Alan and Ellen Smith
Alan and Ellen Smith were appointed by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 2001 to serve as coordinators of the congregational twinning project in Russia and Belarus. This program matches up interested congregations in the United States with congregations in Russia and Belarus for friendship and shared mission.
Under the leadership of The Outreach Foundation, and in partnership with the Russian Federation of Evangelical Christian Baptists, the PC(USA) initiated the Russian twinning project in the early 1990s to build spiritual connections between American and Russian congregations. In the past ten years, the Smiths have worked to deepen the connection with the Baptist Union and to develop connections with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Some of the areas in which partners connect to each other are camping ministry, orphanage ministry, prison ministry and ministry to the elderly. Partners come together where there is a sense of a common call and where each partner has strengths to share. As Ellen puts it, “This is a partnership, not a sponsorship.”
Ellen also works with the Russian Round Table in areas of drug rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS issues. Strengthening the efforts of churches in Russia and Belarus as they care for orphans and vulnerable children, and as they reach out to share the Gospel with the Roma people, are two important dimensions of the Smiths’ work.
In June 2015, Ellen traveled to France and Germany with Father Vladimir from Davydovo, Russia with the intention of deepening his understanding of serving special needs people, both children and adults. They visited L’Arche with Jean Vanier, a French non-profit organization with a similar passion, to share experiences and exchange ideas for good practices reaching out to people with special needs.
Alan and Ellen now live in Berlin, Germany. Alan continues his ministry to the Roma people, and Ellen serves as the PC(USA)’s regional liaison as well as continuing her work in Russia, traveling there regularly to meet with partners and work with visiting groups.
Minimum Goal for 2016
$20,000 for support funds and $10,000 for Davydovo Outreach to Children
Eastern Europe and Russia