Bishop Leanid Varanenka: “Unity of Corpus Christi is my Priority”
Leanid Varanenka has recently been elected the Bishop of Full Gospell Fellowship of Belarus, replacing Vyacheslau Hancharenka who has served two four-year terms on this post. KRYNITSA.INFO asked with freshly elected leader of an active and large religious community and to introduce him to the audience.
– Since when were you a Church of “New Generation” pastor?
– Since 1991, being 24 years old, I began visiting Baranovichi 2-3 times a month. It was a turning point in my life, because here I felt a God’s command to serve on a Belarusian soil. As a result of this missionary activity, on January, 17th 1992 the church “New Generation” was found in Baranovichi.
– In which projects does your church participate? And are amongst them those wich you coordinate personally within the FGF framework?
– Our church participates in the most part of Fellowship projects: in conferences, in prayers. In recent years several pastors’ conferences took place which is important to our ministry and I hope this tradition will last.
– This year you became the Bishop of the Fellowship. What are Bishop’s responsibilities?
– As distinct from another confessions, the Fellow’s Bishop’s functions are mostly representative due to the unique structure of our Fellowship which consists four large congregations lead by the Bishop Rada (Council) and independent churches that joined us. On the current stage I think this strucure optimal.
– What are your plans for the nearest future on your new post?
– I will dedicated the year 2015 to the unity of our Fellowship. I am going to spend a lot of time in travel, talking with Fellowship pastors. I hope I will be able to visit all churches in a year, creating strong ties with the pastors.
– How many churchers enter the Fellowship? In what way would you like to change the cooperation pattern between the churches?
– Today we have 40 churches and many other churches have a friendly disposition to us and cooperate in our congregations and projects. Being a Bishop, I try incourage a more close cooperation between local churches. Special workgroups (the missionary, the social, the relation ones) are created that will unite the church initiatives in these fields. And we already have the results, e.g. on February, 7th a Social Ministry Cinference will be held (details are given on the Fellowship site).
– How do you plan to spread Gospel among the youth?
– As a pastor, I pay great attention to the youth and trust them to carry out many project, such as youth liturgies, cafe meetings, art programs, evangelisations, youth camps. I hope that on my new post I will be able to implement such projects on a larger scale.
– Are going to cooperate with authorities more actively? Can we as a church to influence the authourities decisions?
– There is no doubt that we must cooperate with authorities. It is said in the Holy Bible: “Without consent the two would not get anywhere…”. A great battle for human souls is taking place nowadays. The Christian values are being overtly offended in modern society. The institute of family is being ruined, vice and perverce are advertised, people are degrading through alcohol and drugs. Today we must join our efforts to protect Christian values. I think this is the most important thing. I think that the future of Belarus is with Christ! Besides, the church can paricipate in such socila projects as helping orphans,physically challenged people etc. As an example of the church influence on the authorities we can give the Healthcare legislation that limits the abortion and Advertisment legislation that prohibits alcohol advertisement.
– Gospel.by site: to be or not to be?
– To be, of course. Now we are working on the technical component and a new team will work on the content. I think that our site must be an important instrument that will not only highlght the Fellowship’s life but will spread the Gospel all over our country.
– What role do you give to the interconfessional cooperation?
– I thank we have a lot in common. In main aspects we are united! I have met the leaders of another Belarusian Protestant confessions and I have seen on theri part a wiilingness to continue cooperation in those fields where we are agreed. I t encouraged me greatly, because one of my great priorities is the unity of Corpus Christi.
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