Home ANS Reports Church of God Missions in Europe Affected by Covid-19

Church of God Missions in Europe Affected by Covid-19

by Michael Ireland

KNIEBIS, Germany — (ANS). While the United States is being hit hard by the Coronavirus, many countries in Europe are facing severe restrictions and the work of many Christian ministries is being hindered.

Tom Rosson, a missionary with Church of God World Missions, told Assist News that every country in Europe has some type of travel restrictions in place requiring 14-days of quarantine once arriving (and returning).

The Rossons, missionaries with Church of God World Missions, are now based on the campus of the European Theological Seminary.

In August, Rosson and his wife Claudia moved from Rudersberg to Kniebis, Germany. In Rudersberg, they lived in the former Bible School building. In Kniebis, they now live in the facilities of the European Theological Seminary (ETS).

The author of this story, Michael Ireland, is a self-supported media missionary with ANS. Click here to support him as a missionary journalist. 

“All public events of any size have been cancelled. As a result, all of the national conferences (national assemblies) have been cancelled or postponed. And (my) itinerary to these countries has been negated,” Rosson said in an e-mail  update to ministry supporters.

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Here’s a quick overview of what’s happening in Rosson’s spheres of influence.

European Theological Seminary (Kniebis). “During the spring semester, we had to close the classrooms and move all courses online to Zoom. During the fall semester, we have been able to resume classroom instruction that is also broadcast via Zoom to those who cannot be on campus (due to quarantine or travel). Fortunately, we have had no cases of COVID-19 among the students and staff. However, our ability to recruit new students has been greatly diminished – no youth conferences, no sending teams to local churches, etc. Thus our enrollment for the fall semester was quite low. Please pray for new students to join us in the spring semester,” Rosson said.

Germany is currently on a mini lock-down.  Rosson said: “All social gatherings are limited to 10 people – this includes small groups and youth fellowships. Sunday services can be held, but with seating limitations. Most churches are running about 1/3 of their previous attendance. Just as in the States, YouTube live has become an essential tool of church ministry. The national assembly, where ETS has always maintained a strong presence, was cancelled and reduced to an online business session.”

Eurasian Theological Seminary (Moscow). In Russia, Rosson said the regulations vary greatly from region to region. “In Moscow, no groups larger than 50 people can gather. Subsequently, all intensive courses on campus have been postponed. However, ETSM has a very well developed online program and some of the extensions can still meet regularly.”

Russia. Rosson stated that “Several of our pastors and members have been infected with the corona virus, including our national overseer, Pavel Abashin. Although he is doing better personally, we have suffered the loss of one pastor in southwestern Russia, Pastor Sergei Schneider from the Belogorod COG.”

Ukraine. Severe restrictions are still in place throughout the Ukraine. “None the less,” Rosson said, “the Ukrainian COG has continued to train church planters through Zoom.”

Latvia.  Latvia has again sealed its borders to all travelers (including Latvians). “Religious services are allowed, but the number of people allowed is limited to 50. Latvia has a very active Christian radio station. Some churches (e.g., Riga) have already been live streaming.”

Bulgaria. According to Rosson, “The gypsy communities have been hit particularly hard by pandemic. Several of our leaders have been infected by the virus, and there have been deaths among pastors from other Pentecostal movements. Our own national representative, Stefko Zlatarov has just recovered from his bout with COVID-19.”

The author of this story, Michael Ireland, is a self-supported media missionary with ANS. Click here to support him as a missionary journalist. 

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