February 2019 Newsletter

by | Feb 1, 2019 | News

2018 concluded as the best year financially for JEEP. 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 are thankful to God for this overwhelming support.

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 sponsoring churches in North America. EC members are Pastor Jack Phelps (Chairman) and Deacon Derrick Honrud (Treasurer), Covenant Bible Church, AK; Pastor Stuart Bryan, Trinity Church, Coeur d’Alene, ID; Elder John Unger, Reformation Covenant Church, OR; 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.

As previously reported to the CREC, the Executive Committee found it necessary to suspend one JEEP member from participation in 2019. We continue to hope this ministry can be returned to JEEP’s fold in the future. Please continue to pray about this matter. 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.

2018 concluded as the best year financially for JEEP. 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 are thankful to God for this overwhelming support.

Individual Ministries

Rev. Bogumil Jarmulak (Poznan, Poland)

Pastor Jarmulak continues to serve as pastor at Evangelical Reformed Church. The congregation is growing and healthy. Acting as JEEP’s “man on the ground,” Bubu shepherds and encourages various JEEP-supported ministries throughout the region. He recently traveled to Rivne, Ukraine, to teach at a conference of pastors and others, under the auspices of JEEP. The group included men from Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Hungary. 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. The congregation remains small and Attila is bi-vocational, serving as an administrator for an English language mission school in Diosd. He 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, but growing 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. PRC will act as host to the 2019 Stated Meeting of Anselm Presbytery this coming autumn.

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.

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. 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 Lishchinskii (Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine)

Until recently, Pastor Lishchinskii was a bi-vocational pastor of the small mission in I-F. However, he has 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.

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 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. Prayer would be greatly appreciated for this exciting ministry. JEEP is providing financial support for
the work.

Rev. Sergey Udaliov (Mogilev, Belarus)

Evangelical Reformed Church of Mogilev was admitted as a member of the CREC in 2015, welcoming 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.

A matter indirectly related to JEEP

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 was elected Presiding Minister Pro Tempore.

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.

Thank you for your continued support of God’s work through JEEP in the former Soviet Bloc countries of Europe.

On behalf of the Executive Committee,
Rev. Jack Phelps, Chairman
Joint Eastern European Project