RITE Celebrates Largest Class of Graduates in June 2019
Above: RITE 2019 graduates: Front row from left, Liza, Anna, Elena (Masters), Natasha and Sveta. Back row, Vlad, Bogdan, Victor, Anton and Sergei. Congratulations to all!
RITE’s largest ever graduating class was celebrated in June in Kiev with Dr. Van Lees officiating. Several of the graduates had been with RITE since the 2014 invasion of the Don Bas region which also required RITE’s departure, while the rest have only known our Kiev classrooms since beginning their studies. It was a time of great joy, but also sadness as most will go back to their homes and take part in their individual ministries. We will miss them terribly! A few will continue at RITE as part of the new Master’s degree program. Elena Risnyk, (in red stole in cover photo), is the final graduate of the old Master’s program. Graduates from our Donets’k classes included Victor and Sveta Didych, Sergei and Anna Kolomiiec, and Natasha Roslovtseva. Elena also joined RITE initially in the Don Bas region. Students joining us following RITE’s move to Kiev in 2015 are Liza Akimova, Anton Klimenko, Vlad Sazhko, and Bogdan Maisyradze. We are so thankful for these graduates who will now take their places in service to the our Lord Jesus Christ in Ukraine and beyond.
New Masters Program a Large Step Forward - Dr. Merle Messer
One difficulty with coming up with articles for our newsletter is writing about something new that RITE is doing. Normally, month after month, we offer classes for two weeks, then we have two weeks in which to prepare for the next month. That is hardly new and exciting. Well, this month we have a new development to write about and I am pleased to be able to share this with you.
The RITE Board has voted to begin a new two-year Master’s degree program this fall. We have had a number of excellent students ask about continuing their education with RITE following graduation from our four-year Bachelor program. Our major problem with our past Master’s program was having the two professors who go over deal with three levels of classes; new students, advanced students, and graduate students. Now, due to modern technology and a few other developments, we can easily offer a Master’s program beyond the Bachelor level. The program, which will be offered every two years, will be open to our top students and will be by invitation only. To qualify for the Master’s program, we will examine a student’s grades, their character, and what they propose to do with the additional education.
The Master’s Program will focus on academic as well as courses in practical theology. So many students have said, “I can learn anything for a test, but I need to be taught how to do things from a practical perspective.” This new program will allow us to cover these areas more adequately than in the past.
We have found a reliable source of solid Reformed books published in Russian, that cover various aspects of Reformed theology. (In the past, these books were difficult to find, or were non-existent.) Master’s students will be assigned to read these books and write papers on them. In addition to reading and writing papers, the Masters students will attend classes they had not previously taken at RITE, consume other theological courses in Russian on the internet, and write papers on those classes.
Several internet sources are now available for Reformed teaching in Russian, such as those of Dr. Richard Pratt’s Third Millennium Ministries, that our students can download and view on their Fire HD8 tablets. We will also be able to make more use of this type of material by utilizing it for some Bachelor degree classes as well. This will be a tremendous help to our students, improving what we currently offer.
Some current professors have volunteered to grade Masters papers and take this new program under their wings. One of our deans, a past graduate employed by RITE, will be the main point of contact, while Natasha Seleznova, our head translator and administrator will have, of course, the major responsibility for all of our programs and courses in the seminary. As always, I invite your questions and comments! Dr. Merle Messer
Dr. Merle Messer
Silent Auctions in Ontario Raise Over $24,000 for RITE
On Friday evening, September 23, 2016 we hosted a Silent Auction to raise funds for the Ukrainian students that attend the Reformed Seminary in Ukraine. Our guest speaker was seminary administrator and translator, Natasha Seliznova, who arrived in Southern Ontario from Ukraine along with her husband Sergei. They got here in time to help with numerous things to get ready for the event and they helped set up and worked on ‘the day itself’ from 8:00 in the morning until 10:00 in the evening! Natasha said that she was very impressed with all the work that people did so willingly and with joy to support the seminary students.
At 6:30 P.M. we started the Silent Auction and after a lot of fun with popping mystery balloons and bidding on over 200 items we closed the Auction at 8:00 P.M. with a whopping $16,630.00 to give for our Ukrainian student’s education. Rev. Al Bezuyne was the MC for the evening. We then heard Natasha speak on behalf of our students and she emphasized how grateful they are to God and to us for the support coming from Canada. What a privilege it is to work in God’s kingdom. Money is still coming in from those who were not able to come to the event.
The Silent Auction Venue
On Saturday morning Natasha and Sergei were brought to Barrie, Ontario where they also had the same venue and fun with more mystery balloons starting at 12:30 P.M. Rev. Martin Overgaauw introduced the speaker and Rev. Mitchell Persaud gave us a report as well about teaching in the Ukraine. It was good to listen to Natasha as she spoke about the ‘beginnings of the seminary’ in Ukraine as well as the history of the last 13 years. It was a great afternoon with fellowship and fun. The young people were all involved and were real troopers! Serving the desserts, doing the Mystery Balloons, manning the registration and being the runners for the auction. It was quite the impressive team work! Young Sara Steels even welcomed our guests with a special Ukrainian celebration. The venue in Barrie brought up over $5,370.00 with, again, money still coming in. It was good to be made more aware of the work and the situation in Ukraine.
So far the total of the two auctions is $24,000.00 and we are still counting. It was a great blessing to work together with Christians from different areas of Ontario. We rejoice in giving our great and awesome God all praise and thanksgiving.
Rev. Mitchell Persaud Speaks at the Aution
Thea Vandixhoorn With Natasha Seleznova