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Seminary education in Ukraine continues

August 9, 2017 No Comment

Nikolai Pohilij, Rev. Dr. Edward Kettner, Yurij Timerkan, Oksana Kovalenko (translator), Dimitrij Volohov, Dimitrij Kravchenko.

by Edward G. Kettner

In late April and early May I had the privilege of returning to Ukraine to teach once again at the Lutheran
Seminary in Odessa. This was my sixth trip to Ukraine in the last twenty years and my fifth time teaching. I have taught at least one course to each of the four groups of students that have gone through the seminary.

I flew in to Odessa on April 22, and was met at the airport by the church’s bishop, Aleksandr Yurchenko (who was a student in the first group that went through the seminary) and by current student Yurij Timerkan (whose mother Larissa serves as the seminary cook), and taken to the seminary in the village of Usatovo. The next day I attended church at the congregation in Odessa, with Bishop Yurchenko preaching.

I began teaching on Monday, April 24. The class has four students with one additional man who was auditing the course. The topic of the course was Christology, dealing with the Person and Work of Christ, along with the nature of Saving Grace and Justification by Faith, thus covering the heart and core of our theology—the articles of faith upon which the Church stands and falls. Most days, class sessions ran six hours, three in the morning and three in the afternoon, with only a morning session on Fridays. Classes were taught in English with Russian translation concurrent.

On April 30 I had the privilege of preaching to the Odessa congregation, and then was taken, along with our translator, on a walking tour of the city of Odessa by one of the students who is a native of the city and very proud of it. The course ended with a final exam and a barbecue on May 11. I flew back home May 12. The teaching, learning, and translation work is at times difficult, but the end result, God willing, will be four new pastors for the church who are capable of faithfully preaching the Good News of Christ to the church in Ukraine and to people who do not yet know the Gospel.

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Rev. Dr. Edward G. Kettner is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at Concordia Lutheran Seminary (Edmonton).