Rector’s Letter May 2022

Dear friends,

Discovering The Dead Sea Scrolls – 75 years on

‘This is the one I esteem: he who is contrite and humble in spirit and trembles at my Word.’ Isaiah 66.2

75 years ago the first scrolls were discovered by Bedouin goatherds near the Dead Sea.  Amongst other ancient material a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was found.  Then from 1947 to 1956 several other caves provided well over 900 fragmentary manuscripts, which together came to be known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls are mostly leather, although a few are made of papyrus. Most are written in Hebrew, but some are in Aramaic and a few in Greek.  The famous archaeologist W. F. Albright called it the ‘greatest archaeological find of modern times.’  Why was this moment so significant?  What is so important about the Dead Sea Scrolls?

They contain the second earliest biblical texts in existence.  The earliest biblical text we have is a small amulet from the late seventh century BC, found at Ketef Hinnom.  It contains the priestly benediction from Numbers 6: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you …’.  The oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Old Testament is the Leningrad Codex which dates from AD 1008.  Some texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls predate that manuscript by 1,200 years!

One of the most interesting aspects of the discovery is that any differences between the biblical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and what we have today in our translations are minor. Many of the differences are mere “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” due to copyist errors. This underscores the trustworthiness of the Bible and the gracious work of God in preserving his words for his people.

It appears that a Jewish sect called the Essenes, located at the site of Qumran near the Dead Sea, likely copied and wrote the scrolls.  In their writings they argue with certain religious opponents who lived in Jerusalem.  This has provided historians with insight into the various theological positions held by Jewish sects at the time.  Historians can also glean insight into the setting and background of the New Testament period, though no New Testament fragments have been found there.

The work is unfinished. Even as recently as 2021, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of dozens of new Dead Sea Scroll fragments, containing lines of Greek text from the Old Testament books of Zechariah and Nahum.

In his grace God has provided these texts to give us confidence that, in a way unparalleled in history, the Bible we have today is what its original authors intended to write.  While archaeologists, historians and translators continue to work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Christians today continue to work on obeying them and all the other truths contained in God’s Word.

Sincerely in Christ


Rector’s Letter April 2022

Dear friends,

Does Russia need a Bonhoeffer? 

Take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6.13

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the German Lutheran pastor and founding member of the Confessing Church who famously objected to Hitler and Nazism in the run up to, and during, the Second World War.  His punishment was to be incarcerated and eventually executed.  His book The Cost of Discipleship is a modern classic.

If Bonhoeffer and his co-leaders in the Confessing Church were able to make a stand for God and justice, should we be looking for equally courageous pastors in Russia today?  Most Christian leaders in Russia are against the war and are praying for peace in their churches.  Some are demonstrating in public.  They are clearly under intense pressure.

One leader who has already found himself in trouble is Ioann Burdin of Resurrection Church in Kostroma, 215 miles northwest of Moscow.  He was arrested for “discrediting the Russian armed forces” in his Sunday sermon.  His parish also allegedly shared an anti-war petition.  “We, Christians, cannot stand idly by when a brother kills brother, a Christian kills a Christian,” the statement said, as reported by the BBC’s Russian service. “Let’s not repeat the crimes of those who hailed Hitler’s deeds on Sept. 1, 1939.”  Does Russia need more like him?

The best example in the Bible of someone standing up to the cruel intentions of a dictator is probably Esther.  As a young Jewish girl, she became the queen of Persia and with the help of Mordecai her uncle, saved her people from a plot to destroy them.  She acted extremely bravely and shrewdly. 

However, it is very interesting that in the New Testament, we do not find the apostles writing directly against Caesar and the Roman authorities, but rather giving a strong call to prayer and perseverance.  Jesus never called for riots or politically based movements but in the Sermon on the Mount challenged his followers to be salt and light. And St. Paul calls us to bless our enemies, rather than curse them.  This is one reason why we have joined with other churches (notably Saintfield Road) to prioritise prayer for peace in Ukraine.

Samuil Petrovski, president of the Serbian Evangelical Alliance and IFES Serbia, has said, ‘Instead of being one-sided, as some people have done by displaying the Ukrainian flag and creating events for prayer for the Ukrainians specifically, they should also advertise the Russian flag and pray for the Russians too.  Christians should stand up in prayer, offer practical help, and appeal for peace—praying for the leaders on both sides. We must be extremely careful to avoid strong political debate, through which our Christian leaders can lose focus and forget the importance of Christ.’

Any modern-day Bonhoeffer will need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to provide the necessary Christian leadership in the current conflict.  He will need to stand firm for Jesus Christ and his gospel of peace.  He will need to see beyond the politics to the spiritual battle in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6.12).  He will require the support of brothers and sisters throughout the world. 

With love and prayers in Christ this Easter,


Chris & Lotta’s latest Prayer Letter

Dear friends and mission partners,

“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.” Psalms 111:7
Last Saturday was a wonderful sunny day, so we decided to have our lunch outside, this year’s first picnic down at the seaside. It was so nice to just spend time with each other. (See the pictures below)

In our last prayer update we asked for prayers for Chris’ preaching training group. We are so grateful for the respectable number of young men who attended the first meeting. All together there were fourteen attendees from two churches. We are thrilled to see the hunger for God’s word and the desire to learn God’s truth. The plan is to have this kind of training once a month.

The Marriage Preparation Course was supposed to start at the end of February but due to illness we had to postpone it. So, on Friday we are starting it. We are having three couples at our home and two couples via Zoom. All the participants are overly excited and so are we.

LiFT, (Living in Faith Together), our women’s bible study group will finally start again on Thursday 10th of March. The ladies will gather at our home and Lotta will start a bible study on the Lord’s prayer, a bible study group material that we have created ourselves. Chris has used this material in his one-on-one meetings.

We are so excited about the church planting team in Södertälje, on the 20th of March, they will have their first test worship service. The preparations are in full swing, and the team is thrilled.

Praise points

  • We are grateful to the Lord for health and strength.
  • Praise the Lord for the preaching training group.

Prayer points

  • Pray for the Marriage Preparation Course.
  • Pray for the lady’s bible study and Lotta as she prepares it.
  • Pray for Södertäljes worship service on 20th of March.

Yours in Christ,
Chris & Lotta Strajnic

Easter Kids Club 2022

From Monday 11th April – Friday 15th April Knockbreda Parish will be hosting a kids club for children in P1-P7.

The club will run from 10:30am-12:00pm each day.

Registration forms can be found HERE and also our Facebook page. Please fill in and return your form as soon as possible.

Please feel free to contact Stuart should you have any other queries.

You can also message us via our website or Facebook.

Chris & Lotta’s Prayer Letter

Dear friends and mission partners,

“Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.”
Psalms 72:19

Two weeks ago, due to the current Covid restrictions here in Sweden, we decided to bring back Zoom again and have now services both in person and live via Zoom, as many can’t attend the services because of being sick with covid. We thank God for blessing us with young guys who volunteer in the church with the technology. Even though one of them forgot to record Chris’ sermon last Sunday, so now Chris has to re-preach it and record it from home! Poor young man, he was devastated when he realized that. But that could have happened to anybody!

Chris & LottaAnother blessing is that more people in the church want to help out with various practicalities. We are so happy that it is not only us two, any more,  who are in the church early in the morning to set up all the chairs and prepare for the service. Now, when we have a bunch of young people to help us out, this means that we are done very quickly and have even time for a FIKA (Swedish coffee) before service.

We have an exciting February in front of us. On the 11th of February (and five weeks forward) we are going to do a Marriage Preparation Course with five couples (Three couples from our church and 2 couples from Västerås. This is the beauty of Zoom: we can all meet up for this course. If we could choose we would prefer to run this course in real life and in our home but with this pandemic it’s not possible right now. And unfortunately we had to cancel the Conference day that we planned for February for the same reason.

But the good news is that Chris is setting up a preaching training group for young people in Stockholm, which too will start in February. It’s a cooperation with another church, and it’s a training for young students and potential lay preachers that are beginners.


Praise and prayer points

  • We are grateful to the Lord for staying healthy.
  • Praise the Lord that those who can’t attend church still can follow the service via Zoom
  • Please pray for the Marriage Preparation Course, that even though we will do it via zoom that it will still go well.
  • Pray also for Chris and the preaching training group.

Yours in Christ,

Chris & Lotta Strajnic

Rector’s Letter March 2022

Dear friends,

David, Patron Saint of Wales

‘I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name.’  Psalm 18.49

In the March edition of the Breda Messenger I often centre my thoughts on the person of St. Patrick since his Day is the 17th March.  But what about the other saint who has his Day in March?  Who was St. David and why has he become the patron saint of Wales?

The first thing to point out is that David was a real, historical figure – unlike his English counterpart St George.  He was born around 520AD and died around 600AD – supposedly on 1st March, hence St David’s Day.  However, while we know much about the real Patrick through the writings he has left us, we know very little about the real David.  Most early material about him is clearly legendary in form. David is usually depicted standing on a hill with a dove on his shoulder, relating to a legendary miracle he performed.

David (Dewi) was probably born in what is now Pembrokeshire.  By David’s time Christianity had come to Wales, brought by the soldiers and traders of the Roman Empire. He likely attended the College of Theodosius, founded in the fourth century as a centre of theological and philosophical learning.  It was the foremost theological institution in Britain, with at one time as many as 2,000 students attending from all over Europe.

In his ministry he is famous for speaking so well against the heresy of Pelagius at the Synod of Brefi that he was elected Primate of the region we know today as Wales.  He then presided at the Synod of Victory held at Caerleon-on-Usk, Monmouthshire, which supposedly defeated Pelagianism in Britain. Pelagianism minimised the depth of human sinfulness and the grace of God, and emphasised humanity’s ability to reach out to God by itself.

David was recognised as the most outstanding of the bishops in the area.  Through his leadership, many monks went forth to evangelise Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany.  His reputation is therefore orthodox and evangelical.

Like most western nations modern Wales has been disastrously affected by rampant secularism and materialism.  The task of the Church there is as challenging today as it must have been for David – perhaps more so.  That great nation of hymn-singing, revivals and Biblical expository preaching – typified by probably the greatest British preacher of the last century, Martin Lloyd-Jones – now requires lots of prayer.  My prayer is that the Welsh Church would return in faith and hope to the Lord and his Word that it may be blessed in its witness and evangelism.

Sincerely in Christ


Chris & Lotta’s Prayer Letter

Dear friends and mission partners,

Happy and blessed new year!

It’s a new year with new challenges and we start of course with some new covid restrictions again. We have some limitations on how we can run a Sunday service. We are limited to only sitting where we meet, not standing and walking around, or mingling. Also, we are required to have a meter in between chairs which limits on how many people we actually can provide seating for in the place we meet, either that or require everybody to show their covid-passes, which is an even worse idea.

Though the current restrictions, it feels like this year will be a more active year than the previous, though again things are hard to plan because we just don’t know how things will develop with the covid situation. The first thing we are planning is to start a new Marriage preparation course in February, but this time it will be only a Zoom online course.

We were planning to run a conference day in February like the one we wrote about previously in Västerås, but again we are not sure if this will be possible. We might do something online just to keep the momentum up. But more about that later.

Anyhow, we had a great Christmas and New year holiday and feel very rested and energized. We are looking forward to what God has for us this coming year and how things will develop.
We wish you all a blessed 2022 and that we will see His kingdom come and people saved.
Praise and prayer points

  • Thank God that we could rest over Christmas and New Year.
  • Please pray for the Marriage preparation course, we have five couples right now.
  • Pray also for the conference day, for wisdom on what is right to do.

Yours in Christ,
Chris & Lotta Strajnc

Rector’s Letter February 2022

Gafcon at St Anne’s Cathedral

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve.’  1 Corinthians 15.3-5.

One of the most formative times in my Christian life was attending Gafcon in Jerusalem in June 2018.  Gafcon is the international movement for reform and renewal in the Anglican communion.  The Jerusalem conference brought together nearly 2000 Anglican leaders for encouragement, support, teaching and fellowship.

Global Anglicanism is thriving – with churches growing at an incredibly rapid rate in places like Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and what is sometimes termed the Global South.  As I have pointed out before, research shows that the ‘average’ Anglican Christian is now a young, black woman in her early thirties.  We have moved a long way from when Anglicanism was mostly associated with the Church of England.  There are now more Anglicans in Nigeria alone than there are in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, USA and Australia combined.

The vast majority of these Global South churches are biblically faithful and have rejected the liberal theology which has been developing in the West over the past hundred years.  They have seen revisionism stifle and shrink the Western Church and want no part of it.  The Primates (leading archbishops) in the Gafcon movement prioritise Bible teaching, evangelism, discipleship and support for those who are suffering.  Many of these thriving churches suffer severe persecution – and still they grow!

I am a member of the Gafcon Ireland council, along with our bishop and other clergy and lay leaders.  For over a year now we have been planning a Bible Conference at St. Anne’s cathedral on Saturday 26 March 2022.  It will be a day of celebrating the gospel and introducing local Christians to the Gafcon movement.  It should be a significant event and I hope you will be part of it.  Save the date now – it will be a full day conference from 9.30am to 5pm – and please plan to be there.  We will be joined by some of the leaders of the worldwide Gafcon movement including Gafcon chair, Archbishop Foley Beach and Gafcon General Secretary Ben Kwashi.  More details will be on the Gafcon Ireland website and on social media over the next few weeks.  We hope to be joined at Knockbreda on Sunday 27 March by Archbishop Foley Beach.

In God’s providence I believe Gafcon is having a major impact for good and for the gospel in our world.  Your support of the Bible Conference would be much appreciated.

Sincerely in Christ,