The UMC in Bulgaria has more than 160 years of history behind it. As a minority denomination, it often struggled to survive — especially in the 40 years after the Second World War when almost all church activities were forbidden. By 1989, only three of the original 16 local churches had survived. But as a result of a huge commitment, the church was structurally re-organized and filled with life. At the center of this growth process, the founding of new churches exists side by side with the consolidation and stabilization of the existing ones. Many local churches and individuals have recognized that in a society going through a radical transition they are only credible when the proclamation of the Gospel goes hand in hand with practical help. Their current activities therefore combine both words and deeds in many different ways (e.g. ministry with prison inmates, educational programs, ministry with homeless people, etc.). Children and youth as well as people fromthe margins of society – particularly members from minority groups (Roma, Armenians, Turks)–aregiven special attention. In so doing, the UMC in Bulgaria has succeeded in becoming a model of peaceful coexistence and collaboration of people belonging to various ethnic groups – and this is a very important Christian witness in a region still challenged by ethnic and religious tensions.
Population: 7.3 millions
Area: 110,910 km2
Religion: Orthodox (76%),
UMC Churches: 30
Professing members: 1137
Active Clergy: 18
On the edge of Antarctica, Lyaskovets Peak (1473m) can be found - a mountain named after the small Bulgarian town of Lyaskovets. It is true that the average annual temperature in central Bulgaria is not -50° Celsius as it is in the Antarctic interior. But there is a coldness here and there that cannot be measured with a thermometer. A small Methodist church feels called to make a difference by sharing warmth and hope in Lyaskovets.
The 2020 meeting of Bulgaria-Romania Provisional Annual Conference will probably remain the only one in which all members from at least one country and also the bishop can physically participate. Bulgaria still has low numbers of daily new Covid-19 infections at the end of September. So, the Annual Conference met in a shortened form from September 25-26 in Varna on the Black Sea.
The Turkish-speaking United Methodist congregation in Gorno Ezerovo has come one step closer to its dream of a new church building.