Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism

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Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism

By Catherine Wanner
Cornell University Press, 2007
305 pp. $70.00

Wanner, a historian and anthropologist, provides a fascinating entrée into contemporary Ukrainian culture by exploring evangelism's surprising resurgence in the chaotic crosswinds of post-Soviet life. The phenomenon is not new. It traces back to the nineteenth century, waxing and waning with the imperial and Soviet regimes' fluctuating moods. Wanner does more than detail the flow of evangelists in and out of Ukraine, the size of their swelling congregations and collateral enterprises, and their role in society. In subtle but lucid fashion, she plumbs the complex interactions that result when Western evangelism encounters Ukrainian ways, changing both; explores the thrust and meaning of conversion for the converted; weighs the impact of global ties on Ukrainian evangelism; and explains the unique success of Pentecostal movements in the country. She weaves into her analysis the voices of missionaries and believers, from individual entrepreneurs to members of Europe's largest evangelical church -- which happens to be located in Kiev.

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