Julya Walsh, a local preacher in the Circuit, now lives in Bulgaria, but continues to presch around the Circuit, on every quarterly plan, via Skype . She worships regularly with the United Methodist congregation in Sevlievo, where Margarita Todorova is the Pastor. Julya also regularly leads worship in that church, as well as helping Margarita at local Women’s Conferences and in assisting, at times, with reading through material that Margarita presents at these, for accuracy of translation into English.
Through visiting Julya and now having a holiday home in Bulgaria, Sue Marshall-Jennings has also developed a connection with Margarita and the congregation in Sevlievo, preaching in that church whenever she visits.
When Julya preaches via Skype, she does so from the church in Sevlievo as, at present, the internet service there is far more reliable than it is in the small village of Dobromirka where Julya lives. This has meant that there are times when Margarita has greeted the congregation too when Julya has been preaching and Julya often talks fondly of the members in the church with whom she has built a very good relationship, especially as they really appreciate her determination to learn Bulgarian, so that she can talk to them in their own language, and Julya hopes – one day – to be fluent enough to preach in Bulgarian, instead of relying, as she does at the moment, on Margarita’s availability as an interpreter. The congregation, especially the young people, also value the opportunity to practice their English skills in conversation with Julya.
In the summer of 2017, Rev Nick Baker, Superintendent Minister in Angus, Dundee and Perthshire, made an extraordinary Pastoral Visit during his holiday and travelled to Bulgaria to visit Julya and he too was asked to preach in Sevlievo, meeting Margarita and his whole family sharing fellowship with her at a meal she hosted.
Alongside this, a connection was also made with a children’s out of school club in nearby Novo Selo and the Circuit has also raised funds to support the Club. Rev Nick visited too during his stay in Bulgaria.
Because of the regular contact with Julya, the Circuit has built up a strong relationship with the Church in Sevlievo.