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Russian magazine promotes discussion

   

December 10, 2002
By Daniel Rempel

Winnipeg, Man.—Andrei Peters, editor of Way of Salvation, reports that the Russian publication has attracted 2,000 subscribers since its 1997 inception, and that each subscription is shared by as many as 40 people.

Founded with the assistance of the then Commission on Overseas Mission, the magazine strives “to give brothers and sisters the opportunity to think independently about problems and issues in Christian life,” said Peters. “We believe that pluralism within the framework of the Holy Scriptures plays an important role in the development of the church.”

Taking a cue from Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “Test everything, and hold fast to what is good,” Peters says “we publish various opposing opinions, often not the traditional ones, so that the reader can analyze the presented arguments and reach a definite conclusion.”

“The magazine has undergirded us very much in hard times,” writes a resident of Kalinin in Uzbekistan. Another, Nadescka A. from the city of Aktubinsk wrote: “Through your magazine I have found answers to questions which did not let me rest. Our entire family extends our gratitude for the possibility of receiving your magazine free of charge.”

Free subscriptions have been offered to those unable to pay; however, rising production costs tied to currency devaluation have forced the editors to cut off some of these subscriptions. Peters said he and the secretary, the magazine’s only full-time staff have to work “night and day” to keep it going. Some work is also done by a freelance designer.

Peters has a vision for hiring a business director, a salesman, a proofreader, a designer and two full-time journalists, and hopes to develop a fund-raising plan to realize this vision. The 36-page magazine is sent every two months to readers in Russia, Ukraine and other former states of the Soviet Union.

Henry Poettker, former president of Canadian Mennonite Bible College and of Mennonite Biblical Seminary, contributes about 4 articles annually on theological, biblical and ethical issues suggested by the editor. “His columns are appreciated for his sensible and educated perspective,” said Peter Rempel, MC Canada Witness Director for Europe & the former Soviet Union.

Mennonite Church Canada Witness funds the magazine for $7500 annually, a substantial part of the funds needed to operate the magazine at its present level of circulation and staffing.