Through a regular email prayer letter from Mission Eurasia,1 its Director Sergey Rakuba and his close colleague Dr. Michael Cherenkov, I learned of the death on March 29, 2021, of Michael Bourdeaux, and his funeral on April 12, 2021, in Oxford. Bourdeaux’s persistence over many decades to make known the appeals for prayer, for assistance in making known the plight of prisoners of conscience in the Soviet Union has continued, in spite of many changes and transformations over the decades. Even today the harassment of believers not conforming to Russia’s current state-church close integration and its banning of the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination since 2017, and ongoing violations of religious rights in Central Asian states continues. In those earlier days of the 1970s major newspapers such as the London Times and New York Times gave front page coverage to news releases on human rights violations. Today that would be rare. Bourdeaux’s memoir makes clear, as described in Mark Elliott’s “Reminiscences on reading One Word of Truth...” [also published in this issue of OPREE] that Bourdeaux never forgot a calling to “be their voice.” There are many new scholars addressing the topic, but the decline of newspapers, of denominational publications and their reduced staff due to economies, has those voices less easily noticed. Nevertheless, a sense of calling and capacity for persistence remains a hope.
"Remembering Canon Michael Bourdeaux, Founder of Keston Institute,"
Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe: Vol. 41
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ree/vol41/iss3/6