The Russian-Speaking Church

Friends in central Indiana, this might be of special interest to you! The Russian-Speaking Church, pastored by Last Bell board member Don Lawton, holds services every Sunday at 2 PM. The church is hosted by The Chapel (formerly Walnut Grove Chapel) in Indianapolis. Visitors welcome!

Born as a Bible study in the Lawtons’ home eighteen years ago, The Russian-Speaking Church has now been meeting formally for sixteen years. Nela Wainscott, a Last Bell friend, had encountered Russian-speakers all over the Indianapolis area, and offered to translate if Don would teach.


Don Lawton and his wife Molly, who have a son, Samuel

Church members come from Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakstan, Latvia, Georgia, Bulgaria – all the former Soviet Bloc countries. Under the Soviet Union, everyone had to speak Russian, so it became a common language. Don’s sermons are translated, and the singing is bilingual (Russian and English).

The church serves as a hub for Eastern Europeans in the area, where many come for work or job-related networking. At first, because of their history with Soviet states, churchgoers were wary of connecting personally; but over time the church became a warm community with a spirit of camaraderie.

Church members are quick to help those in need. For example, a family Don knew through Mission to Ukraine had a house fire and lost their grandmother; the church donated toward a new apartment. They help with burials, when needed, and weddings.

Their hearts are truly open to Last Bell. They have a heartfelt desire to help the helpless, and know how difficult life is for orphans.

Because Ukrainians and Russians both attend the church, when Russia invaded Ukraine, everyone agreed simply to pray for the safety of soldiers in both countries.

The church has reached well beyond its local footprint. In one case, a grandmother and mother from Belarus started bringing their two boys. One became a Christian and was baptized. He is now leading Bible studies at West Point.

Andrey (LB Director) and Oksana Pankeyeyev have shared at The Russian-Speaking Church, as has former LB director Liz Millikan. Currently, the church is generously sending its offerings to support Last Bell’s work.

Friends, if you attend an Eastern European-language church, or if you’re in touch with an Eastern European community, would you drop us a line? We’d love to talk to you about those connections.

Don Lawton was interviewed for this blog; many of the words are his own. Thanks to Don for sharing his heart, and thanks to The Russian-Speaking Church for their compassion and generosity!


The Chapel

5825 E 91st St

Indianapolis, IN 46250

2 PM Sundays

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