Rev. John M. Sergey
Reverend John M. Sergey led yearly missions to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, helping millions of Slavic evangelical Christians practice and maintain their faith. During this time, he broadcast a daily radio program into the Soviet Union called “Words of Hope.” Dr. Ray Pritchard of Keep Believing Ministries accompanied Rev. Sergey on one of his many trips. He said “I saw for myself the amazing reception the Russian people gave him and had a glimpse of the power of his ministry as people came up and embraced him with tears in their eyes.”
Reverend Sergey was the eldest of five children born to Russian immigrants. He grew up on the Near West Side of Chicago where he and his family attended the Russian Evangelical Christian Church. A talented vocalist, Rev. Sergey helped organize outdoor church meetings in his teens and preached the word of God through his singing. “He had a beautiful, deep voice that drew people to him.”
He was educated in Chicago. After receiving an associate degree from North Park University, he attended Northwestern University where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1940 and then a master’s in music education in 1941. That year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Helen, his wife of 64 years.
During the 1940’s, Reverend Sergey attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and was ordained as a minister. He broadcast “Words of Hope,” a worldwide religious radio program with airwaves reaching into the Soviet Union. He gave daily Scripture readings and sang religious hymns on the show. In 1950, he became the general director of the World Fellowship of Slavic Evangelical Christians, a position he held until his death in 2008, he was 91 years old.
Those who served with him, as well as all those who knew him, are indebted to this man for his leadership and great courage. He was a beloved husband, a dear father to his 5 children and he faithfully served his Lord Jesus Christ in ministry to Russian and Slavic people for over 70 years. He lived a valiant life and I am grateful to have been counted as one of his friends.
— Ian Smith