Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2017 Report)

May 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

bulgarian-church

CURRENTLY ACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)
Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2017 Report)
Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)

  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches Canada (2017 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

Atlanta (active since 1996)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

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Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)

May 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

bulgarian-church

Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago
2254 North Narragansett Ave, Chicago
GraceInternational.TV
Active since 1995

New Life Bulgarian Evangelical Church
1480 Oakton St – Des Plaines, IL 60018
http://www.bgnewlife.com
Active since 1997

Word of Faith and Life
916 E Central Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
http://www.bulgarianfamily.org/
Active since 1998

Bulgarian Baptist Church
6334 W Diversey Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639
http://novonachalo.org
Active since 2005

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Annual Conferences of Bulgarian Churches in America

May 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Media, News

bulgarian-churchIn the summer of 2002 the pastors of the Bulgarian churches in North America came together for their first meeting in Dallas. As a result, an organization called the Alliance of the Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America was established as a first step toward networking between the churches. The church within the Alliance has over Memorial Day weekend every year since then as follows:

2002 – Dallas
2003 – Chicago
2004 – Minneapolis
2005 – Los Angeles
2006 – Dallas
2007 – Chicago
2008 – Minneapolis
2009 – Los Angeles
2010 – Houston
2011 – Las Vegas
2012 – Chicago
2013 – Dallas
2014 – Minneapolis
2015 – Las Vegas
2016 – Houston
2017 – Chicago

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The Bulgarian Evangelical Believer and Communistic Consequences

March 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The collapse of Bulgaria’s previous social order, communism, left the country with a moral and ideological void that was quickly filled with crime and corruption. A culture originally shaped by communism currently is influenced by capitalism and democracy. Post communist mentality with definite Balkan characteristics rules the country as a whole. This mentality holds captive nearly every progressive thought and idea. In the post communist context, the atheistic mind is a given and even when an individual experiences a genuine need for spirituality, in most cases he or she has no religious root to which to return other than Orthodoxy. This lack of alternative or spiritual choice produces a pessimistic morale.

From an environment of uncertainty and hopelessness, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer turns to the continuity of faith in the Almighty Redeemer. Pentecostalism as practical Christianity gives a sense of internal motivation to the discouraged. In a society that is limited in conduciveness for progression of thought or self actualization, one finds refuge in the promises of Christianity. It becomes a certainty which can be relied upon. Historically, having undergone severe persecution, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer is one who possesses great devotion to his or her belief. Having to defend the faith fosters a deep sense of appreciation and in an impoverished country, faith becomes all some have. Christ becomes the only one to whom to turn for provision. In the midst of this complete dependence is where miracles occur. Furthermore, it is in the midst of miracles where the skepticism which is prominent in post communist Bulgaria is broken. When those who believe are healed from cancer and even raised from the dead, there is no room for disbelief or low self-esteem. Surrounded with insecurity and uncertainty, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer finds great hope and comfort in the fact that God holds the future in His hands. Christianity is a reality that is certain.

Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”
A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of www.cupandcross.com

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Pastor-Agents of the Secret Communist Police in Bulgaria Revealed

February 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

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Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Pastors who served as agents of the secret police during the Communist Regime in Bulgaria are being revealed this week through special legal provision of the Bulgarian Constitution, which allows secret government dossiers and archives to be made public. The law excuses ministers who are retired, immigrated or deceased as it pays special attention to people who continue to serve on denominational boards, heads of religious organizations or church pastors.

The released records have revealed a significant count of Bulgarian evangelical pastors, who have served directly under the Communist government as secret agents and are currently serving in lead positions in their respective churches and denominations. At least 17 agents have infiltrated the Pentecostal churches in Bulgaria (including the Assemblies of God, Church of God and other charismatic denominations). The count is overwhelming in comparison with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church representing some 90% of Bulgaria’s general population with only 11 regional bishops with secret police dossiers.

The newly released documents reveal that these pastor-agents served the Regime through willfully betraying and reporting fellow ministers and their respective ministries, regularly submitting the names of new believers joining their congregations and the activities of their churches as a whole. Special interest in their reports seems to have been given to “foreign religious emissaries” – missionaries from sister-denominations in other countries who visited Bulgarian evangelicals with the purpose of bringing moral and financial support, smuggling Bibles or just encouraging the churches during their time of trials and tribulations under the Regime.

Even more disturbing is the lack of definite and unified response on behalf of the current denominational leaders and the repulsiveness of the general public on the issue as a whole. While the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance appealed for prayerful but fair dealing with the said misconducts, the Bulgarian Assemblies of God has chosen to deal with the issue internally behind closed doors and the Church of God in Bulgaria has postponed discussion to its general meeting in March or perhaps May. Several outspoken leaders from the Congregational and Apostolic churches have been unsuccessful in bringing about a public debate involving all Bulgarian Protestants, while journalistic investigations in the Christian media have been openly attacked in attempt to be kept silent.

It is understood that many of the said pastor-agents were coerced to serve as such through pressure in their jobs, friends, families and in some cases even their children. Yet, the Bulgarian churches are now struggling to cope with the fact that leading ministers within their denominational structures have continually and purposefully reported on the life of the church, thus betraying fellow believers and ministers.

Mirichleri: Second Evangelical Church in Bulgaria

October 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, News

mirichleri

Bansko: First Evangelical Church in Bulgaria

October 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, News

bansko

HERALDS OF THE TRUTH: A History of the Evangelical Churches in Bulgaria

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, News

herladsFrom the author of “Imprisoned for Christ”, now the first comprehensive history of Evangelical Christianity in Bulgaria is available in English. With the arrival of the first Congregationalist missionaries in 1844, more Bulgarians heard the Gospel than ever before. Despite resistance from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Evangelicals increased both in number and in favor with royal officials after the overthrow of the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1888. The era of Communism brought new waves of persecution, but the Church in Bulgaria stood strong. This is her story.

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Bulgarian Evangelical Church Analysis 2010

February 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, News

1. The growing number of visitors of evangelical churches, caused by the socio-economical factors in 2010, will demand a time sensitive model for church conflict resolution and the restoration of church-wide unity. In this process, the evangelical preaching must adequately include the Bible teachings of forgiveness, agreement and unity.

2. In the context of the socio-economic crises and the inadequacy of traditional religion in 2010, more celebrities and politicians will show interest toward the evangelical churches and the elements of their services. It is a time for evangelical preaching to leave the four walls of the church and to juxtapose the Biblical standard for living as the social bases for building society.

3. The finalization of major church building projects in 2009-2010 will relieve a number of congregations from rent obligations, thus releasing more resources and funds despite the crises. The recipients of this blessing must use their buildings to relieve other evangelical churches from rent obligations in their respective regions, thus overcoming the feeling of power and priority and actualizing the vision of the Kingdom for brotherhood and unity. A church building could be used by 3-5 midsize congregations with a suitable program of services and a common Sunday service. The given blessing will either become a blessing for others or be taken way.

4. The search for responsibility from leadership as a whole is a process, which is constantly present within the evangelical movement with a special focus in the last 20 years. In regard to the said financial freedom in 2010, this search must be brought to an adequately working and properly contextualized model for leadership, which includes not only economical, but spiritual responsibility on the part of church leadership as well. It is impossible to define a life of holiness outside of the context of social relationships.

5. The opening of secret police dossiers belonging to leading religious leaders from the past and the present, purposes the destabilization of a unified and growing evangelical movement. Nevertheless, it is a process which must occur and a road that must be travelled by the Church in order to remove the unnecessary suspicions conceived by temporary external to the church factors. In this process, the guilty ones must humble themselves, while the hurt ones must forgive in order that the unity of the church is restored again.

6. Every persecution is a result of a broken balance in the relationship between church and state. Strong confrontation and persecution toward evangelical churches in 2010 is the natural result from the gradual increasing in restrictions of religious liberty and human rights. But in the struggle the Church does not weaken. On the contrary, the evangelical church knows how to heal in the processes of persecution and therefore they must be viewed as purification of the church for growth.

7. The increase of cases of religious persecution in 2010, in which the state religion aims at alternative faith communities in order to hide its own inadequacy in a given crises moment, may vary from a political position of the Church in society to creating a spiritually healthy new generation. These dynamics are results from the furious misbalance between the social position of the state church and its spiritual bankruptcy.

8. Within the lack of balance in the relationship between church and state, every change in the Religious Law in 2010 will result in a negative connotation toward evangelical churches. The society is unready to accept the protestant faith as a standard, although it applies it subconsciously in all social spheres – from culture to economy. There is no successful capitalist society without protestant values, and this fact must be realized by all church leaders.

9. The increasing return of immigrants back to Bulgaria in 2010, due to the prolonged economical crises in Europe, will create a flow of new thinking, ideas and dynamics in the Church, but it will not decrease the intensity of establishing new Bulgarian immigrant congregations in foreign lands.

10. After 20 years of democratic changes within the society and the church, in 2010 a new generation of leaders reaches adulthood. Teams of various church ministries enter a new level of professionalism. The church itself becomes socially aware rediscovering its own spiritual role and redefining its historical identity in a postmodern and post communist context. All this leads to the increase in the need for systematic studying and responsible practice of the principles of church leadership. In this context, the processes of returning to the first love, spirituality and unity are a must. The recognition of the need for such revitalization can in a moment change the status of the Church in history. The lack of recognition will doom the Church to a historical failure.

Bulgarian Evangelical Church Analysis 2009

January 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, News

1. Crises in the denominations were created by a vast spectrum of factors, from the lack of effective model for training a new generation of leaders to organized state restrictions against the evangelical churches.

2. The year 2009 was a time of confusion in the strategy of evangelical churches, accompanied with devaluation of the vision for evangelization, education and unity.

3. The hesitation within the leading denominations was properly detected by the receptive political and government organizations. Because of this, the attack against the evangelical denominations grew with well balanced and precisely targeted constant speed.

4. Among the reasons to put a halter on evangelical churches was to limit their vision for participation in the 2009 elections with (un)expected results.

5. The number of church visitors grew due to the political insecurity and economic crises. Yet at the same time, there was a decrease in visitors in the contexts of the new wave of immigration. These dynamics created a balance with the sense of plateau.

6. The stagnation within the evangelical movement was compensated with concerts and conferences, but unfortunately the elements of fasting, prayer and giving were rarely present.

7. Almost 15 years after the global introduction of the Internet through Windows 95, evangelical churches have begun to develop a sense for media. Media presence is increasing positively, which is justified with the growing interest in evangelical preaching and the social message which it carries. Unfortunately, in most cases the media presence becomes popularity without justification and an idea lacking strategic planning; thus, it currently does not produce adequate results.

8. The crises for leadership is a growing problem for the evangelical churches, which are currently lead by leaders without successors. The older generation of pastors is without a doubt influenced by the totalitarian model for leadership, while the ones who have been successful in separating themselves from it remain “self-taught leaders.” The newly founded denominations are unable to become the so-needed alternative. Processes of fatherhood and passing on of leadership are lacking, which births a growing interest toward the problems of church leadership.

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