Since July 1999, our little church has been meeting on Maxim Gorky Street in a building that was quite a fixer upper. It's in a terrific location in the city center but we have known from the get-go that it was in a reconstruction zone.
The little white building there on the left is the entrance to our church property. And being in said reconstruction zone, means that the city recognizes the value of this property and wants it too. And we knew that eventually we would get to move. (Click to enlarge photo.)
And the time has come. We're not the only ones to go. This whole block is going, eventually. But we're of the first to go, I reckon, just because. . . Anyway, imagine wanting to raze the lovely buildings above for something more upscale. Note there on the corner the little grocery store. Oh, how handy that has been. That building's a hundred years old they say. . .
So here's in front of our building. It says Rostov Church of Christ. Found a high-fashion model to pose here for this. Poor dear, apparently she has no coat. . .
Moving right along, this is inside the front gate, looking toward Maxim Gorky Street. See the upscale apartment on the right in the near distance, that's on University Street and probably 14-or-so stories high.
So we've been busy packing up. Here's Artash our preacher packing up the office. He's a multi-talented fellow with wisdom beyond his years.
Oh, but you need to meet the whole gang. (Click to enlarge photo.) Well, this is most of us who were present on a recent Sunday. I need to mention that just because we look oh-so-serious doesn't mean that we're not happy. Let me explain: There seems to be a thing here about conserving smiles. Smiles are reserved for close friends and family. Smiles not handed out indiscriminately to people on the street. And certainly not for the camera. Oh, but ironically Funny thing, following is the scene just 30 seconds before the photo. . .
Yes, here we are just before the photo. But get the camera in there, get ready to shoot and the dynamics change. Unless of course Yours Truly happens to be behind the camera, in which case I have found that making chicken-like clucking noises does help get those smiles.
So back to the packing up: Here's Sveta with boxes of Bibles and printed material. Sveta helps with Bible distribution for Eastern European Mission.
This is Marina packing up the library. We got these wonderful metal containers from IKEA several years back. Our vast collection of materials from Truth for Today are, for the most part, catalogued and organized in them. (These are thanks to generous funding from the Cawyer family, Dallas.)
View down the tram line on Gorky Street, looking west. Because of course you might be interested how the tram line fades into the horizon.
Standing in the same spot, the Rostov Regional Library is located directly south. It's a huge library although from here, the 10-story tower is barely visible. It's a major landmark in the city and when dignitaries visit Rostov-on-Don, a visit to the library is often included in the itinerary.
From the same spot, looking north. This is University Street, which intersects there with Krasnai-Armaiskaya Street (Red Army Street), another major east-west artery in the city center.
But here's the grand prize. . .
It looks as though this might very well be our new church building. It's a fabulous single-family home with so much space and solid construction. We see no obstacles in the way to our getting this building although the final papers have yet to be signed. So we continue to hope and to pray. If it goes through, we would have 6-8 weeks before moving in. So we are in transition because this week we need to be out of the building on Gorky Street. Sunday, we were surprised and delighted when our dear sister Tanya - who comes to worship maybe twice a year nowadays - offered her large living room as our meeting place for the next few weeks. What a relief! A perfect meeting place for our transition, right in the middle of town, a good size and. . .the price is right.
And so, we are a gypsy people, in transition between buildings. And you know, when we look at the prospective building and the neighborhood in which it is located, we dream of the wonderful ways in which we as a congregation will be even better positioned to reach out to the community. Surely our best years are ahead.