Pastor Roberts made his 37th trip to Russia from September 23 to October 1, 2021. This was the first time since September 2019 that he had been able to travel to Russia for a mission trip as Covid-19 shut down travel to Russia and many other nations. The purpose of this trip was to meet with the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Reformed Theological Seminary whicn is just starting. Pastor Roberts is the Chairman of the Board. The decision was made to provide classes online which will be more cost effective for the students and will enable the seminary to operate even during shut downs because of Covid-19 or other reasons.
The 2019 Russia Pastors Conference was held in St. Petersburg on September 17-19, 2019. The theme of the conference was "The Whole Counsel of God." The speakers were Dr. Anthony (Tony) Lane of the London School of Theology; Rev. Geoffrey Thomas, retired pastor at Alfred Place Baptist Church in Aberystwyth, Wales; Dr. Al Baker of Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, Dr. Rob Norris, pastor Emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, and Dr. Dewey Roberts, pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian.
Since 1999, Pastor Roberts has made over 30 trips to Russia, visiting Moscow, Voronezh, St. Petersburg, Tambov, Rostov-na-Dony, Nizhni Novgorod and Kazan. He has taken teams with him and has taught in seminaries in Moscow and Kazan.
Russia has been a lifelong interest of Pastor Roberts and the Lord providentially opened the doors for him to visit there. Initially, he was invited by a Pentecostal church in Voronezh to come and preach, but he had a desire to work in building up the Reformed faith in Russia. On his second trip to Russia, he met some Korean Presbyterian missionaries who had several mission churches scattered throughout western Russia. Several years later, he made contact with Russian pastors who were interested in starting an indigenous Russian Reformed denomination. Pastor Roberts suggested to them a course of action in which they would hold a pastor's conference and invite every pastor they knew who would be interested in the possibility of a Russian reformed denomination. This conference met on December 11-12, 2008 with 32 people in attendance. At the end of the conference, there was a resolution to start a new denomination which would be called the Evangelical Reformed Church of Russia (ERCR). This denomination has grown from 4 churches in 2008 to 15 churches in 2010. At present, the ERCR is working diligently to become officially registered with the Russian government. The greatest challenge for the future of the ERCR is seminary education since the Russian government greatly restricts seminary education within that country. A plan has been formulated to send Presbyterian and Reformed ministerial students to the Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary in Riga, Latvia to receive their theological training.
The focus of Pastor Roberts' mission work in Russia is two-fold: pastor training and seminary education. Russia was open to foreign missionaries for a short time, but has now greatly restricted their work. Western missionaries must now leave the country every 90 days and reapply for a religious visa. This restriction makes the work of building up the indigenous church even more important.
These conference are supported wholly by the contributions of God's people. It takes $12-15,000 for each conference. If you would like to support this cause, you may contribute by sending your check or money order to: Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540 and earmark it for: "Russia Pastors Conference."