointed and very much more so since our and your history is very contemporary, current and wonderful history and is not like these ancient things that we were shown in the museum. Our urgent plea is that you display this exhibition now, as scheduled and the best way would be in your church!
2. Tatjana Muromzewa asked me (and also Denis Scheck) to prepare a pamphlet about the importance of music in our Lutheran church and to send it to her. I did this with great zeal. I did this with a sense of responsibility, with good quality and on schedule. I was only able to deliver this lecture under pressure “commands” from these strangers from the university. (Please see the enclosed letter I sent to Dietrich Brauer). My urgent plea to you is to publish all or at least part of my lecture in our journal,”LOSA”.
3. At the display table for the conference “500 Years of the Reformation and its influence on Society and Culture” which was held on April 22, there was almost no one from our churches of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East sitting at the display table. It was bad that the director who sat at this table was an official with the university and someone unfamiliar to our church. It should have been the Bishop or one of his associates.
4. Something else that was unpleasant and disagreeable was how the opening of the Exhibit “Lutheranism in Siberia” on April 23 was carried out. The people from the university and the administration of the city and state made themselves to seem very important. You honored these people who are much distanced from our church and when were our people honored? There was this exhibition about the older history of the Lutheran Church (this exhibition contained several mistakes) Where was the history of the rebirth of our Lutheran Church since 1992?
5. And then there was the closing buffet at which certificates of appreciation were handed out to those who contributed money and to those who were honored guests from foreign countries.
I feel that these people who contribute money should not be honored, because the money is not really theirs; they are nothing but mailmen bearing money or “church tourists” who make their deliveries, go home and have no part in our life here in Russia. These people should be honoring and thanking our people, WHO ARE GIVING THEIR LIVES AND NOT THEIR MONEY. They should be thanking and honoring the following: Alfred Eichholtz(his entire life) Tatjana Muramzewa (she has been working since the time of our famous Nikolaus Schneider) Wladimir Winogradoff(who was baptized in 1983 by Nikolaus Schneider in the House of Prayer in Omsk) Manfred Brockmann (25 years) Konstantin Pawlenko (23 years). These are the people who have faithfully served the church in our Russia and they were all at the closing ceremonies!
“Grace be with us and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7) And “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelations 2:10) are words that I gave to our new Bishop A. Scheiermann and which I also gave to the educated and impressive director of the Marburger Mission, Rainer Becker, who was right when he said that the Revelation of John is very relevant today!
Manfred Brockmann, pastor
The Council of the Deanery and Administrative Leader Ludmilla Pedjasch
President of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Vladivostok, Konstantin Pawlenko