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Commentary: Young people's ministries grow in Russia

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The Rev. Micki McCorkle
Sept. 18, 2006


A UMNS Commentary
By the Rev. Micki McCorkle*


This summer, I had the privilege of visiting Russia, where I witnessed the passion and excitement young people there have for God and what God can do in everyone's life.

In the short, 15-year history of United Methodism in Russia, young people are already strong leaders. As musicians and small-group facilitators, pastors and teachers, prayer partners and event coordinators, young people are creating the future of the United Methodist Church in Russia today.

From youth ministry training events in St. Petersburg to young adult retreats in Moscow and day camps in Ulyonsk, young people's ministries in the United Methodist Church are making a difference in the lives of people in Russia.

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A UMNS photo by Micki McCorkle

A rock band plays at Samara United Methodist Church.
The young people in many congregations play a vital role in the overall ministry of the church. In one community, the youth group (youth and young adults) raises money for a local children's hospital, helping the children obtain games that develop motor skills.

In another community, the young people have a rock band that plays at worship services and offers messages of hope and life to many. This worship service draws new young people weekly.

Elsewhere, young people help the elderly wash windows, do shopping and prepare meals. And still other young people prepare and lead Bible camps for children, offering games, food, skits, Bible readings and plenty of music.

Ministries with alcoholics and prisoners are also places where United Methodist young people can be found in Russia.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by Micki McCorkle

Youth hold a one-day Bible camp at Ulyonsk United Methodist Church.
Throughout the United Methodist Church in Russia, small groups are forming. Some are Bible studies; others are prayer groups. All of these groups provide ways for young people to learn more about God's work in their lives and in the world. It is not unusual, then, for these small groups to find ways to serve in their communities as well.

There is a healthy vision among young people in the United Methodist Church in Russia.

They are committed to deepening their personal faith and sharing with others, through outreach, what God has personally done for them. Today's young people are actively building a strong United Methodist Church in Russia for tomorrow.

*McCorkle is interim director of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship's Division on Ministries with Young People.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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