Belarus is a landlocked country of 10 million people located between Poland and Russia. It is governed by the most authoritarian regime in Europe and is the least reformed of the 10 nation states that emerged from the European part of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR). The world’s worst nuclear accident in 1986 at nearby Chernobyl, Ukraine, continues to plague the people — 23 percent of Belarus and thousands of people were contaminated by radiation from the accident. Yet in this challenging environment churches from Orthodox, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Reformed and other traditions are renewing and rebuilding themselves.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) supports Christian witness and service in Belarus through a mission partnership with several partner churches and organizations.
There are many mission opportunities “to come alongside” our brothers and sisters in Belarus as they seek to follow Christ in a place faced with severe political, economic and environmental challenges:
- Support for reconstructing houses of worship
- “Twinning” or partnering with a Belarusian congregation
- Shelter and work for victims of HIV/AIDS
- Support for BRT projects for children, women, prisoners and the handicapped
- Assistance to families and children affected by the Chernobyl disaster
- Short-term theological education at a Christian university
- Support for orphanages
- Enabling the work of the Mission in Unity Project
Partner churches and organizations
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) enjoys a mission partnership with the Belarusian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) and the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptist of Belarus. Of particular note, the PC(USA) also partners with the Belarusian Round Table for Interchurch Aid (BRT). The BRT is an ecumenical organization established at the initiative of the churches in Belarus and the World Council of Churches–Eastern European Office. The central focus of the mission outreach of the BRT is social ministry. Projects include support for the handicapped, HIV/AIDS education and responses, care for the most needy, prison ministry and women’s programs.
The PC(USA) also is actively involved in the Belarusian ministry of Mission in Unity (MIU), a joint project of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the John Knox International Reformation Centre. The focus of the MIU project in Belarus is to encourage the development of Reformed congregations, to reinforce ecumenical connections and to build healthy connections with church partners abroad.
Learn more about Belarus
Visit the BBC country profile.
See the 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 193