Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference

By Aleksander V. Sinitsin

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Aleksander V. Sinitsin, M.A. in religion (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan), was baptised during John Carter’s evangelistic program in 1993. Sinitsin began his pastoral ministry in Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference in 1995. He served as a Sabbath School/Personal Ministries director of Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference from 2010 to 2014. Sinitsin is the president and Communication director of Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference (September 24, 2014-). Sinitsin participated in over 100 programs created by 3ABN

Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference is part of the Euro-Asia Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference was organized in 1994 and covers the Republics of Chuvashia, Mary-El, Mordovia, and Tatarstan, and the Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod Regions. Its headquarters are at Nizhniy Novgorod, Russian Federation.

Statistics (June 30, 2019): Churches, 53; membership, 3,959; population, 11,407,175.1

Administration: Alexander V. Sinitsin, president; Sergey P. Titovsky, secretary; Eugeny A. Anisimov, treasurer.

Origin of Adventist Work in the Territory of Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference

The collapse of the USSR set the stage for the spiritual quest of the citizens of the former Soviet Union. In early 1990s the Adventist church in Russia grew rapidly. Thousands of new believers joined the Church, mostly due to public evangelism. New churches were planted in different cities.

In 1992 a large-scale evangelistic program, attended by 11,000 people, was held in the Sports Palace of Nizhny Novgorod with the participation of Australian evangelist John Carter.2 As a result of this one-month program, some 2,500 people received baptism.3 The evangelistic program “Amazing Discoveries” was held in Nizhny Novgorod in 1993, 1994, and 1996. Twelve churches were planted in Nizhny Novgorod alone.4 Dozens of churches were planted in different towns of the Nizhny Novgorod region and other administrative areas. Due to such unprecedented growth (39 percent from 1992 to 1993)5, it became necessary to reorganize the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Russia.

Official Organization of the Conference

In 1994 the delegates to the session of the Volga-Ural Conference, held in Nizhny Novgorod, voted to divide the conference into three entities: Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference (headquartered in Nizhny Novgorod), Volga Conference (headquartered in Volgograd), and Ural Conference (headquartered in Yekaterinburg).6 Pastor Vasiliy D. Stolyar was elected the president of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference (VVC)7. However, that same year, after Stolyar was elected president of the West Russian Union Conference,8 Pastor Aleksander I. Antonyuk became conference president.9

The administration of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference prepared documents necessary for the official registration, and the conference was registered, as a legal entity, with the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation on May 21, 1996.10

From 1994 to 2000 the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference saw a significant growth of membership and establishment of new congregations. In those years, numerous evangelistic programs were held, with many baptized. The converts quickly joined the church, and new prayer houses opened their doors. However, the quality of growth and comprehensive development that usually takes more time was lost. It was against this background that a decline in church growth has been observed since 2000. The reduction in church membership was caused not only by purely denominational problems but also by secularization, materialism, traditionalism, and the proliferation of information. Fewer and fewer people were coming to evangelistic meetings, and, at the same time, authorities frequently didn’t give permission to renting premises for conducting evangelistic programs and worship services. There was a chill in the relationship between officials and Protestant churches. A noticeable strengthening of the position of the Russian Orthodox Church was observed. After 2014, the decline in membership has slackened, and church members are now better informed of the church ministry and activities under new conditions. But it will take time for the qualitative changes to help the church become an integral part of contemporary society and serve people, by overcoming difficulties caused by changes in the Russian Federation’s laws.

As of July 30, 2017, the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference had 55 local churches and 43 companies with 4,185 members, and employed 20 ordained and 9 licensed pastors.

Despite the difficulties, the church continues to fulfill its mission in the territory of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference.

Christian Cultural Center

After the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference was organized, its headquarters was located in the building owned by the Tsentralnaya church of Nizhny Novgorod.11 In 1996 the conference decided to transfer its headquarters to the Christian Cultural Center. The Christian Cultural Center is a large building owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which now houses the headquarters of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference, the 3ABN office, the Istok Christian secondary school, and the local church.

Every year the Christian Cultural Center hosts charitable concerts collecting donations for sick children, Christian music concerts, evangelistic meetings, pastors’ conferences and events, educational trainings and seminars, leadership schools, and various advisories.

Christian TV

Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) is an independent Adventist television and radio broadcaster that produces programs aimed at developing the spiritual and physical culture of individuals, families, and the community. 3ABN Russia started its work in Nizhny Novgorod in 1993 with the program Face-to-Face, which aired on secular TV.12 Program participants spoke about biblical principles and family values, and emphasized the changes God makes in people’s lives. 3ABN Russia has produced over 10,000 programs, including children’s and youth programs; programs with the participation of psychologists, scientists, theologians, and experts in healthy lifestyles; and historical, musical and poetic programs. 3ABN Russia broadcasts through more than 180 regional TV channels and 12 radio stations in Russia and other neighboring countries, and offers a New Life Bible corresponding course.13 From 2013 to 2017, 3ABN Russia broadcasted via the Yamal-401 satellite. Since 2017, it has moved to Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 satellites, covering the entire territory of Russia. 3ABN Russia is a member of the Russian Cable TV Association.14

Publishing Ministries

The first issue of the Sokrytoe Sokrovische (“The Hidden Treasure”) newspaper was printed on May 25, 2000, in the city of Yoshkar-Ola (Republic of Mary-El) with an edition of 1,000 copies.15 This newspaper had only four pages and contained three articles. In 2018, the total circulation of the Sokrytoe Sokrovische newspaper came close to 1,700,000 copies.16 The newspaper is printed in 25 cities of the Russian Federation and also read abroad. The editorial office sends the electronic paste-up of this newspaper to the United States, where it is printed in Fresno, California, and Bellevue, Washington, and distributed among Russian-speaking people.17

The Vashi Klyuchi k Zdorovyu (“Your Keys to Health”) magazine about healthy lifestyles, the 7D-format Christian youth journal, and the Chudesnye Stranichki (“Wonderful Pages”) children's magazine are published.18

Christian Schools

In 2007 the Istok Christian secondary school was opened in the building of the Christian Cultural Center.19 In 2014, this school obtained an educational license20, and in December 2018 received state accreditation for elementary education programs.21 The school had 69 students in the 2018-2019 academic year.

In 2017 another Christian school was opened in the city Yoshkar-Ola (Republic of Mary-El). In the 2018-2019 academic year it had 26 students.

Outlook for the Future

The conference administration, in collaboration with pastors, has developed a vision and strategy for future development.22 They have placed emphasis on the following four areas:

  • Qualitative growth of local congregations and planting of new churches. Healthy relations between church members, inspirational worship services, ministry of members with spiritual gifts, personal evangelism, and spiritual growth will make local churches strong and growing.

  • Spiritual and professional growth of pastors and training of new ministers. Creating an atmosphere of cooperation and spiritual growth, the continuous education of pastors and the training of new ministers will provide congregations with competent ministers who can lead people to God and prepare them for the return of Christ.

  • Construction and repair of church buildings. Cozy, beautiful, modern, and functional prayer houses will make them a place where an individual can have communion with God, find a spiritual family, and grow in the knowledge of God.

  • Retaining of children, teenagers, and youth in the Church. The work with children, teenagers, and youth requires wisdom, patience, and love. This will help young people love God and His Word, live a Christian life, and actively serve the Church and benefit the community.

List of Presidents

Presidents: V. D. Stolyar, 1994; A. I. Antonyuk, 1994-1999; V. A. Nikityuk, 1999-2003; A. P. Berbeka, 2003-2005; A. N. Lvov, 2005-2007; I. V. Manilich, 2007-2011; A. N. Lvov, 2010-2013; E. S. Sedov, 2013-2014; A. V. Sinitsyn, 2014-.

Sources

Istok Christian Secondary School. https://www.christ-schoolnn.com/.

Minutes of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference Constituency Meetings, 1994-2019. Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference archives, NizhniyNovgorod, Russia.

Minutes of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference Executive Committee, 1994-2019. Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference archives, NizhniyNovgorod, Russia.

(Russian) Three Angels Broadcasting Network. https://www.3angels.ru/.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Sokrytoe Sokrovische, Christian newspaper. https://sokrsokr.net/.

Yunak, D.O. Istoriya Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Rossii (1886-2000). Vol. 2. Zaokskiy: Istochnik Zhizni, 2002.

Zaitsev, E. V. Istoriya Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Rossii. Zaokskiy: Istochnik Zhizni, 2008.

Notes

  1. “Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (2020), https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=10078&highlight=Volgo-Vyatskaya|Conference.

  2. D. O. Yunak, Istoriya Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Rossii (1886-2000) (Zaokskiy: Istochnik Zhizni, 2002), 2: 65.

  3. E. V. Zaitsev, Istoriya Tserkvi Adventistov Sed’mogo Dnia v Rossii (Zaokskiy: Istochnik Zhizni, 2008), 527.

  4. Yunak, 2: 198.

  5. Zaitsev, 529.

  6. Yunak, 2: 181, 198, 206, 240.

  7. Minutes of the 1st Constituency Meeting of the Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference, February 7, 1994. VVC Archives.

  8. Yunak, 2: 179.

  9. Minutes of the VVC Executive Committee, September 19, 1994. VVC Archives.

  10. Certificate of the Registration of the Constitution of the Religious Association, No. 321, May 21, 1996. Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.

  11. “Volga Uralian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1994), 101.

  12. Zaitsev, 523.

  13. Ibid., 524.

  14. Three Angels [“Our Mission,”], accessed September 2, 2019, https://www.3angela.tv/o-kompanii/.

  15. [“History and Objectives of the Newspaper,”] accessed September 2, 2019, https://sokrsokr.net/o-nas/istoriya-i-tseli-sozdaniya-gazetyi/.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Ibid.

  18. Ibid.

  19. https://www.christ-schoolnn.com/glavnaya-stranica, accessed September 2, 2019.

  20. Ibid.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Minutes of the VVC Executive Committee, December 1, 2015. VVC Archives.

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Sinitsin, Aleksander V. "Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed August 04, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=FD74.

Sinitsin, Aleksander V. "Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access August 04, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=FD74.

Sinitsin, Aleksander V. (2021, April 28). Volgo-Vyatskaya Conference. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved August 04, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=FD74.