The Bulgarian Lutheran Church (BLC) continues to preach and teach God’s Word in three separate areas: the large urban area of Sofia in the West, Varna along the Black Sea in the East, and in Dunavtsi in the North among the Romani, also known as gypsies. The BLC has four organized congregations and six national pastors. Learn more about WELS mission history in Bulgaria.
The BLC headquarters and church are located in central Sofia. There is a congregation in Mladost, a suburb of Sofia, whose membership is primarily retired military families. This location has been reaching out to other retired military clubs in the Sofia area as well. There is a second congregation in Varna, which is on the far eastern side of Bulgaria on the Black Sea. The national pastor there also drives a bus and shares his faith with his riders.
At present, there is one congregation and three preaching stations reaching out to the gypsy population. Rev. Iliyan Boykov Itsov serves as the coordinator for the gypsy ministry, using his home congregation in the Romani village of Dunavtsi as his base. Many gypsy’s have been baptized, congregations have hosted well attended Vacation Bible School programs, and gypsy youth groups are thriving.
The people of the BLC are taking important steps to continue ministry despite an economy that lags behind the rest of Europe. WELS does not have a resident missionary in Bulgaria, so the BLC is learning to govern itself and manage its own budget. WELS continues to provide encouragement and assistance through the Europe Administrative Committee and the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) as well as some financial support.