“Ghosts of Missionaries”

On Contemporary Baptist Mission in Ukraine

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Eugenijus Liutkevičius Vilnius University Lithuania Vilnius

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From the late 1980s, foreign—primarily American—missionaries started to travel to Ukraine in large numbers. This article is concerned with the impact of American Baptist missionaries and how their influence was perceived locally in 2016, the time of my fieldwork. When I set out to conduct my fieldwork research among Baptist believers in Lviv, I was surprised that local believers denied the impact of foreign missionaries on their communities and worship style. Moreover, many local Baptist churchgoers I met claimed they had never encountered an American missionary and insisted that foreign missionaries had not played any significant role in the development and transformation of Ukrainian Baptism. In this article, I present the data from the fieldwork and analyze the Ukrainian Baptists’ reasons for minimizing the influence through the perspective of religioscapes, and glocalization as the dialectic process between homogeneity and heterogeneity.

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