Baptist Pastor Fined for “illegal missionary work” in Bryansk
On April 14, in the Russian city of Bryansk, the Volodarskiy Magistrates' District Court penalized the pastor of the "First Church of Evangelical Christians Baptists of Bryansk" for engaging in "illegal" missionary work. He was charged with "introducing 'modern' ways of communicating in line with 'Western standards'."
According to the Court, Mikhail Lipsky, the head of the church, alongside Pavel Zelenchikov, another pastor of the church, conducted a worship service in the auditorium of the Gorky Municipal Culture Centre, where non-religious people were present, as officially this was promoted as a Christmas cultural concert rather than a service. The court also states that religious literature was also distributed during the service.
These accusations led the court to find Mikhail Lipsky guilty under part 4 of article 5.26 of the Administrative Code (carrying out missionary activity in violation of the legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and religious associations).
Bryansk News quoting the court ruling reports that "Baptists under the guise of cultural concerts purposefully preached and handed out religious literature. They held calls to attend Pentecostal religious meetings, through which they introduced "modern" ways of communicating according to "Western standards"." Nonetheless, this is an error, as Baptists and Pentecostals are confused in the report.
Sources: SOVA Center for Information and Analysis; Invictory.org; Evangelical Focus; News Bryansk