December 2019 Newsletter
Along with all the men and ministries we support, we would ask you to also please pray for the JEEP EC this coming year, as we consider how the Lord would have us best use the available resources He has given us, both of time and money, so that His Word would go forth, His name might be magnified, and His kingdom would continue to expand both in Eastern Europe, and throughout the whole world (Dan. 2:34-35).
Policy & Status
The Joint Eastern European Project (JEEP) was founded in 2011, as a partnership between three churches in Anselm Presbytery. Presently, the Executive Committee (EC) consists of representatives from several sponsoring churches in North America. This year the JEEP EC experienced several board changes, as Pastor Jack Phelps stepped down from his long-time position as Chairman, and the EC added two new members and elected three new officers. At present, the EC members are John Unger (Chairman) and Pastor Stuart Bryan, Trinity Church, Coeur d’Alene, ID; Pastor Jack Phelps and Deacon Derrick Honrud (Treasurer), Covenant Bible Church, AK; Elder Matt Dau (Secretary), Reformation Covenant Church, OR; Pastor Mike Kloss (Vice Chair), Redeemer Church, WA; Pastor Gregg Strawbridge, All Saints Church, PA; and Pastor Garry Vanderveen, Christ Covenant Church, B.C. (PCA).
Churches in Eastern Europe served by JEEP agree to submit regular financial information to the EC, in order to remain qualified for assistance. The majority, but not all, of the CREC churches in Europe have come under the JEEP umbrella. Participating churches are located in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus.
In September, 2018, the EC adopted a formal policy regarding outreach projects that participating churches propose for funding. JEEP’s intention is to have all churches and missions under the JEEP umbrella be fully supporting their own pastoral and Levitical ministries. Therefore, the new policy requires local, graduated support to be provided to the local ministry’s own pastor before any outreach project will be funded through the JEEP process. Supported ministries have agreed to submit to this policy. There is full agreement with the goal of this policy, and we consider it to be an important step toward reaching our objective.
As previously reported to the CREC, the Executive Committee found it necessary to suspend one JEEP member from participation in 2019; this will continue so in 2020. We continue to hope this ministry can be returned to JEEP’s fold in the future. Please continue to pray about this matter.
JEEP Fiscal Year 2019 donations (Oct-Sept) were down 10% vs. 2018. Our 2020 Budget anticipates a rebound in giving, enabling us to continue supporting several ministries as well as some important projects. We are very encouraged with both the breadth and depth of support for our European ministries that is coming from all quarters of the CREC. Financial assistance is being provided by churches and individuals in all six CREC presbyteries. We thank God for this overwhelming support.
Rev. Bogumil Jarmulak (Poznan, Poland)
Pastor Jarmulak continues to serve as pastor at Evangelical Reformed Church. The congregation is healthy and active in evangelism, discipleship, and youth outreach. Acting as JEEP’s “man on the ground” in Eastern Europe, Bubu shepherds and encourages various JEEP-supported ministries throughout the region. This past year he traveled extensively in Europe, teaching at several conferences, and assisting in the establishment of a Provisional Presbytery within Anselm (see below). In August Bubu traveled to Ukraine, to teach and help at the Nazareth House youth camp there. Bubu also serves as a non-voting member of the JEEP EC.
Rev. Sebastian Smolarz (Wroclaw, Poland)
Pastor Smolarz continues to teach at the seminary in Wroclaw, and shares pastoral duties at Evangelical Reformed Church, Wroclaw, with his fellow elder, Rev. Marek Kmiec. Sebastian and his family are partially supported by JEEP, enabling him to serve in this dual capacity.
Rev. Attila Hajdu (Diosd, Hungary)
Rev. Hajdu labors as a CREC church planter in Budapest. This congregation remains small and Attila is bi-vocational, serving as an administrator for an English language mission school in Diosd. The church recently moved to Erd, south of Diosd, providing Attila a more accessible office. This fall they began hosting English classes in Erd as a means of outreach. Attila also continues to do translation work, making Christian books available in Magyar, the Hungarian language.
Rev. Yavor Rusinov (Burgas, Bulgaria)
Pastor Rusinov is the bi-vocational shepherd of Presbyterian Reformed Church, a small congregation on the Black Sea coast. PRC has been a CREC member church since 2010 and has experienced several ups and downs since that time. Pastor Rusinov has remained faithful through difficult circumstances and God is rewarding his diligence. This past year, the church began publishing sermons on the web, enabling Bulgarians remotely to hear Pastor Rusinov’s teaching. Pastor Yavor occasionally speaks at other churches and Christian conferences, and self-published his own book on child-rearing recently. PRC acted as host to the 2019 Meeting of Anselm Presbytery this past October.
Rev. San Sanych Orlov-Koshchavka (Rivne, Ukraine)
Rivne Biblical Church was the first CREC church in Ukraine (2010), but has since changed its name to Reformed Church of Christ the Savior. Rev. San Sanych is the founding pastor of this congregation, and continues to serve as the Senior Pastor. He also serves as pro tem elder at the mission church in Ivano-Frankivsk, providing counsel and direction for that ministry. Moreover, he is acting as mentor to San Sanych, Jr. as he prepares for future ministry as a seminary student and as Associate Pastor at Reformed Church of Christ the Savior.
San Sanych is in a period of personal transition. He recently sold his apartment, purchased some land and hopes to build a duplex home that will accommodate him and his wife, along with San Sanych, Jr. and his family. Please make this a matter of prayer, as well as for his continued improvement in health.
Rev. Serhii Terentiev (Rivne, Ukraine)
Pastor Terentiev serves God’s Covenant Reformed Evangelical Church, which joined the CREC in 2017. This congregation hosts a Christian school “Svitlo” (meaning “Light”), that is now a cooperative effort between the two CREC churches in Rivne. Serhii played a big role in starting the school, teaches there and serves as an administrative official. This is breaking new ground for the CREC in Eastern Europe, and JEEP is providing financial support for the work. This coming January, Pastor Stuart Bryan’s daughter Julia will be traveling to Rivne to begin working at Svitlo. Please pray for Serhii and for this ministry.
Rev. Sasha Pavlyuk (Dunaivtsi, Ukraine)
Rev. Pavlyuk is pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Church in Dunaivtsi. He is also a key figure in the ecumenical outreach in Ukraine. He has very good connections with ministries from other Christian traditions throughout the country and is a major player in the CREC outreach to government officials and the military chaplain program in Ukraine. Sasha visits the eastern Ukraine war zone area regularly, and works with other local pastors there in outreach ministry. God has richly blessed the reputation of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches through Sasha’s faithful ministry in his part of the world.
Rev. Ihor Lishchinskyi (Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine)
Until recently, Pastor Lishchinskii was a bi-vocational pastor of the small mission in I-F. However, he resigned his job as an electrician to devote full time to his pastorate and the orphanage he helped start nearby. The orphanage is supported by JEEP with matching funds from a local Ukrainian donor. This ministry, called Nazareth House, provides a vital gospel outreach and mercy ministry in the community. This past summer, Ihor was able to purchase a badly-needed van for the ministry, thanks in part to JEEP support. Notably, in July 2019, Lauren Shearer from Reformation Covenant, OR began working full-time at Nazareth House, helping the Lishchinskyi’s with oversight, teaching, mentoring, and chores.
Rev. Sergey Udaliov (Mogilev, Belarus)
Evangelical Reformed Church of Mogilev was admitted as a member of the CREC in 2015, and we welcomed Rev. Udaliov into our midst. He ministers under very difficult circumstances in an extremely poor country, beset with political and social problems. The congregation comprises a small but vital group of Christians. In spite of their own difficulties, they are active in outreach and ministry to other small bodies of believers in various parts of the country. They need (and deserve) our prayers and financial support, provided through JEEP.
Anselm Provisional “Eurasia” Presbytery Update
At its 2018 Stated Meeting, Anselm Presbytery, through an amendment to the Presbytery Book of Procedures, created a Provisional Presbytery in Europe & Asia, made up of Anselm Presbytery churches. The purpose of this exercise is to create conditions that will help our European churches, together with the church in Japan, prepare to become a separate presbytery some time in the near future. An actual new presbytery can only be created by Council, so the powers of the Provisional Presbytery are limited, with oversight still remaining with Anselm. Anselm PM, David Hatcher, appointed one pastor from Anselm to act as an adviser to the Provisional group. The Provisional Presbytery met in Ukraine in January, 2019, to discuss plans and create an internal organization. Pastor Jarmulak was elected Presiding Minister, and Ben Zedek Smith (Mitaka Evangelical Church, Tokyo) was elected Presiding Minister Pro Tempore. This group plans to meet again in May, 2020, prior to the General CREC Council Meeting next November.
While this is not a creation of JEEP nor in any way under our jurisdiction, most of the churches and missions involved are JEEP-supported ministries. We rejoice in this circumstance because we believe it will promote maturity and unity among the churches in the region that JEEP serves. We covet your prayers for this emerging development.
Finally, along with all the men and ministries we support, we would ask you to also please pray for the JEEP EC this coming year, as we consider how the Lord would have us best use the available resources He has given us, both of time and money, so that His Word would go forth, His name might be magnified, and His kingdom would continue to expand both in Eastern Europe, and throughout the whole world (Dan. 2:34-35).
Thank you for your continued support of God’s work through JEEP in the former Soviet Bloc countries of Europe.
For the Executive Committee,
John Unger, Chairman
Joint Eastern European Project