Thursday, March 11, 2010

Goodbye to a good and faithful servant

When you come to Russia for just a short time, it is like a treasure hunt of meetings with different interesting people.

I was in St. Petersburg with my father in the summer of 2004, before I moved here to live. One of our quests was to meet with a man named Kenneth. I didn’t understand what the connection was, but my dad had something in mind. We were searching for a place called “Agora.”

What I didn’t know yet about Russia was how within those huge apartment buildings many different things go on, and the neighbors don’t necessarily know what is happening at the other end of the building or on a different floor. When we couldn’t find the entrance, I asked some men in a business on the first floor if they could tell us where “Agora” was. They couldn’t. We ended up calling someone, who came down to find us and lead the way. Nothing was as simple as it seemed.


Inside was a rambling, open staircase that went up and up. As we ascended, I felt like I was in a Tolkien-esque land. It just had that magical feeling.

At the top of the staircase, an elderly man greeted us and introduced himself in a British accent. Then we were led into the kitchen, literally a “nook.” The place was full of them. Kenneth had converted several apartments into a cozy guesthouse and meeting place for Christians. As we sat and talked in the kitchen, I once again felt like I was in the land of Tolkien, about to embark on an interesting adventure.

A few months later, I moved to Russia.

After I arrived, I was looking for a church home, and my friend invited me to visit one that her friends attended. As we pulled up to the building, I realized that I had been here before. It was Agora. We went up a different staircase this time.

The room was one that Kenneth had shown us, a beautiful hall with a piano in it and some paintings on the wall. Now I saw it in use. Chairs were set up, and it had becoming a gathering place for Christians. This church became my regular place of worship.

A few of my friends worked at Agora, and visiting missionaries sometimes stayed there, so I would find myself on the top floor again every once in a while. I usually had to reintroduce myself to Kenneth, as he would ask, “Now who are you?” If I explained that I was David’s daughter, he usually remembered, and said “Ahh, yeeeess” in his British accent, grasping my hand.

Kenneth passed away this week at the age of 90. I’ve been spending a few moments remembering him and recalling what his kind face looked like; the sound of his voice. I didn’t know all of his story, but you can read some tributes here. 


  1. Да, меня тоже Кеннет первое время спрашивал о том, кто я такой. Потом вспоминал про Выборг, где я проводил для него и еще нескольких человек экскурсию. :)
    Хорошо, что сейчас он в лучшем мире, где нет болезней и горя.

  2. Ahh...I've never met him, but I've heard so much about him!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing this Elizabeth. I really was inspired reading the remembrances of this wonderful man....and amused and transported, really, reading your description of your meetings of him. Oh, Russia is just so unique... Thank you for sharing this.

    As I said on the Cantrell's blog, I was - truly - inspired.

  4. I heard much about him and sad I didn't get to meet him. I'm glad you did.

  5. "When you come to Russia for just a short time, it is like a treasure hunt of meetings with different interesting people."

    Wow talk about a TRUE statement!


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