The Bulgarian Lutheran Church (BLC) continue to preach and teach God’s Word in four separate areas including a 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 (a.k.a. gypsies).
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 Roma people. Many have been baptized and the congregations have hosted well attended Vacation Bible School programs.
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.
Rev. Iliyan Boykov Itsov, has been ordained as the sixth pastor of the Bulgarian Lutheran Church. He speaks seven languages and is working in several countries of Western Europe. Pastor Itsov is using his home congregation in the Romani village of Dunavtsi as his base. He prepares literature and seeks to establish congregations as the Lord opens doors. There are clan links among the Romani people all across the world, and since there is one basic Romani language used globally, it is the prayer of WELS Europe Administrative Committee that the Outreach to Romani project will reach many Romanis across Europe with the saving message of the gospel.
WELS continues to provide encouragement and assistance with theological education as well as some financial support. Rev. John Vogt, WELS Regional Coordinator for Eastern Europe, periodically visits Bulgaria as well as assists with on-line instruction.
Baptized nationals: 155
Organized congregations: 4
National pastors: 6
Visiting instructors: 1