By Elliott Wright*
KAUNAS, Lithuania — The Rev. Eduard Khegay, a pastor, teacher, and church executive, was elected on Oct. 19 as the new bishop of the Eurasia Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church, effective at the start of 2013. He succeeds Bishop Hans Växby, who is retiring, in the post based in Moscow, Russia.
Khegay, 42, was picked on the first ballot during the quadrennial meeting on Oct. 17-20 of the Northern Europe and Eurasia Central Conference of the denomination. He received 43 of the 62 valid votes cast. Born in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, he will be the first United Methodist bishop from the former Soviet Union.
Khegay says that his “mission is to inspire people to become Christ-like and [to] develop into full God-given potential to serve God and people.”
The new bishop has been the pastor of the Raduga United Methodist Church in Moscow and assistant to Växby since 2005. He has also held a wide range of positions within the Russian United Methodist Church over the past dozen years. He has continued an affiliation with mission and educational ministries in that area.
Methodism had existed in in the St. Petersburg area and in Siberia prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Suppressed there and in Soviet-dependent states for decades, it reemerged when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
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