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Intimidated by graffiti? Russian church says ‘Nyet’

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — “Your God is dead. Get out and go home!”
Gheorge Tartarchyk found those words (in Russian) painted with a stencil on the Rostov church’s building as he arrived to open the doors on a recent Sunday.
“Someone had spent a lot of time carefully writing the message and cutting it out in advance,” missionary Eileen Emch said.
Tartarchyk, the church’s administrator, painted over the graffiti before other church members saw it.
“There wasn’t any announcement about it or anything,” Emch said. “We were all busy thinking about worship and the lunch we would be having afterward to celebrate Gheorge and Anya’s 50th wedding anniversary.”
The church is involved in a legal battle with the city concerning its facility, but minister Artash Adriasov said there’s no way to know if the graffiti is connected to that battle.
“Seems we’ve been mistaken for folks who are easily intimidated,” Emch said. “Nyet, not us!”
Registered in 1992, the Rostov congregation was one of the first Churches of Christ to be recognized by the Russian government. The church acquired its own building in 1999.
“We are developing leadership through these trials,” Emch said, “and, more importantly, faith in God. He is bigger than any powers on this earth.”

Filed under: International Staff Reports

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